Just a Housewife?

5 years ago

Just when I thought I had nothing to write about, along comes another campaign faux pas. I am so grateful for people who say stupid things.

I cannot believe in 2012 this is still a hot button issue.

A Democratic ‘strategist’ named Hilary Rosen made the off-handed remark that Ann Romney was not qualified to discuss the economy because she had “never worked a day in her life”.

Even I, someone notorious for putting my foot in my mouth, would be hard pressed to come up with a more idiotic statement than that.

The firestorm began right away. When I started to type the word “Hilary” into Google to determine her actual title, the full name Hilary Rosen popped up before I even finished her first name, with page after page of references to the incident. An article on the subject generated over 1000 comments in the New York Times.

I thought the whole point of the women’s movement was to support choice in what a woman decided to do with her life. And I thought it was generally acknowledged that your brain did not cease to function because you worked in the house rather than outside of it. It is outrageous that there are still people who are ignorant enough to give lip service to the old “just a housewife” myth.

I was a stay at home mother by choice because I believed raising my children was the most important work possible. It was the happiest, hardest job I ever did. I never for one second did not appreciate how lucky I was to be able to afford to do so. I don’t know much about Ann Romney, but I figure there is a good chance she has felt the exact same way. Well, at least a few times.

When I was 39, with four kids under 16, my husband died and I had to go back to work. It's pretty tough being a single working mother too. But there is no way I would even imply I was superior to a mother who was not working outside the home. Making it a contest as to what constitutes an authentic American woman diminishes all of us.

Is Ann Romney qualified to speak about the American economy? Well, for one thing, it is a free country and she is entitled to speak about anything she wants. As the wife of a kabillionaire, she probably does not have the exact same perspective as your average mom, working or not. But more power to her.

The women in this country have a myriad of issues to deal with. Discrimination is still rampant in the workplace. There is no infrastructure of safe, reliable child care for women who do work. Gun violence is killing our children at a rate of one child daily. The education system is inequitable. American women, working, non-working, mothers, childless, Democrat, Republican, are all in this together. The last thing we need is a divisive, sneering ‘strategist’ denigrating the life choices of any woman.





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