I came of age during the Women’s Lib Movement. My grandmothers were part of the suffragettes. My mom cautioned me during the Women’s Movement to never trade superiority for equality….I was never completely sure what she meant by that.
That is until this past week when Hilary Rosen stated that Ann Romney never worked a day in her life. She went on to state that Ann Romney has not faced the economic hardships many families faced today. She said that therefore any advice or opinions she has about the economy really has no validity.
You know I seldom address politics. but to me this goes WAY beyond politics. First of all, just because one doesn’t earn a paycheck does NOT mean one isn’t working. If that were the case, then people on welfare that are home raising their children because they cannot afford daycare and cannot afford to lose their food stamps are also not working. Do their opinions about the economy also not count?
I thought to myself~never worked a day in her life? Really? In one sense it made me very glad to hear her say it. Because now I know without a doubt how my choices, vocation, and the way I have lived my life are viewed by Ms. Rosen. No I am not rich. Yes I have spent the past 28 years being a full-time homemaker. No, I have not collected a financial paycheck with my name on it in those years…..but I have been and am working. My views on the economy, politics, education, etc DO matter.
I find it disgusting that anyone would, in this day and age, say that making those choices means my opinion and voice do not matter because I have not collected a paycheck. The Women’s Lib Movement was supposed to be about increasing choices and women gaining respect and opportunities. But now we plainly see that to many women in the political arena, if we have not been earning a paycheck we do not matter. They see homemakers as either over-privileged or lazy. They say if you haven’t collected a paycheck, you cannot possibly know anything about the economy or anything else. Furthermore, giving the excuse that she was “only” talking about Romney being rich and not understanding how it is for “working moms” is~ I have to say~ complete crap.
That strikes me like saying that unless you are black, you cannot urge a candidate to emphasize civil rights. Or if you have never had a child you cannot be on the school board (as if there is a uterine requirement in order to understand the importance of education). Contrary to what Hilary Rosen implies, one does not have to have direct personal experience of something to have a well-formed opinion about an issue. Otherwise, abolitionists would have had no standing when it came to their opinions about slavery, would they?
This goes WAY beyond those “studies” that get marched out about all of the services that full time homemakers provide that would cost about $100,000/yr to provide. This strikes at the heart of the worth of a human being. Rosen (and many who have supported her since then) have finally_[on TV, the internet, in the magazines and everywhere else] really said it. What have they said? If you haven’t made money, you haven’t worked.
Some still protest and say it is because she is rich and so cannot understand the poor. Funny~I don’t recall ANYONE saying that about: Eleanor Roosevelt; FDR; JFK; or Teddy Kennedy. Each wealthy….each cared about the poor and were concerned about them. So perhaps the reason Ann Romney infuriated the strategists and the Libs is that besides being wealthy, she relies on her husband’s income. How horrible, right?
The Women’s Lib Movement~apparently~was ALL about cash, not respect. It was about choices, as long as we picked what they wanted us to pick: go for the cash.That is not choice. That is just redefining what has value and what we are allegedly “given respect for choosing”. And while they went after the cash, I volunteered at the schools and in the library and scouts. I listened to my child and theirs while I was at it. My volunteering permitted their children and my child to HAVE a scout troop, soccer team, field trips, science fairs, school newspaper, catechism classes.
While they went to their paying jobs, got their nails done and shopped for fancy clothes, I mentored my child AND theirs. (I cut coupons, did without and stayed home for vacations). I toted their kids and mine to activities. You see-they had” important jobs” (and since I was “doing nothin” it’s no big deal for me to do it for them, they said). Their jobs, I will openly state, were undoubtedly their calling. I am assuming that they also consulted with God and followed His advice. A number of them DID want to be home with their kids but financial setbacks precluded it. I am guessing the ones that fall into the category in the previous sentence would NOT say that full-time homemakers aren’t working.
I chose what I KNEW God meant for me to do. Many of these women, and the press, and the political strategists say and continue to say that all of this means I (and people like me) haven’t worked a day in these 28 years. they would add a slight disclaimer and say that for the past 3 years while I have been doing some tutoring, that [while verbally patting me on the head with pity] I have had a nice little part time job.
They would, of course, be sure to add that I am no working woman, and that I am just privileged. They say most people haven’t had the luxury of doing that. For me it has not been a luxury. For me, it has been a very blessed calling. They say amazingly demeaning things like “oh I had to go get a job so I could use my brain”. Again, they do NOT believe they are being insulting. I DO use my brain~if I protested and pointed this out? Ah yes, the old “you are too sensitive” commentary begins. How insulting~to imply if you don’t have a paying outside job you aren’t using your brain…..WOW.
To say that I haven’t worked in all these years is so far beyond dismissive and disrespectful. I would never say they do not have the right to speak about family, sacrifice or motherhood because they earned a paycheck outside the home. But as I said, they have made their opinion/position CRYSTAL clear. There is no going back or undoing it~I know for sure what they think of me and everyone who shares my vocation and passion for it. I do not reject their vocations.Nor do I call into question their intelligence or their love for their families. I DO reject their rude rejection of MY vocation~and again, what I reject to is the statement that “she hasn’t worked a day in her life”.
What I think of their opinion can be summed up with one perfect word in Gaelic. But I cannot spell it in Gaelic; and translated into English well…it would be best if I did NOT. The thing is, now that their stance is so very clear, and they continue to insist they are neither being rude nor demeaning. It gives one pause. I do not see the statement as a positive one.Their insistence that it is not rude does not change the fact that it is rude. Well, it kind of says it all. . . Actually maybe they weren’t trying to insult me~but they succeeded in insulting me.
There really isn’t a solution. I will continue my calling~and I DO know that I do work, am working, and will continue to work. My voice and opinion~about the economy and everything else DO matter. As a point of information, I will close with Merriam-Webster’s definition of work [and say oh yeah, baby…I work; and so do you}.