In chapter two of my book Ragdoll Redeemed:Growing Up In The Shadow Of Marilyn Monroe I write about the stain of the title “bastard”. How the dominate culture’s attitude imprinted a type of permanent deformity into the very soul of such children. I know because I was one of those children, as was Marilyn Monroe. “Shameful, embarrassing, defective,” became the standard by which everyone, myself included, measured me. After all didn’t the Bible say, “The bastard shall not enter the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation” (Deuteronomy 23:2)
Young people of today have little if any of the stigma illegitimacy brought to bear upon the shoulders of children born outside of marriage. It was not until the early 70s that a series of Supreme Court verdicts eradicated the common-law disabilities of bastardy. For the most part, the term “illegitimacy” has been replaced by the phrase “born out of wedlock” or not acknowledged at all.