It’s Always a Woman

I did not watch the debate last night. I forgot the debates were on a Tuesday and I made plans to see an improv show; a happy accident. I know who I’m voting for. Debates aren’t’ going to change that. And I’m tired of yelling, “Eat a dick!” at my television, the phrase that explodes from my mouth whenever I hear that privatizing healthcare would be better for seniors or that abortion is a States’ Rights issue. I’d rather save my profanity for important things, like missing the train or getting internet in my apartment.

But as I read about the debates, compulsively finger spelling “Eat a dick!” under my desk this morning, these words from Mitt Romney really stood out for me:

“Now, one of the reasons I was able to get so many good women to be part of that team was because of our recruiting effort. But number two, because I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce, that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school.

She said, I can’t be here until 7 or 8 o’clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o’clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids & being with them when they get home from school. So we said fine. Let’s have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.

We’re going to have to have employers in the new economy, in the economy I’m going to bring to play, that are going to be so anxious to get good workers that they’re going to be anxious to hire women.”

Let us forget that Bain Capital does not have nor has it ever had a female partner. Let us forget that Mitt Romney certainly has enough money that his family was not reliant on dual incomes. And let us please forget that Mitt Romney had a quarter century working in the private sector had to turn to women’s groups to find “binders of women” to peruse for his gubernatorial cabinet.

Let us forget those things and let me tell you a story. Imagine four Pandas in North Carolina; a Mom, a Dad, a whiny, temperamental baby and a slightly smaller, more even-tempered baby. That was us. My parents both worked full-time when I was growing up. My dad is a therapist and my mom worked in marketing until she recently retired. Until my freshman year of college, my mom worked in finance marketing. She had long hours. She travelled. My dad is in private practice. He had long hours. They were flexible.

My dad chose to arrange his hours so that he could be home afterschool with Pandito and I three days a week. He cooked. My dad went grocery shopping. He helped us bake and sell Girl Scout Cookies and finish science projects. My dad liked doing that stuff. My mom liked it too, but she did not have a job that afforded her that time. That was ok. Pandito and I turned out just fine (according to me). We love our parents and what’s more, we like and respect our parents.

Mitt Romney’s comments last night were offensive. Men are capable of being caregivers and homemakers. Women are capable of taking high powered jobs with long hours and shouldn’t shoulder all the domestic responsibility no matter what their position. This is 2012. These strict gender definitions are offensive and preposterous.

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