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Lahle Wolfe

Cat Fight: Career Gals vs Stay-At-Home Moms

By April 13, 2012

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Hilary Rosen's comment that Ann Romney can't understand women's economic struggles because she "has actually never worked a day in her life" was not intended to say women who stay home do not work hard.  It was intended to make Mitt Romney look bad for looking to his (wealthy) stay-at-home wife for advice about what working women in an entirely different socio-economic class need.

I am not in favor of, nor impressed by ugly politics of any kind, but each election it happens.  Someone says something that, when taken out of context sounds far worse than intended so  I am not surprised that Rosen's comments sparked such outrage.  The media and both sides of the campaign trail rely on media interest and hype for lots of reasons both financial and political.  If nothing exciting is going on, the twisting of words and circumstances can create artificial brouhaha in an instant.

Would women (and Republicans and even first lady Obama) have been as outraged if Rosen had instead simply said Ann Romney has never held an outside job after having children?  I doubt it.  Rosen should have been more careful with her choice of words, and I believe apologizing (because damage control is also important in politics) and clarifying her meaning was called for (even if not widely accepted.)  The truth is, most women with children cannot afford to stay home, and the Romneys are in that upper income bracket 97% of us will never achieve.   But does this mean the wealthy (including Mrs. Romney) are out of touch with the working class and lower income families?

Being wealthy does not disqualify someone from having an opinion about what lesser income families need.  Bill and Melinda Gates are good examples of the uber rich in touch with global poverty.  Lee Iaccoca and Dave Thomas are two more examples of rich folks who not only seem to understand the "not rich" but have offered money and ideas to help others who are less fortunate.

So shame on Rosen for insinuating a wealthy women (Ann Romney) is out of touch and incapable of understanding anything outside her own world because of her wealth.  Ann Romney deserves more credit than that -- let her be judged by her own words and actions not by her status.

But also, shame on those who attacked Rosen and twisted her words trying to make it sound as though she believes women who choose not to work have an easy time raising a family and do not "work."   That is simply not what she said and not what she meant.  We do not need another diversion that divides women into groups.  We should all stand united and focus on reducing domestic violence and hate crimes, for equal pay, and an end to gender discrimination and sexual harassment.  Those are things that all women -- no matter what their income level are still in danger of being subjected to.

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April 17, 2012 at 11:06 am
(1) Julia says:

You said it, Girl!!
There is no easy way to tell ALL women of the world that we are ALL in this together in getting equality.

Wiser words have never been said before… I wish you could scream it from the roof tops

“We do not need another diversion that divides women into groups. We should all stand united and focus on reducing domestic violence and hate crimes, for equal pay, and an end to gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Those are things that all women — no matter what their income level are still in danger of being subjected to.”

You should probably make a T-shirt, bumper sticker and refrigerator magnet that states this. So that women of all religions, political choice and race can remember to stay UNIFIED. We need our choices and our voices to be heard, and to not be ‘objectified’ like Ashley Judd said or ignored because of our gender! Women Power!

“I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore, and I know too much to go back and pretend.”
Helen Reddy

April 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm
(2) Valerie says:

I was watching when this comment was made and it was taken out of context as I believe that even though she has been a stay at home mom which is a beautiful thing to be able to be a present parent, but …I don’t think she was forced to be on food stamps, go to foodbanks, buy secondhand clothes for her kids…!!! go hungry so that her kids could eat!!!! That is what she meant when she made that comment!!! and she and Mitt turned it around for his political campaign!!!! of course being a stay at home is a job unto itself, but I am positive she did not have to suffer for it like many, many other moms have to that are not as philthy rich as she is…!

April 17, 2012 at 11:34 pm
(3) Lahle Wolfe says:

Julia – I remember my mom belting out that Helen Reddy tune blasting out of her little AM/FM radio – it was catchy and still rings true for today’s woman.

Thanks for reminding me of that song!

April 17, 2012 at 11:51 pm
(4) Lahle Wolfe says:

Valerie – I agree that Ann did not lack for much and it was unlikely she ever had to stay up all night worrying about a sick child she could not afford to take to see a doctor. Money does make certain aspects of parenting a lot easier – that is for sure. But Jonas Salk never had polio, yet found a cure. Men cannot have babies but we trust them to deliver ours. Sometimes we do not have to have lived through something to see solutions.

There has been so much focus on her wealth that I am concerned it detracts from what we really need to know — just what does she think we need to help women who struggle with the issues she herself has not necessarily personally had to endure?

If anyone has any clips or quotes on either of the candidate’s wives positions, please share them as well as your own personal thoughts.

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