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Trainwreck: Where the Mommy Wars Went Off Track

Posted on November 17 2010 10:00 pm

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Recently, I wrote a post entitled, In Defense of Women:  Why the Mommy Wars are Counter-Productive, in which I audaciously asked that those who criticize women’s parenting decisions “back off” and that we “find a middle ground.”  I did not state my personal position in the Mommy Wars, just that it was counter-productive to wage those wars via female politicians.  I can’t understand why, if a woman has made responsible and personal parenting choices, they should be fodder for political pundits.

In my post, I wrote, “positions are entrenched, and there is no room for seeing another’s point of view.”  In two new In the Family Way NRB posts, my entreaty for understanding has been met with … entrenched positions.

I sense that the authors think that I, too, might be a “feminist”.  I feel like I must respond.

You bet your sweet ass I am.

Obviously, Ms. Venker and I have different definitions of the word feminist.  Ms. Venker describes it as “any person, male or female, liberal or conservative, whose knee-jerk reaction to the subject of women is that they live in a man’s world.”  My definition, which is commonly accepted, is a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of women.   Why would I accept anything less?

I am the daughter of a Ms. Magazine-subscribing, Status of Women card-holding feminist.  I understand that generation’s frustration, even if I disagree with the goals they set, and their methods .  While I do not support the leftist definition of feminism that demands compliance on abortion and legal enforcements of equality, I am still very much a feminist, in the most modern sense of the word.  Sure, I wear a bra, I stay home with my kids, and I’m pro-life.  I don’t answer to the leftist feminists, the media or any political establishment.  I don’t have to tick the Democratic box to preserve my “reproductive rights.”  I don’t need government programs, universal childcare or whatever other victim program they’re selling.  I make my own decisions, based on my own experiences, to make the best decisions for my family. If you don’t like them?  I’m okay with that; however, my life is not lived in the public fishbowl.

Sarah Palin’s life is, which to many, makes her a suitable and acceptable target.  Analyzing every word, every gesture, every outfit, her opponents search for hidden meanings and evidence of bad judgment.  This political posturing is designed to demean women and discredit them politically.  We are supposed to see female politicians strictly as women, not as political candidates.

Media attacks against women are not limited to conservative women.  Certainly, much of the media vitriol against Sarah Palin is due to her conservative values, but it also stems from her strong personality and refusal to go away.  In a Fox News interview with Geraldine Ferraro, the former VP candidate stated that nothing had changed since her run, using the treatment of herself, Palin, and Hillary Clinton as examples.  Both Ferraro (Democrat) and Palin (Republican) maintained that many of the attacks were based on their gender, rather than their policies.  Any woman who has worked in the political or business arenas understands that patriarchal attitudes do still exist.  To pretend they don’t is to ignore the realities of working in male-dominated fields.  Does it mean that women are oppressed?  Not at all.

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