A TIME article published today reported that Obama led Romney among women by 12 points in Florida and 10 points in North Carolina, important states for the electoral map.
And despite several prominent Republicans insisting that the "War on Women" is merely a media-created farce designed to distract us from the "real" issues of the budget and economy, the Republicans' woman problem is almost entirely of their own making.
See, I've taken several advanced media classes, and while they've taught us how to use some cool online writing tools, not once have I been shown how to hack into public figures' brains and force them to say insanely misogynistic things. Just in case you need a quick recap, here are some of the things supporting the idea that there is, indeed, a War on Women:
- Todd Akin's comments that "legitimate rape" cannot cause pregnancy
- Paul Ryan's flippant remark that he's always viewed rape as a "method of conception."
- Rick Santorum--one of the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination this year--said that women shouldn't be allowed on the front lines of war because of their "other types of emotions" and that women who find fulfillment in working outside of the home only do so because they've been brainwashed by radical feminists.
- The Issa Panel on the coverage of birth control was an all-male panel that refused to let women even speak on the topic.
- Which led to Rush Limbaugh proving his absolutely abysmal grasp of how birth control works as well as reaffirming his general horribleness by calling Sandra Fluke a slut for speaking out on how important birth control is to women's health.
- Not to mention that this party who insists, as Romney recently did in accusing Obama to stooping to the low of talking about women's issues, that there are "real" issues to deal with spent an awful lot of time in the past few years aggressively attacking women's health freedoms by doing everything from trying to force women to undergo invasive transvaginal ultrasounds for no medical reason and removing our access to birth control.
And this isn't all of it. Here's a timeline (in need of some updates for the most recent actions). All that to say that if the "War on Women" is something the media has a vested interest in maintaining, the Republican establishment seems equally invested in ensuring they have the material to use.
|From Fibonacci Blue|
So, the Republicans have a woman problem, and they were relying heavily on Ann Romney's RNC speech to start changing the tide.
She talked about women and problems. I'll give her that much. But if her speech was somehow supposed to convince me that the the Republicans are the answer to that problem, she failed.
Let's take a look at the speech.
She sets the stage by saying that she's not here to be divisive, she wants to talk about the one thing we can all agree on: love.
I want to talk about not what divides us, but what holds usOkay. That's good. We want to bring people together by talking about the one thing we all share: love. She says those things. She says love is "that one great thing that brings us our greatest joy" and then she immediately says this:
together as an American family. I want to talk to you tonight
about that one great thing that unites us, that one great thing
that brings us our greatest joy when times are good and the
deepest solace in our dark hours.
Tonight, I want to talk to you about love.
I want to talk to you about thatOh? So, this "one great thing that brings us our greatest joy" isn't really "what holds us together as an American family" unless that "American family" contains a mother. Fathers, sorry. You don't know this love. Women who aren't mothers, that's too bad. For someone who doesn't want to talk about what divides us, she certainly just cut a huge portion of the population out of this secret club of hers. Oh, and you know who else isn't a mother? Mitt Romney. Her husband and the man she's supposed to be convincing us should run the country, but apparently he can't know this amazing love, either.
love so deep, only a mother can fathom it. The love that we
have for our children and our children's children.
And then the speech takes a turn for the bizarre. As Amanda Marcotte explains, Ann Romney spends a lot of her speech repeating what is normally considered Feminism 101. And then she tells us to suck it up because it makes us stronger. Her speech goes on to include this:
Sometimes, I think that, late at night, if we were allAnd then:
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 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. . .
You 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 are the hope of America. There would not be an America
without you. Tonight, we salute you and sing your praises!
I am not sure if men really understand this, but I don'tNo, Ann. We don't want easy. But we do want equal. We don't have to just accept that we have to "do a little bit more" in order to "earn the respect [we] deserve at work." We know that working harder for equal pay is a reality, but we don't accept it as a foregone conclusion of how things will always be.
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. But the last few years
have been harder than they needed to be.
Basically, Ann Romney seems to recognize the gender inequities present throughout our society but instead of standing up against them, she thinks we should just accept our lot in life and smile through it.
Then she implies that this is somehow making us stronger than men. She's "not sure if men really understand this" reality for women because they don't have to go through these trials and tribulations.
So the only real question I have for Ann Romney is, if this is true, if men can't possibly understand the burdens of America because they don't have to go through the same trials that women do, if only mothers can "fathom" the important love that holds our country together, if that's the case, then why should we vote for your husband? Why aren't we voting for a woman?
But there's not a woman on the ticket (and there's no guarantee that I'd agree with her policies if there were). So I'll be voting for the man who seems to recognize these inequalities that she speaks about for what they are: antiquated thinking that takes us backwards in the march toward equality.