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Since when has having illegitimate children been a good/socially accepted thing? adult content

Since when has having illegitamate children been a good thing?

This was posted earlier in the "just for fun" section as I was looking for opinions. I got a lot of easily offended/defensive responses. I'm not sure if this is the right section for it either.
This is for a paper in my psychology class. I am trying to establish a timeline and a reason (or 10) for the change. This is just to give me some idea on how the general population thinks about this subject and has no bearing as to what I think on it, my morals or the morals of anyone on this forum. I have also used another term that is in the definition of the word illegitimate: Bastard. I uses this term BECAUSE I have heard many people refer to their offspring as such and thus it seems (to me at least) this then dulls the impact of the word and it becomes acceptable. The term bitch is in the process of this. As it is now both a negative and a positive word depending on the situation.
So here is my question.

Since when has having illegitimate children been a good/socially accepted thing?

This isn't a morals question just an anthropological/socialogical one. It used to be a thing of shame, a stigma, even if you were together with the father for years before & after. It just seems that these days nearly every child can be a little bastard without acting like one.
To explain that last sentence in another way : It just seems that these days nearly every child can be illegitimate without acting in a disagreeable manner.
(I was attempting on the other fourm to make a play on the definition of the word bastard and it's double meanings.)
So serious answers anyone?


Asked by elizabooks at 5:06 PM on Feb. 7, 2011 in Parenting Debate

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This question is closed.
Answers (25)
  • A child is a child. WHat the parents do have nothing to do with who the child is. So to even use the word bastard is innappropriate. Someone could say when did swearing in polite conversation become socially acceptable.

    Answer by idaspida at 5:15 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I couldn't agree more idaspida.

    Answer by tiddliwinks at 5:17 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • Illegitimate children have been socially accepted throughout different societies throughout the history of man. The acceptance, or even "normalcy" of illegitimate children is nothing new by any means. How many illegitimate children became Kings and Queens, heirs to industrial empires..etc.. The acceptance of "bastard" children in a society is nothing new if one really delves into history. 


    Answer by pixie_trix at 5:20 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • In my opinion it wasn't until the late 80's, early 90's when it became "okay" to have a child out of wedlock. Before this time it was something to be ashamed of and hide. Pixie has a point- although most of these bastard children were hidden away, for their safety and that of their parents. It was shameful, against "God". Part of the acceptance I would say comes from a changing tide away from a religiously based country, to a more liberal viewed one. Gay marriage would never even be spoken about in public 40 years ago- now it's political conversation. I don't think that it has anything to do with personal morals, in general, no one questions whether you're married to the father of your child or not- it's considered rude and invasive.

    Answer by Annabel1809Lee at 5:37 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • OK first off illegitament can mean a few different things. However given your use of bastard I would choose to assume you mean born out of wed-lock. Correct me if I'm wrong with that. However going off that definition the only psychological stand point here is by the stand point of the religious fanatic who believes every one must obey the laws of their religion. That is just not true. Religion is a personal thing and many of them do not look ill on unwed mothers. Which basically would blow the thought out of the water. However then again even back in the old days when it was vastly looked down upon it still happened however it was covered up. Either threw closed and secret adoption or through a shot gun wedding during pregnancy. Now to answer your question what changed is simple many people realized that others do not control them nor do what they think impact the individuals life. It's that simple.

    Answer by hot-mama86 at 6:04 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I don't know if I've been alive long enough to give this a good answer, but I'm thinking sometime in the late 70's or early 80's...following a bit after the explosion of free love and all that. I know it was still somewhat taboo until later in the 80's or 90's, but of course even now it isn't as if people don't bat a lash. They certainly do, but it's becoming less normal and therefore less valued to protect and nurture and create nuclear families.

    Answer by misses_nick at 5:57 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • Illegitimate children were not supposed to become kings or queens. .... . Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth Queen of England are good examples. The church also gets in the way when the issue of illegitimate children came to pass. Queen Elizabeth was illegitimate herself. Many of the people at the time didn't recoginze Elizabeth as the true queen because of that fact. Even today places in the UK and other countries will not recoginze a illegitimate child, unless they is not any other choice, although the fact of a illegitimate child isn't nearly as bad to be as it was back then. Neither is the fact if u are Catholic or Protestant like it was in the 1500's give or take a few yrs.

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 6:09 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • Many good points have been made. I would like to address a couple.

    1) Many keep speaking in the context of "God" and "Morals" being the base of standards. That only works if we are strictly discussing societies who's moral/social standards are predominately based on /stem from Abrahamic belief systems. Those standards are different in societies that are not. Using God/Morals as reasoning as to why the standards are strict or are lax does not work in all societies.

    2) Good point. Many if not most illegitimate children of "powerful" people did have to be hidden and kept safe. That was not due to moral or ethical reasons though. That was due to political &/or business reasons. Illegitimate children posed a threat in regards to line of succession/inheritances and the like.

    3) What is considered as a "bastard" child also varies in society. In some, children of concubines/consorts were considered legitimate children.

    Answer by pixie_trix at 6:19 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I think the shift came when people decided that legal marriage was not the end all- be all. I believe that came first and then the acceptance of children born outside of legal marriage naturally followed.

    Answer by soyousay at 6:21 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I don't think it is. We pretend it is, but look at what happened during election season when Bristol Palin's pregnancy came up. It's still not socially acceptable, but it's swept under the rug and whispered about instead of called out in the light of day. Or it's turned into something for condescension - "she's so smart! And she's from a broken home, too!". Or the opposite extreme, "it's not his fault, he has a single mother who's always working and never has time." It's still judged, it's just handled differently - about the same as being mixed race was treated in the second half of the last century.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 7:50 PM on Feb. 7, 2011