How the Women’s Lib Movement Has Finally REALLY REALLY Made Me Angry

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}.

work/wərk/

Noun:
Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
Verb:
Be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a purpose or result, esp. in one’s job; do work.

About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
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29 Responses to How the Women’s Lib Movement Has Finally REALLY REALLY Made Me Angry

  1. Caddo Veil says:

    YAY! AMEN! –You tell ’em, Kate!!!

  2. Kathy says:

    You are totally and completely correct!

  3. Kate, I am SO GLAD someone else besides me got really ticked off over her comment!! Thanks for the rant, I’m right there with you!

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Thanks…kind of a precursor to my need for love and gentleness, eh? Although I guess it seems strange that we are often expected to apologize for being insulted when someone deliberately insults us!

  4. Kathy says:

    Reblogged this on To Talk of Many Things and commented:
    Agreeing with the author of this blog. I don’t understand why having the ability to stay home to raise one’s children has become something to look down on.

  5. AlohaKarina says:

    FANTASTIC!!! Tweeted!!

  6. I’m with you in this. I don’t think Hilary Rosen ever expected the amount of backlash that she’s received, but it’s a good reminder to her that arrogance and an attitude of superiority makes for a very steep fall. Pride goeth before…

    The Movement was about choice…I feel a deep sadness when women don’t support one another. Good post, Kate. As always 🙂 Debra

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Thanks Debra. It makes me sad, too. It makes me feel that at times we are all still in junior high…..it is another form of bullying…prayers and hugs to you today, Debra.

  7. Whew! Remind me never to make you really, really mad! 😉
    I do totally agree with you, by the way. Good job, well said!

  8. Terri O.A. says:

    I agree with you one thousand percent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good going Kate!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. The movement also was supposed to be representive of our sisterhood. What happens when we elevate ourselves at the expense of those that build our foundations and futures. Damage done to the sisterhood the very least.

    And as for a paycheck . IF any household was to pay for the services provided (happily and contentidily) by the stay at home wife/mom the paycheck would be astonishing. As I tell my girls; Be proud, hold your head up with grace and always be grateful that today as women you have choices.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      That is absolutely right. And whichever choice or combination of choices we each make, it is supposed to be considered honorable to the rest of the sisterhood. NEVER maligned or minimized. That is what truly, truly, scandalized me. For YEARS I have heard the ‘oh i had to keep working and not be a stay at home mom because I wanted to use my brain’….that always frosts me….but this latest missive….by a ‘sister’….that is when as i said, it became clear that a significant portion of the sisterhood only values the cash… i think that is sad.

      • Do you really think it is about money?I mean, Mrs. Romney has money, but fell under the judgment, right?

        I think because God told women to stay home, that makes staying home the offensive thing to His enemies. Rich or poor, who felt the bite of the recent insult? Only the homekeepers.

        • Kate Kresse says:

          I think a big piece of it is a significant number of women think that their worth is determined by how much they are paid, or more specifically if they are paid. that is one of their justifications for working in the first place: either [A: they have to have a job because they want to use their brains (implication~homemakers are stupid) of B: they want to make $$]. Many of them have the same criticism for women with part time jobs or in jobs with lower pay but significant time off). Hadn’t considered the offensive thing to His enemies. Yes, only the homekeepers felt the bite of the recent insult. that is because the non-homekeepers didn;t think it was an insult. they thought Hilary Rosen was correct. Excellent point, my twin.

  10. auntyuta says:

    The way I see it you are not ‘just’ a home-maker, Kate, but you also go out into the community and do lots of things. What about ‘lazy’ home-makers who only do a minimum amount of work in the home and do either nothing ‘useful’ with their spare time apart from looking after the children or fill their spare time using their brains in some way?

    Personally I can’t see any advantage in it if a married woman has to work in order to earn some money to support the family. In the past a man usually earned enough for the support of the family. A ‘two-income’ family was not necessary. With about every second marriage ending in divorce these days, women may depend on being able to earn some money.

    With my third pregnancy in less than three years I decided I would not go back to work. Child-care would have been unaffrordable. Besides with my husband being a shift-worker and being obliged often to work overtime for the railways, I gave up the idea of returning to work. This was my choice at the time.

    I believe in Muslim societies the man is expected to earn enough for the support of the family. A wife is allowed to work. But with her earnings she is supposed to pay for a housekeeper in order that the family is well looked after. The husband is not supposed to depend on the wife’s earnings for the upkeep of the family. But it is the wife’s duty to be the home- carer or pay for a home- carer if she decides to do a full-tiime outside job.

    I’ve heard my mother say things like: ‘He hasn’t worked a day in his life’. In those days anything like this was only said about men who never achieved a well paying full-time job. With so called ‘equality’ being advocated these days. presumably a husband could be the home-maker while the well qualified wife goes out to do a very well paid job. Would a man like this be called lazy? Certainly. This is what most people would think of him. Where is the equality?

    It beats me how on earth a two-income couple with a full working week and maybe overtime on top of it can adequately look after a houshold with children and have no home help. Well,, the home-help could be a paid one or a relative. My husband’s mother for instance worked her whole life full-time. But there was the mother’s aunt living with them to do the housework and look after the three children. No-one would have said that the aunt was a lazy person!

  11. Debbie says:

    Oh, Kate! You did it again. Articulated everything in my heart! Can you take on Barbara Boxer now? I am tired of women being told how many children they should be allowed to have, that society should subsidize their sexual activity with oral contraception as if it were health care. That they should be exposed to the dangers to their fertility, to blood clots, to the possibility of actually conceiving a child and then it aborting because the uterine lining is too thin for implantation. Tell women that oral contraceptives will not protect them from HIV Aides, venereal diseases. Stop the lies and manipulation. Women’s rights are not about how many sexual partners you have. It is about being able to answer your vocation no matter what it is. It is the right to be self reliant, to not get fired for being pregnant, to not be diminished as a person for raising your own family. To not be told you are wasting your college education by using it to produce a family of educated, contributing members of society. Too many entitlements rob people of their dignity. We need balance in the world.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Debbie~you are so very right. The health ramifications of all of this will eventually be well understood. At that point more than a generation of women will be suing the pharmaceutical companies and doctors for misleading them. And to be told you are wasting your college education when you devote yourself to family and home is outrageous, isn’t it? I hear you loud and clear, my friend. Love and support to you today

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