Ann Romney’s GOP Speech — Caregiving and Parenting as Woman’s Work

 

What century does Ann Romney live in? Two million Dads are full time parents, too, and we know it can be an ass whipping.

Last night at the Republican National Convention, Ann Romney gave a speech. By all accounts she hit it out of the park. The transcript is available on line this morning. You can read the entire speech here.

But I’d like to note the section that came in the middle of her speech. Because I think it says a lot about the narratives the drive a particularly antiquated and divisive view of parenting and care giving in America.

In her speech Ann said:

“Sometimes, I think that, late at night, if we were all silent for just a few moments and listened carefully, we could hear a collective sigh from the moms and dads across America who made it through another day, and know that they will make it through another one tomorrow. But in the end of that day moment, they are just aren’t sure how.

And if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men.  It’s how it is, isn’t it?  It’s the moms who have always had to work a little harder to make everything right.  It’s the mom’s of this nation, single, married, widowed, who really hold the country together.  We’re the mothers.  We’re the wives.  We’re the grandmothers.  We’re the big sisters.  We’re the little sisters and we are the daughters.

You know it’s true, don’t you?”

She goes on the say:

“You (moms) are the ones that have to do a little bit more and you know what it is like to earn a little bit harder earn the respect you deserve at work and then you come home to help with the book report just because it has to be done. You know what those late-night phone calls with an elderly parent are like, and those long weekend drives just to see how they’re doing.

You know the fastest route to the local emergency room and which doctors actually answers the phone call when you call at night, and by the way, I know all about that.

You know what it is like to sit in that graduation ceremony and wonder how it was that so many long days turned into years that went by so quickly.  You are the best of America…You are the hope of America.  There would not be an America without you.  Tonight, we salute you and sing your praises!

(APPLAUSE)
I am not sure if men really understand this, but I don’t think there is a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better.  You know what, and that’s fine. We don’t want easy.”

And so it goes…

♦◊♦

This message was carefully crafted. After months of massive GOP missteps on birth control and rape, Ann Romney’s job was to reach out to women and convince them that she understands their lives. And how did her speech writers decide to do this? By pandering to an idea of men and parenting that is fast becoming a thing of the past.

An America where Dad smokes his pipe and reads the evening paper while mom cooks dinner. An America where Dad golfs each weekend while mom does the housework. An America where Dad goes to the office and mom gets the kids off to school, and scouts, and soccer and all the rest of the places that Dad couldn’t find if he had to.

In doing so, Mrs. Romney made it quite clear that she doesn’t understand my life and the lives of millions of other dads who are a primary caregiver for their children. According to CNN and the most recent U.S. Census, some two million men function as the primary caregivers in their families. And that number is skyrocketing. Men are raising children while many women go to the office.

I’m glad Ann hit her speech out of the park. Good for her. But WHAT she hit out of the park was a speech that panders to the idea that men don’t understand caregiving. That men don’t do the “hard work” or feel the challenges of care giving for aging parents or babies.

Here is an except from an article I wrote about being a Stay at Home Dad. The article is titled Babies and the Rebirth of Men.  Forgive me for putting myself in quotes but this speaks to the transformation that men everywhere are undergoing. A transformation this is mostly happening below the cultural radar.

“The opportunity to open up my life to my son continues to change who I am, even as he grows and moves out into the world, and eventually away from me. In caring for him and looking after his littlest needs, I have set my feet on a path that has taught me things about myself I would never have known without him. It is a complex process full of dark moments and frustrations.

Ask any parent. Its the tearing down of who you were and the giving over to service and change. It is not a journey for the weak of heart. When I see a mother or a dad collapsed beyond exhaustion on a park bench staring blankly at their kids, I know how they feel. But the process of really engaging in my son’s life for the last six years has taught me one thing that I will never forget.

That who I am inside the boundaries of myself, is only a small part of who I really am. I am defined by what I create in the world in relationship with my son, with my wife, and with others. It’s a lesson that was a long time coming. As men, we can learn this through service to our children and the purposeful setting aside of our own needs. We learn it in the baptism of birth and the long nights and days of care and attention.”

For the two million or more full-time dads, there are tens of millions more who are sharing 100% equally in parenting. Dads who damn well know where the emergency room is. Dads who fully understand what it’s like to care for an ailing parent. Because they’re doing all of it.

When Ann Romney says, “I am not sure if men really understand this…” and “It’s the moms who have always had to work a little harder to make everything right,” I can only respond by saying, Ann, we dads understand sacrifice, caregiving and the happy exhaustion of full time parenting. We understand every aspect of caring for aging parents and attending PTA meetings. We modern dads are not the stereotypical disengaged working men of fifty years ago who dismissed the work that mothers do. We do this work, too and we know it can be an ass whipping.

So, if you don’t mind, please don’t tell us we don’t understand the immense sacrifices of parenting and caregiving. It’s insulting. It’s divisive. And its manipulative.

Family Relaxing in Living Room from Shutterstock

 

 

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Mark Greene

GMP Senior Editor Mark Greene writes and speaks on Men's Issues at the intersection of society, politics, relationships and parenting for the Good Men Project, the New York Times, The Shriver Report, Salon, HLN, The Huffington Post, and Mamamia. You can follow him on Twitter @megaSAHD and Google.
Click here to read more GMP articles by Mark Greene. Get Mark's fully illustrated children's book FLATMUNDER for iPad from iTunes about kid's fears and the power of play. For kids ages 4-8.

Comments

  1. AMEN.

  2. wellokaythen says:

    You’re right about the speech being a way to show that the GOP is woman-friendly. It’s a speech praising mothers and saying, essentially, that women are more important than men are. This is not all that different from what you hear Oprah pander, I mean say, on a regular basis.

    Notice as well how she seems to equate womanhood and motherhood. Her speech uses the two interchangeably.

    Understandably, though, she’s probably just playing the numbers or mobilizing her party’s base. If I had to guess, I’d say that single fathers would be a more likely to vote Democrat and stay at home moms more likely to vote Republican. Single parenthood itself has been a target of the GOP in earlier campaigns, used as evidence in the decline of family values. She may just think of you as another version of Murphy Brown.

    I just think it’s amazing that a woman who owns a champion thoroughbred and lives in a mansion can still be a valiant underdog because she’s a stay-at-home parent. Can you feel the sisterhood?

    • Republicans always speak to the 1950s; rich Republicans actually live there, pining for the good old days of the 1890s when robber barons REALLY knew how to run things.

  3. John Schtoll says:

    I am willing to be when Michelle Obama makes her speech it will be pandering to this idea as well, which IMHO, is what should make all fathers stand up and take notice RIGHT FREAKING NOW of how society views them, it views them as not ‘real’ parents but more of a mommy helper, nothing more. AND BTW, that is exactly how both sides of the political divide want it to be.

    There is great political power in motherhood and womanhood, I mean the US economy seems to be in the toilet and yet EVERYONE is focusing “What do women want”.

  4. It’s the mom’s of this nation, single, married, widowed, who really hold the country together.
    Now let’s sit back and wait for the people that go nuts when women’s efforts and work go unrecognized when it’s said that men are the ones that make this nation do the same here…

  5. John Schtoll says:

    I remember reading some time ago that there is a canadian show (ripped off from UK) called “The week the women left”, it was a popular show in its day. After the show was off the air, one of the producers was asked why they never made a sequel called “the week the men left”, his answer floored me. He basically said it was because all the major jobs that needed to be done in order to survive were done by the men, i.e water and sewage, police, firefighters, etc.

  6. I agree with the fact that the gender roles are more fluid than Mrs.Romney’s speech indicated. But what struck me is that she missed a whole segment of women who are simply trying to feed themselves in a world where marriage and the old antiquated views of who provides the bacon no longer exist. I happen to have children because I am rearing my niece and nephew but a few years back I was single women who was just trying to figure out where she fit in and Ann Romney words from last night did not do much to connect with women who are in that time of their life. They have ceded the single women to Obama.

    • Tiff1916,
      A whole ‘nother side of the speech I hadn’t even considered. Well said.

    • “They have ceded the single women to Obama.”

      They sure have, they did that decades ago. They don’t approve of single women anyway. Where else do you think all the anti-abortion energy comes from anyway? It damned sure isn’t because they give a shit about a man’s rights to his kids. They talk fathers down all the time. No, it’s about hating on single women.

    • Yes, as a single unmarried woman without children, I feel there is no place for me in the Republican party. Which is too bad because I am not a hardcore liberal Democrat. I’m liberal on social issues but moderate on most other issues. I could be a swing voter but I feel the Republicans don’t want me in their tent. The whole argument that womenhood = motherhood says to me that I don’t count. Actually I’m their worst nightmare – a woman who has not followed the traditional path of marriage and kids.

      • @ Sarah – Your political views reflect mine perfectly. I am a pretty successful African American female. I went to law school, graduated and am now working at a financial institution. I have kids but this is because of my sister who was not really meant to be a parent. I never thought I was but I enjoy it. Still if I had to do it I would make the choice to remain childless because it is often, while it is a great job, it is really hard. Anyway, I love Obama. I gotta be upfront about that. I see him as a flawed but earnest human being who at least tries to find compromise when he can. But because I am more fiscally moderate or I daresay, conservative I am always looking for an alternative. But the failure of the republican party to even look at women as entities other than vessels for children is really annoying. That and Ryan’s deceptions are enough for me to say “hell to the no.”

  7. wellokaythen says:

    “It’s the mom’s of this nation, single, married, widowed, who really hold the country together. We’re the mothers. We’re the wives. We’re the grandmothers. We’re the big sisters. We’re the little sisters and we are the daughters.”

    Alright, I’m going to go overboard with nitpicking the language choices here. First of all, is she making a distinction between being single and being widowed? If you are a widow you are single by definition. If there is an appropriate distinction between being widowed and being single, then she should also mention “divorced” as a separate category as well.

    Second of all, if you are female then you are a daughter. If you are a mother, then you are a mother. But that’s it. Being a mom does NOT mean that you are a sister or a grandmother or a wife. Being a sister or a wife does not mean that you are a mother. Fully inclusive language would also say:

    “We’re the ex-wives. We’re the girlfriends. We’re the baby mommas. We’re the lovers on the side. We’re the sex workers. We’re the nannies who take care of other women’s children. We’re the teachers who sometimes parent your children more than you do. We’re the women who make the agonizing decision to give their children up for adoption. We’re the women who exercise reproductive choice.”

  8. Oh I cannot even begin to deal with this.

    I mean, yeah, she’s definitely reaching some women, but she’s alienating women like me who never want to be mothers – and who believe that men DO EFFING UNDERSTAND.

  9. christy o says:

    Yes. Her speech made me very angry. I was not able to have kids and because of this it appears that I am worth nothing in her world. Never mind that I am a nurse who cares for people everyday. She is perpetuating a stereotype of what she thinks is the typical household. She is out of touch with the everyday lives of many people.

    • ” I was not able to have kids and because of this it appears that I am worth nothing in her world…”

      I think if you look into her religion that is probably pretty close to what she actually believes.

  10. I cannot comprehend this piece at all.

    Every other week I see dozens on pieces on sites like Jezebel that read EXACTLY like Ann Romney’s speech.

    Two months back, Lindy West wrote:
    ” Men work hard. Women work hard. But women, even in the most progressive households, are tacitly expected to be in charge of the household, even if we don’t personally wash every dish. Because it’s our domain. We’re just good at it. And when women ask for help—”Ugggh, my wife wants me to CLEAN OUT the GARAGE”—we’re branded as bitchy, naggy, sitcom wives.”
    source: http://jezebel.com/5921776/having-it-all-means-having-all-the-shitty-stuff-too

    How is this appreciably different from Ann Romney’s speech? Why does Lindy West get to be a bastion of feminism and Ann Romney is part of the “evil Republicans” when they are making the EXACT SAME point?

    When someone says “Women still work harder at home,” and they’re a “feminist” then they get celebrated by progressives, and any man that argues otherwise is “swimming in privilege.”

    But is someone says “Women still work harder at home” and lacks feminist credentials, then they get torn down as “stuck in the 1950s” even though the sentiment is 100% identical.

    This makes no sense to me at all.

    • You’re right, Mike, this stuff doesn’t make any sense at all no matter who is saying it. In my home, I do more of the house work. That’s the way we have it arranged. Which makes Lindy West, uh…. how to put this delicately,…..totally wrong. (And don’t say I’m the exception Lindy, cause I’m not.)

    • That’s a good question Mike.

      I really hope to hear some answers on this.

    • This “second-shift” for women Lindy West and many women talk about as a general truth is not a general truth. Sure it might exist for individuals, but as a society-wide phenomenon it simply does not exist.

      Men spend 0.03 hours more per day than women on work + household activities + child-care + consumer goods purchasing.
      Source: The American Time Use Survey 2011: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.t01.htm

      Overall women tend more to the second shift while men tend more to the first shift. But overall both genders work pretty close to equally much on a daily basis.

      Yet another inconvenient truth many ignore when discussing gender relations. It fits the pattern nicely with DV and sexual violence where statistics showing a much closer distribution of victim across genders has done next to nothing stop the “overwhelmingly more” and “vastly more” rhetoric used by many.

      • I think you’re reading that wrong. “Work” and “consumer goods purchasing” aren’t in the same category as “household work” in that table. Why would you add them together?

        • Ok, if we remove consumer goods purshasing from the sum I presented as you seem to suggest we should do then men spend 0.15 hours more than women on work + household activities + child-care.

          (Since men only use 0.31 hours versus women’s 0.43 hours on consumer goods purchasing)

          The reason I added consumer goods purchasing to the sum was because I suspect a large part of it is grocery shopping, which is a chore. Another big part is probably shopping for clothes and shoes which can be either a leisure activity or a chore (I consider it a chore, but I know many (mostly women though) who treat it as leisure, as a hobby).

          Consumer purchases include most
          purchases and rentals of consumer goods, regardless of the mode or
          place of purchase or rental (in person, via telephone, over the
          Internet, at home, or in a store). Gasoline, grocery, other food
          purchases, and all other shopping are further broken out in
          subcategories.

          Incidently I did not include shopping for personal care service as most people tend to not view that as a chore – it is mostly framed as treating oneself.

          Personal care services include day spas, hair salons and barbershops, nail salons, and tanning salons.

          Quotes from: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.tn.htm

          • I belatedly noticed that Jill, Head Geargal asked why I added “Work” and “Consumer goods purchasing” and I only answered why I added “consumer goods purchasing” to the sum of time spent by men and women.

            Lindy West and other people who talk about the second shift that women also does at least heavily implies that these women also do the first shift. The first shift is the wage-earning job – that is work. The complaint is that women who work full time also does the housework – the unspoken assumption is that these women works as much as their husbands. In short, the claim is that both these women and men does the first shift equally, but men fall short on the second shift (housework and household activities) and women have to do most if not all of the second shift by themselves. Statistics on time spend on housework is used as proof for this. Fine. One might consider it deceptive to not mention the work statistics which shows that women fall short on the first shift (work). one might also find it deceptive that they don’t also include the “household activities” statistics which includes time spend on yard, garden work and other up-keep activities).

            So I added them toghether, and hey presto, there really isn’t any difference between how much time women and men spend in the up-keep of their home (wages for rent and so on, dishwashing,hovering, grocery-shopping, mowing the lawn, washing the car, painting the porch and so on).

    • I think the difference is that the Jezebel piece recognizes women’s contributions outside the home whereas Ann Romney clearly thinks that women’s work INSIDE the home and being a mother is all that matters. Romney doesn’t even mention the fact that women have careers, just that they are “moms”.

      • Nope.

        In Ann Romney’s full speech (the link is above) she specifically praises working parents of both genders.

    • @Mike … you made a great point.

      @Bonnie …. Whereas you don’t see yourself being helped by the Republican Party because you’re single without kids, I have to ask what you expect as a single female in todays society? What would you like any party to do specifically for you?

      Ann Romney is a mother, she spoke of her motherhood role which she is most familiar. As a husband of a stay at home mom and a father of a stay at home mom, it was nice to hear representation of who they are for a change. The stay at home mom is taboo in the many of the feminist circles. I lived through the “if you’re a stay at home mom, you’re oppressed” era. My wife personally experienced women shunning her because she was one of the few in our neighborhood that chose to stay at home and worse yet, loved it. I said a long time ago in one of my responses to one of the articles here that my fear back in the 70’s was if my daughter would have the same opportunity her mother had and that was to be a stay at home mom. It’s all about women and progress which is leaving a large population of women behind. Progress?

      Believe it or not, there are many women who would chose to stay at home if it were economically feasible. We keep hearing about career women and just as it was misrepresented that men had it all in the business world of the 50’s and 60’s, where most men were in fact not white collar workers, the same applies to women in 2012. Most women are not in the corporate world but are commonly seen behind the check out counters.

      I have to wonder, would we have 2 million stay at home dads if the economy was that which provided them the job opportunities they once had? I guess in some ways, this mess has been a blessing in disguise?

  11. The real battle is in the family court when these stay at home dads need to divorce their cheating wife or abusive wife or get rid of her for whatever reason. Stay at home dads initiating divorce are not treated the same as stay at home moms.

  12. Way to insult men and women. Women are just so important to the world as long as they are willing to give up ownership of their bodies to the GOP. Men you apparently suck because you don’t push the kid out yourself, nevermind any contribution you make to the child’s life after that. I hope women and men insulted by this whole thing will use their votes to put a stop to all this hypocrisy!

    • wellokaythen says:

      Only about 2/3 of babies are born vaginally in the U.S. today. A full third are born by C-section. So, there are tens of millions of people out there who were never pushed out….

      Pointless use of obscure statistics strikes again!

  13. I do most of the work in our house. Actually I do all the housework in the house and I do the errands, school chaperoning, and run the kids around. Years ago men were asked to step up and we have. Also, when my wife was in law school we didn’t have parents that paid for our schooling. We had to take care of it and I worked 3 lousy jobs during that time. We heated our first home with candles. And lastly, in her defense, she is a Republican. Zing!

  14. John Schtoll says:

    Here is the thing though, the DEMS are the same just in reverse, they praise women, make issues for this election just about women, so in reality, why would any man vote DEM and any woman vote Rep, I have no idea.

    • I don’t agree with your statement. The repubs seized on birth control and abortions. If they had not made it an issue it would not have been an issue the DEMS would not have been able to make it their issue. All we would be talking about is the faltering economy. Now as a women I have to weigh my control of my body vs. the economy. Well right now I am doing alright and I believe that the economy will only improve. So my right to control my own body outweighs that. I have a problem with republican women getting on tv and trying to guilt me into caring about the economy more than I care about individual liberty. There has been a lot of women shaming from that repub women. They shake their heads on meet the press and say sanctimoniously, “The majority of women care more about the economy than social issues.” I also have a problem with REPUBS who don’t offer solutions on how to create more jobs but who want to get on the president for granting waivers on the work requirement to republican governors so that people can actually eat and maybe pay a piece of their rent or mortgage.

      There are so many things wrong with the REPUBS this election.

      • Well, I will say this… I voted for Obama back in ’08 and have “Liked” Obama’s page on Facebook and lately, they have been posting a lot of cute little graphics with statements and statistics about much Obama’s policies help women etc. etc., and every time I see one pop up in my feed, I sort of sneer.
        One image has a quote attibuted to Obama – “We know we are better off when women are treated fairly and equally in every aspect of American life, whether it’s the salary you earn or the health decisions you make,” which would be all fine and good were it not accompanied by the caption “Celebrate this Women’s Equality Day by making sure the women in your life are registered and ready to vote.” Puh-lease! That’s not Celebrating anything about women. That’s just soliciting votes. His campaign is pandering to women just as much as Ann Romney’s speech did – just a different group of women.

        Dems and Repubs are both insincere. They both lie – just different lies, aimed at different people. They both posture and pander and promise. I can’t ally myself with either of them – and sadly, have not found a suitable alternative among third-party candidates. And I know I’m not alone, especially among my age group (Millennials). I have a feeling voter turnout in November will be on the low side.

        • Dare I suggest that all you who consider not to vote for similar reasons as KKZ voices to vote for the most suitable third party candidate then? US’ de-facto two-party system will only be bolstered by a low voter turnout where the votes go to either the Democrats or the Republicans.
          However unlikely it is that your most suitable third candidate will win it will still be a much stronger call for change if the third part candidates reach a high enough numbers of votes than a low voter turnout will be. A low voter turnout only gains the powers in place. They may lament any low turnout, but secretly they will gleefully rub their palms and cackle not unlike Mr. Burns because it is another step towards the situation where the only votes in will be the ones they bought. Do you want that?

      • “right to control my own body”
        – God, I hear and read this all the time from Democrat/liberal women, and the media (also liberal). At best it is totally misleading, if not an outright LIE. And I’m not even a pro-life purist.
        Tiff, are the pro-life Republicans proposing any of the following in regards to “controlling” your body?:
        prohibit tattoos
        prohibit piercings
        prohibit reductions
        prohibit enlargements
        prohibit lifts
        prohibit injections
        prohibit transplants
        In case you are unaware, the answer to all is NO.
        How about your uterus, Tiff?
        Are they proposing prohibition of sex change operations? Again, NO.
        Maybe they don’t care what you do to YOUR body, Tiff, just what they view as the other person growing inside it.

        • I am now taking care of two persons that were inside of another human being. One is nine and is two.
          I love them beyond reason. What scares me is that if I had not been around they could have ended up in
          foster care. They are African American. The chances of them being adopted are not that great.
          Repubs don’t need to talk to me about caring about unborn children.
          Most Repubs seem to only care about the babies in theory. I not only care the babies ability to live but their quality of
          life.

          I also think that a woman who are pregnant are best equipped to decide if they can be a mother or to
          work it out with the father…not the government.

          • I noticed you didn’t dispute anything I stated about the “controlling your body” bunk from the left.

            “Repubs don’t need to talk to me about caring about unborn children.”
            – Well, you specifically, perhaps not. But the pro-lifers believe that those unborn babies (or fetus or cells or whatever label you use) are people, and hence deserve legal protection even before they are born. If you don’t believe they are people until birth (or a later stage of development) then you probably don’t believe they deserve legal protection until that point.

            “I also think that a woman who are pregnant are best equipped to decide if they can be a mother”
            – No pro-lifer wants to force you to raise a child, which is what your statement suggests. That’s just more bunk from the left. Pro-lifers want you to you give up the baby for adoption if you chose not to be the mother.
            What you actually mean to say is: “”I also think that a woman who [is] pregnant [is] best equipped to decide if…the unborn baby/fetus/cells should be allow to live.” So, you believe that the pregnant woman should be the final legal arbiter of life or death until the baby is actually born. You can’t have an honest debate unless you’re honest in your meaning.

            • “I also think that a woman who are pregnant are best equipped to decide if they can be a mother”
              “- No pro-lifer wants to force you to raise a child, which is what your statement suggests. That’s just more bunk from the left. Pro-lifers want you to you give up the baby for adoption if you chose not to be the mother”

              “You can’t have an honest debate unless you’re honest in your meaning.”

              Wow, Lucky. You seem to feel that carrying a baby for nine months and then birthing it is… what? Easy? Not even worth mentioning? Not a big issue? You just jumped right to “give it up for adoption”. Wow. You’ve got nine months of other people’s lives all planned out for them, haven’t you.

              If you’re being intellectually honest then you should include all the other things “Pro-lifers” people want women to do. Including go through the massive physical challenges of bringing a baby to term, not take birth control. Not have sex out of wedlock. And have lots of kids.
              What? That’s not what “pro-lifers” want? We’ll it is what some want.
              WHAT? And at the same time some pro-choice people aren’t encouraging third trimester abortions?
              Or even late second trimester abortions?
              Sounds like the story isn’t simple on either side here.
              Intellectual honesty is a two way street.

            • “You seem to feel that carrying a baby for nine months and then birthing it is… what? Easy? Not even worth mentioning? Not a big issue? You just jumped right to “give it up for adoption”. Wow. You’ve got nine months of other people’s lives all planned out for them, haven’t you.”
              – The pregnancy term is a fair point to bring up, Mark. No, its not easy. Yes, its a big issue. But if you believe that the thing inside a pregnant woman is an actual person, then that person’s legal right to a life that could last 80-90 years outweighs the challenges and issues of a 9 month pregnancy. Again, it all depends on whether you consider it to be a person.

              “If you’re being intellectually honest then you should include all the other things “Pro-lifers” people want women to do. Including go through the massive physical challenges of bringing a baby to term, not take birth control. Not have sex out of wedlock. And have lots of kids.
              What? That’s not what “pro-lifers” want? We’ll it is what some want.”
              – Well, I was specifically referring to the pro-life movement. Birth control and wedlock sex is the abstinence movement. Contrary to liberal beliefs, among conservatives they are separate movements. But I recognize the reflex to throw out a wide net when losing a debate.

            • I know you’d like to act as if the pro-life movement is behind some conceptual fire-wall from other social conservative agendas. But its not. And here’s the kicker… Women don’t trust social conservatives to EVER end their crusade on social issues aimed at controlling women. No win will be enough. There will ALWAYS be something else. It is a step by step plan to undermine choice and then to go after a wide range of other issues. The first shots have been fired on access to birth control. Now rape is being redefined legally.
              Social conservatives are SCARING THE CRAP OUT of moderate Ameicans because we know that they’re never going to stop coming. Never.

              And as for losing debates, how about you let the others following this thread determine that for themselves? Otherwise you sound a little prideful. And we all know what the good Lord thinks of that sort of thing. ;)

            • Wow, your response contains no factual based argument or logical thinking, and is limited to emotion, assumption, and conjecture. Considering that several of your followers in this thread have offered only the same, in addition to the usual liberal bunk, I won’t be waiting for their assessment of a debate performance. Thanks for contributing to an elevated discourse here at GMP, Mark.

            • Luckey,
              How about we agree to disagree? Cause that’s pretty much all you and I will be doing for the foreseeable future. LOL

            • My reponse is awaiting “moderation”. How convenient.

        • *sigh*

          A cluster of cells is not a person.

          And what if it were?

          If another person plugs himself into your body to support his/her life, are you then obligated to let them do it? Should another person be able to dig into your body for the kidney they desperately need? How is that any different? (Because the naughty women have done the Bad Thing and had some sex and deserve the “consequences”, whereas in this scenario you’re just the innocent victim of a kidney thief, right?)

          A woman is a person, there’s no arguing that despite the GOP’s best efforts. Forcing an existing person to have a baby is slavery. The existing person is the default moral priority, not the potential one.

          • “A cluster of cells is not a person.”
            – Actually, this is about a cluster of unique human cells. Leaving out the word “human” makes the abortion argument more palpable, but less honest. Anyway, pro-lifers believe that cluster of human cells is a person, and that as any other person it deserves legal protection. You don’t believe its a person, and hence has no legal protection. That’s the whole point of contention with the abortion issue.

            “And what if it were?”
            – If it was a person then the basic legal rights prescribed by the constitution apply to it. Unless you are suggesting that some people (or persons) deserve constitutional rights and some don’t. THAT would be slavery, Jill. Crack a history book.

            “If another person plugs himself into your body to support his/her life…”
            – Sorry, but this kind of totally ridiculous scenario belongs in a sci-fi movie, not the very real abortion debate.

            • First off, as the wife of an amazing SAHD, let me just say that I love the original post. Second, a question for Luckey: I’m going to die without an immediate organ transplant. You are a perfect donor match, the only one who can save me. Should the government compel you to donate an organ to save my life?

            • John Schtoll says:

              Cat: Actually, your question (analogy) is not even close to the same thing.

            • it’s exactly the same thing. The law can’t compel me to give up part of my body to save another person’s life in any circumstance. The law can’t force me to fonate a kidney. It can’t force me to give blood. It can’t force me to run into a burning building to save a life. Why is pregnancy different? There is no difference.

            • Exactly, Sarah. John, if you disagree, tell me why. You can’t just assert that it’s ‘not even close to the same thing’ without providing any rationale why. Having gone through two pregnancies — major medical events which can be life-threatening — I think it’s a pretty good analogy to organ donation. If you disagree, tell me why. I’m positing there’s no substantive difference between the government forcing me to carry out a pregnancy to save a life that only I can save and the government forcing me to donate an organ or bone marrow or whatever to save a life that only I can save. Where’s the difference?

            • Easy answer. Abortion is an action. Not donating an organ is an inaction. The significant legal differences make it a faulty comparison.

      • And in fact, they’ve made women’s uteruses one of the top priorities of their platform. The GOP is putting this issue front and center on their own.

        • No Jill. They made unborn children (or whatever you label it) a top priority of their platfrom. If it was your uterus, they would propose prohibiting on a long list of surgeries that involves it, which they are not. I already proved your statement to be bunk. Next.

  15. Those lines in the otherwise great speech are a disappointment, though from a political standpoint I understand why they were made. They need more support from women since they already have the male vote by a wide margin, and this was pointed directly to suburban women. Unfortunately, directly referencing and appealing to any demographic that is specifically male would be condemned as part of the “War on Women” B.S. by the Democrats and liberals.
    It will be interesting to see if Mark’s SAHD demographic is mentioned at all during Obama’s convention next week. The Democrats have never talked about them before. Will Mark write as passionate a posting if Michelle and Barack ignore them in their speeches. We’ll see.

    • Lucky,
      The War on Woman may or may not be “real” to you, but its real to a lot of women. The GOP has shot itself in foot twice in recent memory. Akins comment about “legitimate rape” is the political equivalent of a thermonuclear meltdown right in the town square. Not because he said something dumb, but because he put a spot light on the kinds of conversations conservatives are having behind closed doors. Whether you consider this to be a war on women is irrelevant here.
      For that matter whether you are offended by Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” is really irrelevant here. I can tell you this. A lot of conservative men rage about how there is no war on women. Thereby heating the war up even more. You guys are angry cause your talking heads fucked up. But what those mistakes did was reveal the scope and scale of what conservative me think about women.
      As for the SAHD demographic and the Republican convention, I think there is a bigger issue here. It ain’t what’s said at the conventions. Its what LAWS are being proposed and pushed through Congress. And what Ryan and Akins have already co-sponsored is what will result in the following:
      A majority of women voting NOT to elect men who feel the way you seem to feel.

      • Luckey has a point, though, Mark, that your reply did not address: Democrats are just as guilty of leaving SAHDs out of the conversation as Republicans are. Dems may speak of/treat women better than Repubs do (glaring oversimplification but I’m pressed for time) but they still put women on a pedestal, they still get all tied up in the women=victims rhetoric, and they still pretty much ignore SAHDs. You’ve essentially criticized Ann’s speech here for leaving out SAHDs, but it’s not like they get much more than lip service from the other party, either.

        Women’s Issues have been on the national political stage for a few decades now, but Dads’ Issues are currently seen as a non-issue to these campaigns. It will probably take several more years and *lots* of effort to bring Dads’ Issues to the forefront of the national conversation. If anything, the Dems will be the ones more open and receptive to talking about it, once they can be convinced it actually matters; Repubs, I would guess, would probably be less receptive and more dismissive because the whole idea of “Dads’ Issues” doesn’t jive with their view of masculinity and manhood – same as “Women’s Issues” don’t jive with their ideas of femininity and womanhood. I don’t think they’d be as easily convinced that Dads are worth talking about. Even Dems might be hard to persuade, since they get so much support from very vocal and visible feminist/women’s rights groups who might raise a ruckus if suddenly the party stops talking about them and shifts to Dads (because feminists, too, will need some convincing that Dads’ Issues are real).

      • “The War on Woman may or may not be “real” to you, but its real to a lot of women…Whether you consider this to be a war on women is irrelevant here.”
        – Unfortunately, many men and women have bought into this liberal BS which the media (oops, already mentioned liberals) has happily parroted along from the Democrats talking points. I’ve already detailed in this thread how I believe it to be bunk.
        As far as my considerations being “irrelevant here”, I wasn’t aware that GMP was intended to be an echo chamber of your own opinions, Mark. Seriously.

        “Akins comment about “legitimate rape” is the political equivalent of a thermonuclear meltdown right in the town square. Not because he said something dumb, but because he put a spot light on the kinds of conversations conservatives are having behind closed doors.”
        – That comment was totally offensive and showed his ignorance, which is why just about everybody in the GOP called on him to drop out and has pulled their money out of that race. It also gave the left the opportunity to extrapolate that his belief on rape must also be shared by the rest of conservatives, which is exactly what you just did. Congrats on playing the political opportunist.

        “As for the SAHD demographic and the Republican convention, I think there is a bigger issue here. It ain’t what’s said at the conventions. Its what LAWS are being proposed and pushed through Congress.”
        – Uh, didn’t you just go on and on about what was said at the convention? Oh, I guess this statement is meant to CYA when Democrats give you the cold should at their convention too, and then you never write about it. Not surprised.

    • I think you’re making a big error in equating Mark (and others’) problem with what Ann said as being about wanting a shout-out to SAHDs or feeling it was dismissive of SAHDs.

      Ann specifically said that moms have it harder and hold the country together by virtue of this deep love for their children that only a mom can even fathom. That’s not just an insult to SAHDs, it’s an insult to all involved dads. Her examples of these unique mom activities were things like helping with homework, making long calls or visits to ailing family, knowing the way to the emergency room, and feeling wistful about the passage of time at a child’s graduation. Those things aren’t just done by moms, they’re done by PARENTS. Moms AND Dads. Working and non-working parents. Stay-at-home parents. Single parents. Adoptive parents.

      No one wanted or expected to be thrown a “oh and a shout out to the SAHDs right?” bone in the first place, so please understand that that it didn’t happen ISN’T THE PROBLEM.

  16. All I can say about her speech is that “woman” is really lucky to have a husband who goes to work everyday.. maybe to a job he hates.. with people he hates.. maybe its dangerous.. boring.. but pays well enough for her to be at home with the family.. what about that guy??? maybe he would like to stay home and raise the kids??

  17. Not only does she not understand men as caregivers, she clearly considers women who take on roles other than “mother” to be beneath her notice. Gross, all the way around.

  18. Ann Romney’s speech was targeted at a specific audience, married mothers, with the strategy of trying to sway them with the “the national debt will cripple your children’s future” argument. That was the demographic targeted.

    I imagine if there had been a notional mention of SAHDs, I’d be reading an article about how such a quick reference was just an insult and wasn’t enough to change anyone’s mind. Men have been a really predictable voting block, with every election since Carter decided by the swing women’s vote, and a subset of that is what they were shooting for.

  19. Society sees women who choose to be childfree as selfish — http://omgchronicles.vickilarson.com/2012/05/01/can-a-childfree-woman-be-a-hero-too/— never mind the reality that we all, men and women, have children for our own selfish needs and desires. That’s why politicians think it’s more important to woo mothers. No one is going to celebrate the childfree, sadly. Their focus is on “family,” although here’s how the Census defines family: “A family consists of two or more people (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption residing in the same housing unit.”
    No mention of kids!

    • I wouldn’t mind seeing a childfree article here on the forum. Admittedly, society being what it is, refusal to reproduce is more often treated as a crime by women than by men, but it’s still funny (or sad) to see how often “get married – have kids” is equated with being a responsible grownup, even today.

      • Dear Vicki and/or Copyleft,
        Would you consider writing an article on being child free? The Good Men Project would love to see it. And possibly publish it.

        What do you think?

        • Hi Mark,
          Oh, goodness — I have written quite a few articles about being childfree, on my own blog and for the Huffington Post. Even though I’m a mom, it’s hard not to see how society treats people who choose not to have kids. Like pariahs! And if a childfree couple divorces, here’s how they get “support” — “Well, at least you didn’t have kids!” as if that should make them feel better. As I’ve written, society only really seems to care about those who procreate.

      • Agreed, GMP really seems to focus a lot of articles on dads and kids which is not a bad thing per se, but sometimes it seems like the writers are promoting the same old traditional views of “families good, parents good, kids good” whereas single childless people (at least by omission) are somehow shallow, selfish, bad?

        • Thanks for the comment Sarah. As a father, I can only say this: childless people are FABULOUS. I mean that. Because they give us “childed persons” someone to talk with who isn’t going on about their damn kids. LOL
          Seriously. Its a good thing. And it help reduce the population explosion which may do us all in in the long run.

  20. It’s very calculated.

    They are soon to bring out Clint – Bridges of Madison County hunkster!!

    • wellokaythen says:

      The thing is, she’s not going to lose many voters by saying that motherhood is the hardest job in the world. It’s a pseudo-feminist pedestal that is massively popular in America today, if Oprah’s viewership is any indication. (You can pat someone on the head and put her on a pedestal at the same time. Humans are complicated that way.)

      You will lose very few people if you make a national speech saying that moms are the glue that hold the country together. Imagine the uproar if a speaker at a convention were to say that men and women were equally good parents. Or said that a child doesn’t need a mother growing up. Or said that in many cases the father is a better parent than the mother is. That would probably be political suicide, probably characterized either as a nasty backlash against feminism or an assault on decent family values.

  21. Good points, Mark. And a good example of why this “let’s all return to the family structure of the 50’s” is no good; it’s not what most women want, and it’s not what most men want. It does not at all reflect how we want to live, how we want to be families, relate to out partners,or support our children.

    Ann Romney (without intending to) makes it clear that this is not even a gender issue. Lots of men and women are together finding much better ways for their families.

  22. John Schtoll says:

    What shocks me most about this article is again how it 100% puts the focus on women. This is supposed to be a site for men, about men and about their stories, but so many of the stories are for all intents and purposes saying that men aren’t important unless we are focusing on women.

    It just never ceases to amaze me.

    • Maybe if you tried reading again you would notice how the article is very much about what Ann Romney’s talk implied for fatherhood. Mark is making the point that the family model A.R. imagines (the family of the 1950’s) is completely at odds with what lots of men want and how they see themselves as fathers.

      Mark’s article about men – and about being annoyed with the things A.R. is saying about men.

      • Here’s my view of the GoodmenProject. Imagine having one person (man or woman) in the local bar tell the rest of us what is appropriate subject matter for conversation… It would be laughable.

        Here’s how I think it should work here. If you don’t like what I’m discussing, go to the bar, get yourself a beer, turn to the guy or gal next to you and start another conversation. Change the channel. Turn the page. There are a lot of conversations going on here. That, in my humble opinion, is what the GoodMenProject is about. No subjects are silenced. All subjects are opt in.

  23. John Schtoll says:

    OOPS, u are correct, I re-read the article, apologies forwarded to all.

    (Removes foot from mouth)

    • Thanks, John. I know all too well that you didn’t have to say that. I’m often removing my foot from my mouth and I rarely take the time to admit just having done so. So thanks.

      • Great article. It’s not like men are just come home, heres money, leave me alone to watch tv.
        My father was there for me a lot as a kid and until he died when I was 18, he was irreplaceable, our family was like araldite, epoxy n resin, after dad died just like it’d happen if you didn’t have the resin or epoxy our family kinda fell apart. Both mum n dad were essential to our family, it was 50:50 and the lack of either would be and is sorely missed.

    • No sweat, man. No need to apologize. Thanks for joining the conversation.

  24. “For the two million or more full-time dads, there are tens of millions more who are sharing 100% equally in parenting. Dads who damn well know where the emergency room is. Dads who fully understand what it’s like to care for an ailing parent. Because they’re doing all of it.”

    And nobody should be all that impressed by it. It’s just life. It’s what we are supposed to do. I have no idea why they think people should be impressed by non-income earning SAHD’s; it’s something women have been doing for generations, except they actually give birth to and nurse the babies.

    • Likewise as nobody should be all that impressed by women who makes it big in STEM fields, women who becomes senators and govenors and women who work as welders, builders, firefighters and so on?

      I for one think that some admiration is earned by those who goes against the grain (in these cases it’s against gender expectations). I have soem admiration for women who choose not to have children, simply because many of them find that choice is being questioned by many – many of whom it should be no business to do so.

      Granted, there is a difference between some admiration and outright putting them on a pedestal.

      A while back there was a newspaper article about more and more dad being SAHD and being on the playground with their children. One dad was quoted as saying that they no longer were looked at as something strange and abnormal, they were the new normal. That quote earned him plenty of (in my view) undeserved criticism and snarkiness. SAHD also receive criticism from many angles for their choice – sometimes even criticism for it not being their choice (one definition of SAHD rules out SAHD who are involuntarily without a job hence excludes them from statistics over who stays at home with the children).

      • “Likewise as nobody should be all that impressed by women who makes it big in STEM fields, women who becomes senators and govenors. . .”

        Being a Fortune 500 CEO of a company such as Yahoo, male or female IS impressive – because very, very, very few people, male or female achieve that much. Same with becoming a senator or governor. Those achievements are seriously impressive.

        By contrast, being a welder or builder (whatever is meant by “builder”) is impressive in the sense that it’s hard word, male or female.

        Being a firefighter, male or female, is different than any of the others. Being a firefighter IS impressive because you risk your life everyday to save that of others.

    • In response, I would suggest we spend too much time and effort making some work invisible and elevating other work as valued. All work has value. Often the people most vocal about some task or another not being “impressive” have never done it themselves.

      • “Often the people most vocal about some task or another not being “impressive” have never done it themselves.”

        I am not impressed when people fulfill their obligations, particularly obligations that they take on voluntarily, such as parenthood. Caring for one’s family responsibilities, both secularly and domestically, is what parents are SUPPOSED to do.

      • I have 2 daughters and worked from home for 7 years. During that time, and thereafter, I have done every domestic task for years, both inside and outside the home – and have been either the main or exclusive breadwinner. It’s not impressive; it’s not hard. it’s my responsibility.

  25. co-sign and totally agree Mark.

  26. I listene to Ann Romney’s speech, and when I heard that particular part (the one you quoted), I almost did a double take. Thanks for writing about this!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Ann Romney’s GOP Speech — Caregiving and Parenting as Woman’s Work by Mark Greene (Good Men Pr… When Ann Romney says, “I am not sure if men really understand this…” and “It’s the moms who have always had to work a little harder to make everything right,” I can only respond by saying, Ann, we dads understand sacrifice, caregiving and the happy exhaustion of full time parenting. We understand every aspect of caring for aging parents and attending PTA meetings. We modern dads are not the stereotypical disengaged working men of fifty years ago who dismissed the work that mothers do. We do this work, too and we know it can be an ass whipping. [...]

  2. [...] This is a comment by wellokaythen on the post “Ann Romney’s GOP Speech — Caregiving and Parenting as Woman’s Work“. [...]

  3. [...] (what used to be) “women’s work.”Before I go any further, I want to promote an excellent article by Mark Greene at MegaSAHD that challenges the ugly view of masculinity and the outdated, [...]

  4. [...] describing (what used to be) “women’s work.”Before I go any further, I want to promote an excellent article by Mark Greene at MegaSAHD that challenges the ugly view of masculinity and the outdated, [...]

  5. [...] where they stand in mattering to their country, but stay-at-home dads were equally pissed. As Mega SAHD blogger Mark Greene wrote for the Good Men Project, “We modern dads are not the stereotypical disengaged working men of fifty years ago who [...]

Speak Your Mind

*