We Haven’t Really Come a Long Way, Baby

The current ‘war between women’ pitting Hilary Rosen against Ann Romney is deflecting attention from the true ‘war ON women’ and distracting us from the real question—Who are we voting for?


[Editor's Note: Please keep an eye out later this week for "Patch Back," a new feature from Lisa Bigelow that will serve as response piece to certain installments of Heather's "Patch In."]

The question isn’t whether Ann Romney ever ‘worked’ a day in her whole life, but: Does her husband Mitt truly give a rat’s ass about anyone—especially women—in the 99 percent?

This made-up battle between working moms and stay-at-home-moms is causing people of every gender to lose focus on more important issues—namely whether politicians are advocating stripping rights from women (like reproductive health choices) or finding ways to penalize them and hold them back (withholding equal pay) or simply having a double standard when it comes to lower- vs. higher-income women (Romney’s welfare mom requirement to work).

Pitting women against other women is demeaning, yet it’s a trap many women fall into themselves. —if you believe the stereotypes. Devoted PTA moms judge worker-bee women who are disconnected from their children and lack any maternal instincts. Or you have smarter, working women with a better sense of themselves and who still use their brains, who look down upon the frustrated, spoiled Stepford wives.

Whoever is doing the judgment making, it’s harsh, no matter the politics.

I recently went to a screening of the fabulous documentary, “Miss Representation,” about the portrayal of women in media and how those images work to undermine women politically, intellectually and societally. The movie shows how women are portrayed as creatures who only merit recognition based on physical beauty and attributes, and how unreal they seem to be in advertising. 

Narrated and produced by a former actress who is seen on screen throughout, she’s a media-friendly, typical ‘beauty’—tall, leggy, blonde and well-dressed. Judging by her looks, she certainly would never have been cast as the stereotypical, bookish academic, which perhaps disarmed the audience.

In the discussion period afterward, about how the audience could relate to the movie’s themes in their own lives, it only took to the second comment before the audience—made up largely of progressive women—started commenting about how distracting it was that the filmmaker was ‘attractive’ and ‘too pretty.’ The message had fallen flat for even this audience of aware, conscious women, who had fallen prey to their own misogynistic judgment. 

Hilary Rosen learned that lesson about being judgmental when she criticized Mitt Romney’s wife Ann for being a stay-at-home-mom last week. Rosen, a widely seen democratic pundit and CNN commentator, characterized Mrs. Romney as someone who “had never worked a day in her life.” She later apologized, especially after getting rebuked by President Obama himself.

Far be it from the left to take all the heat. Shortly after Rosen’s blunder, Fox News analyst Keith Ablow hit the other extreme, criticizing working women as anti-gender and who ‘despise themselves’ for rejecting their ‘femininity and … [natural] capacities to nurture.’

What this polar mischaracterization does is just push women too many steps back—no matter what role they, as is their right, choose to pursue themselves—and it allows those determined to reverse advances women have made in the last 40 years to further their efforts that set women backward.

Long-won reproductive rights?  Those are squarely in the crosshair targets. Single mothers receiving welfare benefits? They’re criticized as in need of the “dignity of work” by Romney, despite his later flip-flopped defense of his wife’s hard work staying home with their kids. What about trying to even up the playing field a bit with equal pay legislation? Only seven GOP U.S. representatives and senators voted to support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

I could care less whether Ann Romney stayed home and worked hard raising her sons (regardless of the help she could afford to have); it didn't mean anything to me that Michelle Obama had a career outside of the home and earned more than her husband had before he was President.

What I'm looking into is where the candidates stand on the issues I care about—not what jobs their spouses had or didn't have.

I sure hope that other women try to pay attention over the distracting noise, and make up their own minds too. A poll at the beginning of April saw President Obama with a 19 percentage point lead in his approval rating over Romney with women voters. A CNN poll out just this past Monday, indicates that women are continuing to see through the misleading manufactured muck and sticking with the candidate they view as more favorable to women’s issues: Obama is still strong with a 16-point advantage.

There’s a lot of ground and time to cover before the elections next November. I wonder how many more “woman vs. woman” stories we’ll get to hear before we get there?

Vince Gram April 20, 2012 at 01:21 PM
@Walden you are wrong every President gives up their Transcripts. No again The Left demonized Bush because of the war in Iraq. You really think that the color of his skin is driving this? The is also the problem - Because he's Black - its hands off/watch what you say because if you don't - its RACISM - I say GET A LIFE who gives a shit what color he is and for that matter of him being a Socialist - Open your eyes and see what's being changed and then do some research and look how the countries that are Socialist, how they became Socialist. You will find that we are starting down that path. This is America, Not France, England or Canada, we will in a Capitalist Society and if you work (and you should unless you are disabled) then you work. I don't know I was raised with the adage, your parents try and give their children a better life then they had. What happened to that? @SRT - You're just a moron - The Racism Card is being pulled out at every little thing over the past 3+ years - Well you know what happens when you cry wolf all the time? People won't believe you when its actually happening!! Like I said I don't give a shit what color a persons skin as long as he's doing the job at hand!! PERIOD!!
Bjorn Olsson April 20, 2012 at 01:27 PM
La Migra, if your point is to somehow blame the current president for the financial crisis, you are either uninformed or disingenuous. That $1.79 gallon of gas was more than $4 six months before the inauguration and just under $4 on election day, so bu your logic you might just as well argue that Obama, just by being elected lowered your gas prices to under $2. You'd still be wrong, of course. All the numbers you cite are due to the mortgage crisis of 2008, not some gigantic, sudden presidential mismanagement. People lost their jobs, which led to more poverty. Fewer people working means more people need assistance while at the same time tax revenue goes down, so you'll see increases in both food stamps and debt. Could we argue if whether Obama could have done better trying to catch this falling knife? Sure. But let's stay honest, shall we?
dleighg April 20, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I don't think ANY candidates have explicitly authorized their school records to be released. It is true that quite a few have been leaked, but that's different. And McCain (who graduated at the bottom of his class at the Academy) explicitly refused to authorize their release. http://www.nysun.com/new-york/obamas-years-at-columbia-are-a-mystery/85015/
LaMigra April 20, 2012 at 02:42 PM
First President to preside over a cut to the credit rating of > the United States. First President to violate the War Powers Act. First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. First President to defy a Federal Judges court order to cease implementing > the Health Care Reform Law. First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party. First President to spend a trillion dollars on shovel-ready jobs and later admit there was no such thing as shovel-ready > jobs. > First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control > of companies to his union supporters. First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat. First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions.
Walden Macnair April 20, 2012 at 05:31 PM
LaMigra, Let's do an exercise. Take just one of your allegations and give us the details and the facts. Easy to say lots of things, but, can you prove any of them. When you pick one and give us all the details then post it. If not stop just repeating what you here on Fox News. Being a parrot doesn't take much intelligence and quite frankly, its boring.


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