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Dispatches From The War On Women: Is ‘Mom’ A Political Identity?

Dispatches From The War On Women: Is ‘Mom’ A Political Identity?

Welcome to Dispatches, your round-up of the latest news from the frontlines of the War on Women. This week we’ll be focusing our coverage on the Democratic National Convention and the upcoming election. Have a story from your state or an idea on how to push back? Share them here and fight back against the War on Women.

During the Republican National Convention we heard a lot about how the GOP loves women and understands the value of the work of motherhood. Ann Romney devoted almost the entirety of her speech to the trials of motherhood.

Moms, Romney explained, are worn out. They worry about homework, elderly parents and keeping the household running, and that’s a lot of work. It was a speech built on the familiar Republican tactic of celebrating motherhood as proof the party isn’t trying to legislate against women’s interests. But in Ann Romney’s world, and in the vision of the world put forward by Republicans, parenting is a mother’s job, and a mother’s job first.

Contrast that vision with the picture painted by First Lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention. In a speech peppered with personal stories of early days in the Obama household, Michelle spoke of women and men struggling with the daily task of making ends meet. She highlighted the single mothers raising sons, her own father working through a multiple sclerosis diagnosis.

In the First Lady’s speech dads worry about homework as much as they worry about economics. They juggle the emotional and practical needs of the family in partnership with the mothers of their children.

It’s a startling and important difference and one that plays out in the policies of the parties. Engaging women isn’t about telling us how much you love moms. Engaging women is about promoting policies that support my family, policies like equal pay, domestic violence protections and affordable and accessible health care.

And this was the point that Michelle Obama understood so brilliantly in her convention speech. She was genuine in speaking of her concern for her daughter’s future and what it means to be the Mom-in-chief. She didn’t mention her time as dean at the University of Chicago, her successful career as a lawyer or any of her additional accomplishments, but all of those experiences were evident in her speech.

Motherhood is not something that is “separate” or distinct in Michelle Obama’s world, and it doesn’t stand separate and apart from her relationship with her husband. And so long as motherhood continues to be a political identity as well it’s important to pay attention to the images of motherhood the parties put forth.

Thanks for checking back and don’t forget to send in your stories, suggestions and comments. We’ll be back each weekday with the latest in the best and the worst from the War on Women. So long as the battle rages, we’ll cover the latest, so please check back!

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Photo from AN HONORABLE GERMAN via flickr.

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48 comments

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7:48AM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

The only casuality in the war on women occurred at Chappaquiddick in July 1969, and her name was Mary-Jo Kopechne. And she truly was a victim. After all, Teddy's political future had to be protected at all costs.

JHO

4:34AM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

"Ann Romney is the epitome of grace and class.. She raised 5 boys and that is a JOB--
Why is it impossible to believe they lived as poor newly weds..? Neither parents had money to lavish on the newlyweds and if they did-- they wanted them to build a future for themselves by hard work.. and they sure did... all you who are jealous of successful business men.." -- Jean

Really? George Romney didn't have money to lavish on the newlyweds?

I particularly loved the story told by the Romney Jr's about how they had to sell off some stock to shore up their finances while newly wed. Gee -- why didn't we all think of doing that during hard times?


7:08PM PDT on Sep 23, 2012

Thank you

2:31PM PDT on Sep 19, 2012

DO NOT RE-ELECT OBAMA!

4:02PM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

Thanks Jessica for the great assessment of Michelle's convention speech.

3:02PM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

We know Michelle Obama is more than just a MOM but she had to remind people out there you can be active outside the home and still be a MOM.
Some Moms are forced to work today and they are superheros.

8:22AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

HAH! Me, neithter,

9:16PM PDT on Sep 9, 2012

I actually was a stay at home mom for 15 years. It was hard and we made real sacrifices to do this. That being said, in these times it is sometimes ( or often times ) impossible. Ann Romney had help, and don't tell me she didn't. The Romneys have been wealthy and influential for quite some time. I also do not buy the ironing board story for a minute.

8:40AM PDT on Sep 9, 2012

Ann Romney is the epitome of grace and class.. She raised 5 boys and that is a JOB--
Why is it impossible to believe they lived as poor newly weds..? Neither parents had money to lavish on the newlyweds and if they did-- they wanted them to build a future for themselves by hard work.. and they sure did... all you who are jealous of successful business men..
Michelle said they were poor too... Do you believe that? I do.
I know where the Romneys got their money.. Where did the Obamas amass their fortune of $ 11 million dollars?/ Anyone asking? Anyone demeaning them because THEY are rich?
As for Michelle's speech.. who wrote it and how good she could read the teleprompter decides her praise. That's about it.... Good health to you, Ann, as your fight against cancer and M.S. continues.. You are one , well spoken, intelligent woman... TOO

12:19AM PDT on Sep 9, 2012

Sherrie B..."Republicans trotting Ann Romney out as an example of a "working mother" is just another demonstration of how out of touch they are with the majority of Americans."

++++++++++++++ EXACTLY!

Let me ask...did ANYONE believe her little fable of how they lived in this quaint apartment with an ironing board as their dining room table?

To give the woman credit....she couldn't even deliver the speech with a straight face!

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Colleen H. Colleen H. is an Online Campaigner with Care2 and a recent transplant to San Francisco from the East... more
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