Earlier this month, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly went after actress Jennifer Aniston for saying “women are realizing more and more that you don’t have to settle, they don’t have to fiddle with a man to have that child.” O’Reilly slammed Aniston, herself a single mother, for “throwing a message out to 12-year olds and 13-year olds that hey, you don’t need a guy, you don’t need a dad.” “That’s destructive to our society,” he added. As ThinkProgress noted, Aniston quickly fired back, calling his comments “insulting [to] women.” “Of course, many women dream of finding Prince Charming (with fatherly instincts), but for those who’ve not yet found their Bill O’Reilly,” Aniston told People sarcastically, “I’m just glad science has provided a few other options.”
Now, fellow actress and single mother Mary Louise Parker has come to Aniston’s defense, telling Vanity Fair that O’Reilly’s comments make him sound “like an idiot.” Parker noted that many “people don’t plan on being single parents,” and, in a move that is sure to be incredibly insulting to O’Reilly, said she doesn’t even know who he is:
Why is being a single mother destructive? Give me a break. He sounds like an idiot. Who is he again? Maybe he’s right, I don’t know. I don’t think you necessarily have to be part of a traditional nuclear family to be a good mother. A lot of children from traditional nuclear families have really unhappy childhoods, and they have dysfunctional, distant parents who don’t pay attention to them.
Also, some people don’t plan on being single parents. It’s not like you’re sitting at home and thinking, ‘Wow, I’d really like to do this by myself. I’d love to wake up six times a night and change diapers and have nobody to help me. That’d be great!’ I certainly didn’t do that. I think that opinion is pretty narrow-minded. People like him — and I don’t even know who he is, so this is just a guess, they usually just say shit like that for attention. He probably comes from a nuclear family and didn’t get enough attention as a child.
“O’Reilly should just build a dunk tank and stay in it until all the single moms are done with him. I hear Sandra Bullock throws a mean fast ball,” the gay feminist blog SheWired editorialized. But of course, this is hardly the first insensitive or chauvinistic comment O’Reilly has made about women. Ironically, the O’Reilly-Aniston spat came almost 90 years to the day after the enactment of 19th Amendment, which guaranteed a woman’s right to vote, and while many were recognizing its anniversary.