Friday, April 13, 2012

Working Women

Maybe I'm getting overly sensitive.

But this comment by Democratic Strategist Hilary Rosen kind of pisses me off:

"What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country, saying, 'Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that's what I'm hearing.' Guess what?  His wife has actually never worked a day in her life,"  Rosen said.

Ann Romney's reaction?

"I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys," Romney tweeted.  "Believe me, it was hard work."


(And in the interest of full disclosure, I am a Democrat myself).

My first reaction is to go all Ann Romney on here and to yell and scream and preach that yes, raising kids is HARD WORK.  Yes, work.  If I was not staying at home with my two children, I would be paying someone else to do so.  It's a job for them, it's a job for me.  I may not receive societal recognition for it - no 401ks or social security contributions - but it's work nonetheless.

But at the end of the day, that's all just semantics.

What's more concerning is the notion that women without paying jobs shouldn't have a voice in the debate when it comes to economic issues.

Women that stay at home with their children may not receive traditional monetary rewards, but many of these women manage finances.  Go grocery shopping.  Fill up a gas tank.  See firsthand the state of public schools.  Many of these women have advanced degrees and read the newspaper and know something about something.

I'm not saying that women with paying jobs don't do or have these things.

I'm simply saying that women without paying jobs do still have something to say.

And I think it's a sad state when those in politics think it's okay to insinuate otherwise.

Just sayin.


  1. Hmm, maybe you missed Rosen's point- which was that Ann Romney, worth millions of dollars, is not exactly the person a candidate for President of the United States should be turning to for advice on the struggles of women.
    Personally, I found Ann Romeny's comment tremendously offensive. "My career choice was to be a mother." 1)Lots of mothers do not have that choice and 2) Just because some of chose to or have to work doesn't mean we are not mothers.

    Personally, I love my work, and I think that through it I make an important contribution to society. But I love my kids too- and would love to have the financial luxury to have five boys. Also, from the limited time I have stayed at home with my kids, I am sure it would be a hell of a lot less hard if I had a cleaner and other domestic help.

    I'm not saying staying home is easy, or that SAHM's shouldn't have a voice in the debate, of course they should, I'm just saying it is galling to be preached to about "choices" from someone that wealthy.

  2. I agree you missed the point. Rosen's choice of words was terrible, and of course SAHMs work very hard. However, her statement (of which you quoted only part of) was in response to Mitt Romney holding up Ann Romeny as his advisor on economic issues facing women, which I find (1) incredibly condescending and (2) completely out of touch considering she is the stay at home wife of a billionaire.

  3. I see the point of the commenters above. However, Hilary Rosen did not say: "Ann Romney is out of touch because she married a billionaire, and therefore she shouldn't be commenting on women's economic issues." (And btw, isn't this true of pretty much every presidential candidate and politician, if you substitute millions for billions.) Instead, she insinuated that because Ann Romney had not ever worked, she had no right to an opinion. And that is what is offensive about her comment.

  4. Actually, Anon at 10:24, that is kind of what she said: "What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that's what I am hearing. Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we worry - and why we worry about their future."

  5. Anon @ 10:42 - then why mention the fact that she hasn't worked? It's equating not working to not being relevant. She's a billionaire, fair enough. But employment, or lack thereof, has no bearing on a woman's ability to know about economic issues or weigh in on them. The fact that it was included as a "weakness," or reason to be out of touch, is telling.

  6. Glad you wrote - what thoughtful readers you have!

  7. I agree completely with Anonymous at 10:42. The quote was taken out of context.

    Stay-at-home parents can certainly have valid opinions on the economy, but for a presidential candidate to take his cues on what women think about the economy from a stay-at-home parent who has never worked at a typical income-producing job a day in her life is just wrong. I have opinions about lots of things. For example, I have opinions about immigration reform, but if I were running for president, I wouldn't ask me about that; I'd ask someone who has been through the immigration process or someone who works with immigrants.

    People are getting mad at Hilary Rosen when they should be getting mad at Mitt Romney for refusing to talk to the millions of women voters that aren't married to him.

  8. I think women have enough to worry about without fighting with each other over which of us has sacrificed more/has to work harder than the other. We all have a ways to go and we'll get there quicker together. (I'm addicted to this blog, by the way - thank you for writing openly and humorously about so much!!)

  9. thank you for this. perfectly stated. and i needed to hear this today.

  10. Thanks for everyone's comments. I do get the point of some of the posters above, and I am no fan of Mitt Romney. I guess I just feel that in the discourse of discussing someone's qualifications, the notion that the fact that they did not "work" has some bearing on their knowledge of economics or women's struggles doesn't seem right. But I appreciate all the viewpoints!

  11. I think it's also somewhat relevant that she not only doesn't work, didn't work while raising kids, but she NEVER worked! They met in high school, married young. That's an additional (though agree not the main) reason she's out of touch. She doesn't know from working AT ALL.

  12. The issue is not that Ann Romney never worked. It's that she never HAD to work.

    The Romney family has been so extraordinarily wealthy from the start that money was just never in their family economics or decision-making. How many others in this country can say the same?

    And THAT's why Hilary Rosen's comment makes complete sense. Look past the SAHM/WOHM smokescreen. And yes, it IS a smokescreen. Because she did not say it's wrong or irrelevant to be a SAHM. What she said is that Mitt Romney is wrong to rely on his privileged, billionaire wife for advice on the economic issues faced by women in families in this country.

  13. I think that the point of what Hilary Rosen was saying was that perhaps Mr. Romney should probably diversify (he's a business person - he'd get that term right?) his "cabinet" so to speak. And by that I mean he should probably talk to people that aren't like his wife, in addition to his wife because she's certainly not the norm. i think he should talk to people like me (I have a law degree, I work outside the home, as does my husband - we are middle class), but he should probably also be talking to single moms and other people as well because Mrs. Romeny's experience doesn't reflect other peole's experiences. I don't think that she meant that SAHM's don't WORK (we all know they do - I'm a mom too); I'm hopeful, though, that this will start a discussion about these sorts of issues.

  14. I 100% agree with your post. Rosen's comment offends me, too. Even IN context, it's offensive. Yes, Mrs. Romney is a wealthy stay at home mom. But since WHEN do any of those adjectives not entitle her to an opinion on the economy? Rosen's comment seems to say: "Hey Ann R., you're a well-kept little woman; stop concerning your head with economics, and know your place!" Perhaps her comment was just poorly stated, but it smacks of someone who has a LOT of prejudices about what it means to work.

  15. I used to be a Democrat too. But the more I've educated myself on finance and economics and wealth building, the more I turned away from the party. It needs working women (especially married working women) to rake in all the higher marginal taxes. Most millionaire households have a stay at home spouse who has been a conservative, incredibly frugal money manager from day one (usually the woman). Most working families consume their whole lives, hate the rich, and never realize it could be attainable for themselves as well. The Democratic party needs to keep the dual-earning family in the dark and hard at work on the hamster wheel to keep going. Props to Mrs. Romney. Lord knows she had an extremely difficult job with five boys. I only have one girl, and when I go into my office (on an irregular basis), I bask in the luxury of drinking coffee that's actually hot and using the bathroom alone. My hardest work is at home, by far.

  16. Rosen's comment is offensive and she assumes Mrs. Romney is not qualified bc she is a SAHM. Like the commenters have stated, she is extremely weathly and has never worked but Romney is a very sophisticated business man. For him to say I only take financial advice from my wife is probably a lie but if it is true Mrs. Romney is likely also sophisticated in financial matters. I think the statement from Romney was intentional bc he is having problems with the women vote and was hoping the Democrats would bite...and they did. SAHMs have vast experiences and can really only be lumped together by having children. I agree with everyone that Rosen's comment was stupid and it reflects her biases.

  17. I think all of these comments just show the ridiculousness and the endlessly repetitive nature of this working-mother, SAHM debate. Working moms get offended when it is suggested they are somehow "less" of a mother. SAHMs get offended when it is suggested they they somehow have less worth in the professional world. Seriously, women, let's quit wasting our time with this crap. We're just being mean to each other while the men still win.

  18. I kind of agree with Anon at 7:59 just above me. I'm sorry, but I think you're first sentence sums it up perfectly, Shannon.

  19. Mitt Romney said that women with children, even children under 2, should be required to work if they receive welfare because they should have the "dignity of work." So while the Romney camp is right that being a stay at home mom is totally work, and something I think should be applauded, Romney himself said that working outside of the home was important for a person's dignity - but I guess he would like to have added "if you are poor."

  20. Ok, there's a lot of clutter here, as Anon 7:59 has expressed, based on the SAHM/WOM smokescreen. Let's change the context. Take Rosen's comments and replace 'my wife' and 'Ann Romney' with 'Paris Hilton.' No one would have a problem with the comment. And the switch works, because Rosen doesn't say anything about Romney's motherhood. She simply is pointing out that a woman raised in wealth and bathed in wealth is not likely to have a clear grasp of the economic difficulties that mothers face in the best of times. Let alone these times.
    Ann Romney might be a wonderful mother. She might be an exceptional woman with a keen grasp of the economy and an empathy with the common woman that belies her life. And if so, she should demonstrate that. But instead she was being used as a prop by her husband to show how folksy he is. I'm more offended by the notion that Mitt Romney thinks he can win the election by telling people "Aww shucks, I don't know what matters to 'y'all' but my wife says the economy matters so I guess it does." If he honestly believes the electorate doesn't know that he has economic advisors then he's earned his defeat.

    And to SC Mom: Good luck with all that.

  21. I think if Rosen realized it would have offended stay-at-home moms in this way, she would have rephrased it a bit better.

    Yes, working mothers work hard. I run a business and my two kids are always with me. I took no offense and I choose to hear that she was trying to say which was that he needs to take advice from someone with years of experience in matter...not peddle...Mrs. Romney says soundbites to win "I like you votes." That's demeaning.


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