Clearly, It Is Getting Chilly In This Corner of Hell Because I Am About to Defend Ann Romney.

By now, I assume you’ve heard about Hillary Rosen’s comment deriding the mother of five because Rosen believes she has “worked a day in her life” and the ensuing backlash. My inital reaction was first to roll my eyes, because Ann Romney doesn’t need to have a resume to become the first lady – this is a postition where she doesn’t need to have qualifications besides good hair and a diamond on her left ring finger.

But then, I started thinking. This comment straight-up offends me. It offends me because my mother had the hardest job in our family. While I don’t believe that there’s some hierarchy of motherhood, with stay-at-home moms being the angels of domesticity resting at the top while Evil Working Mothers are somehow less devoted to their kids (a trope we see all the time when conservatives discuss ‘family values’), deriding  women who are able to choose to hang out with their kids all the time is just as unfeminist. To not call motherhood “work” reeks of stupidity.

What do we talk about when we talk about work? We talk about “production,” we think of these things through the lens of capitalism. And that’s white washing just how important it is to have those members of society who do what is referred to as “unproductive work.” These views are wrong inherently, and even more annoying because they trickle down to so-called pink-collar jobs, those traditionally done by females (such as domestic work).

These jobs, just like stay-at-home-motherhood, are important facets of society and need to be treated with the respect and payment they deserve. I intend to discuss women and work at length this summer (y’all, my schedule this semester has been crazy), but I would like to take the time to point out that the American focus on what has been called “productive work” has seriously short-changed most of the American populatio for it leads to a lack of things, like adequate maternity and paternity leave, or state-sponsored day care programs, or policing of companies that discriminate against mothers (either implicitly or explicity), and generally perpetuate the feminization of poverty.

I could talk about all these things, but that would be turning the lens away from what is actually fucked up about the republican nominee and his wife’s relationship with the public. Because what we’re missing, and what is inexcusable, is the idea that Mittens Romney (also the name of my imaginary cat) can use Ann Romney as his one-woman focus group for the highly diverse demographic of Vagina Havers. He’s fallen back on his wife on multiple occasions, so the fact that Hilary Rosen felt that need to displace Ann Romney as Queen of the American Women is problematic in and of itself. Regardless of her (misguided, misdirected) comments, we need to address Mitt saying shit like, “ I wish Ann was here,” whenever he is forced to address his screwed-up ideas about abortion and birth control.

Guess what? His wife doesn’t speak for me, she doesn’t speak for people of color, or women who need welfare programs, or even my Sunday school teaching, white mother (hi, Mom! You’re awesome!). When we attack some talking head for what she said, we’re ignoring the actual problem with Romney: that he has his head buried so far up his ass, he believes that he speaks for America, and that he and his family are relatable.

Well, there’s that problem and there’s the fact the hatefully antichoice group Susan B. Anthony List (seriously, Ms. Anthony would have punched them in the face) just donated millions to his campaign.

-Hayley Cavataro


~ by Hayley Cavataro on April 12, 2012.

One Response to “Clearly, It Is Getting Chilly In This Corner of Hell Because I Am About to Defend Ann Romney.”

  1. […] Says WHO?  If you CHOOSE to stay at home because you are able to make that choice, good for you!  It is when we force women to stay at home that feminists have a problem.  Women who choose to stay at home should absolutely be supported.  Being a mother is an incredibly tough job.  Hayley already covered this in her last post. […]

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