April 12 2012
On Romney and Rosen
Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen might have tried to apologize for her comments about Ann Romney, but radical feminist groups have remained quiet.
Not one women’s group on the left — NOW, the Feminist Majority, National Women’s Law Center, American Association of University Women — made a peep about Rosen’s comments.
The reason: They don’t disagree. For radical feminist groups, the stay-at-home mom is a sign of failure. Certainly it’s a great thing when women can educate themselves and develop themselves as individuals, but feminists are obsessed with women working outside the home. (See Linda Hirshman’s book Get to Work … and Get a Life Before It’s too Late.)
When women like Ann Romney choose a more traditional route, it signals to women like Rosen that the feminist movement has seen only limited success. Stay-at-home moms have not only let down their feminist sisters, but also they are a reminder of the greatest threat to radical feminism today: the push for full parity in men’s and women’s choices.
For Rosen, women like Romney are not making the choices they’re “supposed to.” But the fact is not all women are going to choose to pursue the fast track to the C-suite. In fact, not all women are going to want to work at all. Some, like Romney, will find they enjoy (and perhaps can afford) being a wife and a mother more than having a career outside of the home. But that’s simply not an acceptable choice if you’re a feminist on the left.
As it turns out, discrimination is not the greatest threat to women today. It’s women like Romney making the “wrong” choices. The Obama campaign condemned Rosen’s comments; but they should do more than that. They should remind their female allies that feminism is about establishing equality under the law. Now that that battle’s been won, they need to accept that all women don’t want the same thing.