Here is my question. How the fuck is being a mother relevant to any of this? A woman is arrested. Aside from being a mother, this woman is also likely many other things - a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an employee, a niece, a granddaughter and the list goes on and on - everyone in her life will be negatively impacted by her arrest. Mother is not her only role. When a man is arrested we never see a similar headline, "Dad is Arrested for Robbery". When a male athlete wins a medal at the Olympics, all we hear about is how well he competed - no mention of how many rugrats he has at home or that he is a "daddy of three". When a male politician is chosen as a political running mate, nobody is talking about how many of his kids are retarded or how many kids he is cheuffering in his mini-van to soccer games.
No, the simple fact is - nobody gives a shit if a man is a dad but we simply MUST know if a woman is a mother.
And why? Because our culture defines womanhood as motherhood. Woman = Mother. The terms are interchangable and the link is continually reinforced. A woman is a mother first and maybe some other things on the side. The message is continually pounded into a woman's head that motherhood is the most important thing she does, the most rewarding part of her life and we must constantly be reassured of this if we are to accept a woman in any other role.
Motherhood is not only equated with womanhood, it is also equated with success and goodness. That's why women like Dara Torres, Hillary Clinton, McCain's Republinazi running mate and every other uber high-profile woman out there wear their motherhood badge of honor like a Wonder Woman costume - and it's also the reason the news media salivates over mothers who are arrested or have other embarrassing scandals befall them. The contrast between the entrenched idea of woman=mother=goodness and the reality of woman=mother=mug shot jailbird may shatter our idea of mother as angelic superwoman momentarily, but it sure makes for some irresistable must-see t.v.!