War Over Women: Hilary Rosen, Ann Romney, and what American women want

Mitt and Ann Romney with their five sons, five daughters-in-law, and sixteen grandchildren. (Romney family photo)

So, here’s my latest column in the Communities at The Washington Times…

Rosen vs. Romney: The equality of homemakers and the relate-ability of presidential candidates

Who really has a “dark ages” viewpoint of stay-at-home motherhood, and what does relate-ability have to do with being qualified to run the executive branch of U.S. government?

“Hilary Rosen might not have intended to slight stay-at-home moms when she said that Ann Romney ‘has never worked a day in her life’. No decent person who has a clue about motherhood would want to do so because it simply makes no sense.

If you have been raised by a stay-at-home-mom (like I have) or have simply observed the fury that ignited in response to Rosen’s comments, you’ve probably been informed that stay-at-home moms work harder than Congress and actually know how to spend within a budget they’ve been assigned. Stay-at-home moms save the government expense by providing childcare (and often education) for their own children.

‘The homemaker has the ultimate career,’ C.S. Lewis is often quoted as saying. ‘All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career.’

As conscientious consumers, homemakers also stimulate the economy by saving for and buying best for their children, and ultimately raising and investing in future taxpayers.

Furthermore, choosing to live within one provider’s income when able to do so opens employment opportunities for others.

That being the case, Rosen might have intended only to say that Mrs. Romney can’t relate to women who work outside of the home and thus cannot relate to typical American economic challenges.

But the problem with this is that Rosen’s conclusion is illogical…”

(Click here to continue reading)

Here are some thoughtful comments I received:

“…People seem to project a lot on Mrs. Romney. Rich woman – must sit around doing nothing, eating bonbons and hiring nannies to raise her sons. Makes me wonder whether her critics even like their own children, since they’re so ready to believe that a mother who could afford not to would make sure not to raise her own children. Mrs. Romney appears to be doing something right – by all accounts her sons are decent, sharp, and have taken advantage of their many opportunities to lead good lives. Not a spoiled Paris Hilton himbo in the lot of them. Money can buy advantages, but it can’t buy character. That’s learned.

Whether the Romneys are good parents doesn’t seem to me to be in doubt. Whether Mitt really understands the problems facing most Americans is another issue, one I expect to see debated a lot. Given the propensity of the Obamas to live large and lavish, I’m not ready to assume they understand “working class” people any better than the Romneys. And given Michelle’s fondness for $2,000 sun dresses and designer fashion, I’m not sure their supporters have much room to make an issue of the Romney houses and lavish living. It would be better all around if we stuck to the issues and accepted the fact that Obama and Romney are both wealthy. Wealth doesn’t preclude empathy or wisdom, and poverty doesn’t grant them.”

- JWPicht

“…All the sound and fury signifying nothing parses “never worked a day in her life” from its context and turns it into an issue  - out-of-the-home-working vs stay-at-home moms – that Rosen never intended. Rosen, as a PR consultant amongst other things, is smart enough to know that you that you don’t attempt to clarify in this situation – it will just sound like back-peddling – you just take the hits and wait for it to blow over. But it’s an artificial debate, manically seized on by right-wing pundits who see that Romney is losing the female vote by the proverbial street.

So let’s get back to the realities behind the gender gap. GOP controlled legislatures, after their big sweep in 2010, have being putting anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-equal pay legislation on state law books the length and breadth of the country. Unlike the Rosen controversy, that’s not a manufactured notion. That’s why there’s a gender gap…

- RapidEddie

RapidEddie is making a common mistake by assuming that liberal positions on social issues are all that women really want. Has no one noticed that women are a big part of this “GOP controlled legislature” change?

As I mentioned in an article last year:

“…When I interviewed Kellyanne Conway about the midterm elections last year, I brought up the point that in the House of Representatives, the number of pro-life women increased by 60% while pro-choice women diminished by 16%. There are also more pro-life women governors than abortion rights women governors now.

‘It turns on its head what has been the conventional – albeit false – wisdom that for a woman to prevail in politics, the cost of admission is that she be pro-choice and abortion,” said Conway. “That simply is not true. As America’s voting population has become more pro-life and more conservative generally…that’s being reflected now in the elected officials that they elevate.’…”

 

IT'S NOT JUST WOMEN BEING DEVALUED - IT'S HOME BEING DEVALUED. Historically, home has gone from being the busy hub of work and entertainment for all family members to becoming the place where people are only supposed to hang out when they’re not working (hence the reason why it’s easy to dismiss stay-at-home moms as non-workers). But technological revolutions have started to bring the productivity of home full circle. Perhaps there has never been a better time to be home!

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