14 April 2012


"You know, I’m not sitting here – some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette." Hillary Clinton, 1992

Whether discounting stay-at-home moms, or SAHMs (here and here), or blaming single moms (and the "absence of fatherhood") for society's ills (here and here); it is clear that the "war on women" has been co-opted once again by the unrelenting gender wars.

Here are the facts...
Republican-controlled legislatures (including the US Congress) have been working overtime to turn back the clock on women's issues, in the name of "religious liberty."
"Fueled by large conservative margins in statehouses after the 2010 elections, Republican legislators went on an unprecedented and relentless bill writing spree to: limit women's access to the healthcare; restrict a woman's right to make personal, private decisions about what's best for her own health; and even ban contraception through "personhood" amendments. Not to be left behind, conservatives in Congress briefly tried to redefine the meaning of rape and zoned in on Planned Parenthood as right-wing enemy Number One by voting to defund the clinics that 5 million women depend on for vital health services each year." US News.
It is true that factions of the "tea party" continue to jam rosaries up ladies' ovaries, in an attempt to mollify their remaining base of support, who refuses to accept certain social realities. This is the "war on women." Now showing.

Yet, it is also true that Democratic advisor Hilary Rosen's recent reference to Gov. Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, as never having worked "a day in her life" was reckless. In the midst of all the substantive talk about the Republicans' anti-woman legislation, Rosen's comment opened the window to GOP claims of "Democrats vs. soccer moms." Essentially the same window Hillary Clinton opened back in 1992, when her comments (below) were similarly characterized as a liberal's careless dismissal of motherhood.
"I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life." Hillary Clinton, 1992

A closer look at history and at the feminist movement reveals that the debate always seems to break down into a war amongst women. Dividing women over social issues is music to the ears of a male-dominated society. This divide-and-conquer strategy can be seen throughout history. In the early days of the suffrage movement, certain women's groups rallied against their own right to vote. Much like today, these opposition groups were usually funded, or at least enthusiastically supported, by male-dominated supporters of the status-quo.

While we're on the subject of male-dominated supporters of the status-quo...

On the flip side of the supposedly anti-SAHM comments by the left, is the Republican side. Notable conservatives, like Ann Coulter and Vice President Dan Quayle, have singled-out single motherhood as evil. Though it comes off obviously as divisive political posturing, they do this to distract from having the real debate about women's health and privacy.

As long as SAHMs are bickering with evil single moms, that's fine by them.

But, by now we know the directions to the right side of history. It is up to the proponents of change to determine if this divide-and-conquer strategy will be allowed to get in the way of meaningful debate leading up to November.
"She's so deliciously low. So horribly dirty."

"Eliza, you are to stay here for the next six months learning to speak beautifully, like a lady in a florist's shop. If you work hard and do as you're told, you shall sleep in a proper bedroom, have lots to eat, and money to buy chocolates and go for rides in taxis. But if you are naughty and idle, you shall sleep in the back kitchen amongst the black beetles, and be wolloped by Mrs. Pearce with a broomstick. At the end of six months you will be taken to Buckingham Palace, in a carriage, beautifully dressed. If the king finds out you are not a lady, you will be taken to the Tower of London, where your head will be cut off as a warning to other presumptuous flower girls! But if you are not found out, you shall have a present... of, ah... seven and six to start life with as a lady in a shop. If you refuse this offer, you will be the most ungrateful, wicked girl, and the angels will weep for you." 

Just remember, when you cast your vote in November; think back to this inadvertent pregnant pause moment from the Romney Campaign regarding his position on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009...
Sam Stein, Huffington Post: "Yeah, does Governor Romney support the Lilly Ledbetter Act?".................................ROMNEY AIDE: "Sam, well get back to you on that."

*The title of this post, as well as the lyrics excerpted above are from "My Fair Lady."