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The Fascination with Moms Gone Haywire

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Casey Anthony, charged with the first degree murder of her toddler, and Nadya Suleman, mother of octuplets plus six, share a few key similarities.

Nadya Suleman and Casey Anthony

On the face of it, Casey Anthony, charged with first degree murder, and Nadya Suleman, mother of octuplets plus six, don't seem to have much in common. One had trouble parenting one child and the other has an almost obsessive desire to have multiple children -- despite having no means to support them. They are both, in their own ways, examples of motherhood gone haywire, and people -- particularly women -- can't seem to get enough of their bizarre stories. "The public's fascination with aberrant behavior," says public relations expert Michael Levin, "makes us feel better about ourselves."

Does it take the worst possible examples of motherhood to give us confidence in our own parenting capabilities? A rep from the National Organization for Women says the enormous pressures of motherhood could be a factor in our interest: "Society and the media put the burden of parenting on the mother, whether you're talking about crime stories or who's getting marketed to in commercials."

Whatever the reason, following the plight of women in peril makes for a strange guilty pleasure. Could it be their common denominators that make Nadya and Casey's stories so compelling?

Irregular views of motherhood
Casey, it seems, never wanted to be a mother. Her mother Cindy reportedly wouldn't let Casey have an abortion or even put Caylee up for adoption. The result was tragic. Nadya Suleman says her desire to have many children stemmed from her being a lonely only child.

Dysfunctional relationships with their mothers
Nadya's mother has repeatedly voiced her dismay over the fact that her daughter insisted on having the octupets via IVF treatments when she already had six children at home. They've even been filmed arguing about Nadya's refusal to implement "selective reduction" of her implanted embryos. Cindy Anthony, Casey's mom, has been accused of treating Caylee as if she were her own daughter. Rumor has it the rift between Casey and Cindy began when Cindy was the first to hold her new granddaughter in the delivery room, not Casey.

Going it alone
With the extraordinary challenge single mothers face, Nadya Suleman has upped the ante to ridiculous proportions. With no man in her life, the "father" of her children is a sperm donor / former boyfriend. Casey also raised Caylee alone -- albeit with much family support. No one knows for sure who Caylee's father was -- the family has always maintained he was killed in a car accident.

Freeloading and lying
One sponges off her family and one off of the government. And both lie about how they supported themselves. Casey claimed to be employed at Universal Studios as an event coordinator -- to explain away her late nights out partying. Nadya told Ann Curry on "Today" that she is "not on welfare," although it was later revealed she receives both food stamps and state disability payments.

Obsessed with their looks
Nadya Suleman, even before giving birth to octopulets, had six mouths to feed. But somehow she still managed to spend money on what appears to be plastic surgery. Casey, when she was supposed to be searching for her missing daughter, entered herself in a "Hot Body Contest" at a local bar.

Can you explain what fascinates you about Casey Anthony and Nadya Suleman?

See Also:

Complete Octuplets Coverage
Complete Casey Anthony Coverage

next: More Pimps Recruiting Teen Girls Online
24 comments so far | Post a comment now
Amanda March 3, 2009, 11:05 AM

I am completely fascinated/borderline obsessed with the Casey Anthony case. I have read every piece of evidence, every article that has printed, watched pretty much every interview that have been released. (Octomom- Not so much) But I think my fascination with the Anthony’s comes from the fact that I’m not much older than Casey, while I don’t have children yet, my boyfriend and I are planning to get married and that is the next direction we will take together. I have a large family and I am very close to my nieces and nephews, and I can’t imagine a mother hurting her own child. Even if it was an accident, I can’t imagine disposing of the body like trash and then going out like its Spring break every night for a month until it catches up with her, This blows my mind and seems unfathomable to me. (when my nephew was 3 we were playing and he busted his lip and I was a nervous wreck to make sure he was ok, my sister’s daughter wandered off in the walmart one night and a surge of panic rushed over everyone, she was only a few yards away but at the age of 19 I got my first gray hair that night) I think that the availability of the case information has made this beyond the normal high profile case. The amount of video and text messages and pictures that have been available make this case so hard to just let fade away. I’m 23 and I know so many girls around my age that put themselves in the situation to get pregnant and have children that they don’t want. My own neice’s mother reminds me so much of Casey, She wanted to give my niece up for adoption until my brother said he would take full custody so out of spite she said she would rather take my niece home than give her to our loving family. She has said in court that my brother should have custody on weekends so she can take a break because having children, and welfare paying for all of her needs and no job is apparently too stressful and she should be able to go out with her friends. It blows my mind that anyone can bring a life into this world and resent it so much. They make birth control for a reason, it amazes me that people don’t use it. At any rate, I think the public has kept up the fascination mainly because I think everyone can relate to some part of the case, whether it’s the mom wanting a break, or having a child that age in your life, or being a worried family member, or anyone being fed lies by someone in their life or even the partier who can’t imagine giving that life up for a child, there’s a little piece of everyone in this heart breaking case.

me March 4, 2009, 11:17 PM

I follow these two because as a boy It was always assumed that I’d be the bad one,my parents didn’t even allow me to date because they thought I was a monster by default of gender.This shows that anything can happen.Anybody is capable of anything.The mature is now the immature,the immature turned out to be the most mature.The tables have finally turned!

GINNEY MEADE March 4, 2009, 11:31 PM

GINNY MEADE if God wanted us to have eight babies we’d be blessed with eight-plusnipples!That’s why animals who give birth many kids have more nipples then we do.

Jxajnroe June 25, 2009, 10:29 AM

WOd4RJ comment4 ,

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