Friday, April 13, 2012

She never worked a day in her life

The U.S. presidential campaign got a jolt yesterday when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen set off a national debate by saying that Ann Romney, the mother of five, had “never worked a day in her life.” The next day Ann Romney tweeted back: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.” Is it just another day in the life of American politics, or is it something more?  I think the issue of a how a woman defines herself has touched a nerve.

You see, I don’t think Hillary Rosen meant that “mothering” is not work. But Ms. Rosen’s definition of “work” is tied to her sense of a woman’s worth—evidently by paychecks, promotions, and professionalism. Another famous Hillary (Clinton) touched this nerve with her emotionally-charged statement: “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession.”  You can see how these Hillary’s define a woman’s worth—professional fulfillment.

This identity crisis is not new. In 1975, in her book “A Woman’s Worth,” Elaine Stedman wrote: “The American woman remains in crisis. The propaganda designed to incite restlessness, if not revolution, is continually being repackaged to appeal to her insecurities, sense of worthlessness, and covert or overt desire for power...” How prophetic of Elaine. This may seem like just another skirmish in the culture war, but I believe it is more. This issue is a major component of the war against Christian values in America.

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