Well, for once it is not the liberal women up in arms, but the stay-at-home-moms! Have you heard Hilary Rosen’s comment about Ann Romney? (Who the H is Hilary anyway? Wikipedia says she’s a “lobbyist and Democrat pundit.)
Here’s what she said:
And here is what I have to say:
I grew up in the sixties. I married in 1970 at the ripe old age of 18, but I proudly wore a t-shirt that said “A woman without a man is like fish without a bicycle.” Yes, I was/am a feminist in many senses of the word.
I am a big believer in traditional marriage, so please do not misunderstand me on that score. But I do believe that a woman can have a very fulfilling life without a man. I’m doing it now.
No woman should ever rely on a man in order to become who she wants to be/ who she should become. In fact, as a divorce lawyer, I can tell you that it is absolutely a disastrous decision to rely on your husband totally for any aspect of life: emotional or financial. “Grow your own wings” is my constant advice to women. Following that advice will serve them in their marriages and, in the unfortunate case of divorce, it will serve even more.
Okay, now we’re clear on my philosophy (right?). I find it so amazing that this Democrat pundit can so openly dis’ homemakers. I have worked most of my adult life in a tough, male-dominated profession. I did, however, take off time to raise my son while he was young. I have been in both shoes.
As I anticipated my time off with Son, I remember thinking: “I am sooooooo going to enjoy lying around the house, relaxing, loving on the baby, puttering, etc., etc., etc.” I had fallen into the trap of thinking that eating bon-bons was a favorite pastime of stay-at-home-moms. Boy was I wrong! Baby came, and I have never been so fatigued in all my born days. Mothering is no walk in the park.
I learned that moms may turn to eating Bon-Bons, okay, but it’s likely to be some sort of coping mechanism rather than relaxed munching.
Now, why is this pundit’s quip so offensive to me? Well, for one thing, she is a self-styled liberal. You will never hear her disrespecting someone because of their race (as well she should not). Can you even imagine her saying, “What does he know? He’s a plumber!” Of course not. It’s only the traditionally-woman homemaker that she disparages in this way.
There are so many politically-correct boundaries nowadays, especially for persons of the liberal persuasion. But we women are fair game, aren’t we? We have been for centuries. We are blessed to live in an era and society of unprecedented opportunity for women. But we’re still devalued. In my work I hear (day after day) that
- “She’s never worked the last ten years of our marriage.”
- “It’s my money” he says. “She never earned a dime of it.”
The attitude is devaluing and wrong. All the time I see even women’s pastimes demeaned. Hunting or golf seems important. More traditional feminine hobbies are seen by husbands (often voiced to me) as trivial and unworthy of the same share of the family budget as are their big-ticket avocations.
- She is, first and foremost, an American citizen. She is entitled to her opinions, just as anyone else is. If she happens to have the ear of her husband, a presidential candidate, well, it’s her right to speak it there, too.
- She may not be an “expert” in some things, but she can still opine. I opine all the time about what to do about Iran. I will admit to you, however, that I don’t have a clue about diplomacy or how the military really works. But I have an opinion, I express it. If it is expressed in the presence of a policymaker, I would expect him/her to listen respectfully and weigh it properly. I rely on those who know and are charged with those tasks to weigh my opinion in accordance with my expertise or ignorance on the subject, should they hear that opinion. Same with Ann Romney’s opinion.
- And here is my final and most important point: If Ann Romney is going to be accused of not speaking on the economy in ignorance (as a candidate’s wife, she probably knows more about it than I do), let’s pinpoint the reason why one would say this about her. Is it true that a woman who has chosen mothering and homemaking cannot really know anything of value about the economy? I have moms in my office all the time who amaze me with their ability to squirrel away savings and manage a decent lifestyle on an income that I cannot imagine living on. If they don’t know economics at the grassroots level, then I don’t know who does.
It may be that Ann Romney doesn’t know about the economy, but I don’t think it’s because she is a full-time wife/mother/homemaker necessarily. And, if we’re going to hold her wealth against her opinion, then shouldn’t we do the same with wealthy men? Should Donald Trump be discounted on his economic view just because he is wealthy and born to wealth? Ridiculous, isn’t it?
So, Hilary, you are entitled to your opinion on the economy. You are entitled to decide to whom to turn for leadership on the subject. But don’t hold our stay-at-home moms in such disdain based on their chosen occupation. As my dad’s cousin “Dub” used to say: “T’ain’t right; ‘sides, it’s wrong.”
Here’s to who the moms I know as “managers” of our society. I believe their role tells us much about how our society at its innermost cogs works—their experience can inform even the loftiest politician or policy-maker. Moms are the ones squeezing out pennies in order to save for daughter’s prom dress when deadbeat dad has abandoned his duty. Moms know how gasoline prices affect families. Moms are the ones who know, firsthand, the cost of milk in dollars and cents and the cost of managing a family in terms of emotional distress.
And, when the going gets really tough, many of them react with the common-sense-female wisdom of:
ps: told you ranting was coming.