When a mother takes the national stage, the media is never fair.
There are the expected barbs at her parenting skills, her career, and that well worn question ‘how does she do it all?’ heard over and over again so the drum beat of sexism becomes more of a dull thump in the background noise of our lives.
I do not envy any woman running for office in this day and age. As we have seen time and time again the press asks questions of a woman they never seem to ask a man, and the question of what sort of mother she may be almost always comes into play.
As we hear more and more about Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and what she believes, I feel the need to offer a counter perspective. Taking a cue from Bachmann and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, conservative women seems to be raising their voices to promote their brand of ‘feminism.’
I love that they are speaking out in what I have always found to be a very patriarchial society. I love that they are running for office and bringing attention to the issues they care most about. So I am quick to point out that my issues with their campaigns have nothing to do with their sex, and everything to do with their stances. They use the word ‘feminism’ a lot-and taut their motherhood in order to push their agendas. Which is exactly why I think it’s important to note this is not my kind of feminism or motherhood.
It’s something I am, admittedly, not intimately familar with. Talk of being ‘submissive’ to husbands, protecting the unborn from ‘genocide’ and championing women like Phyllis Schlafly who actively worked to stop the Equal Rights Amendment. Yes, Bachmann and her fellow conservative feminists revere a woman who said ‘By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape.’ Yup, these new conservative feminists bow down to Schlafly who believes if marriage is to be a successful institution, it must…have an ultimate decision maker, and that is the husband, and she believes it is a women’s role to support men in their positions of higher authority through altruism and self-sacrifice.
These ideas are the direct opposite of feminism, unless of course the woman chooses to live this way and the rest of her female sisters may choose to live another.
No, this Bachmann, Coulter, Ingraham, Palin, Malkin feminism is certainly not my kind of feminism. And it is NOT the way I mother.
Why is that important? After all we all mother differently, right? It’s important because right now the Mom I see hogging the spotlight is promoting a dangerous and disgusting type of motherhood I want to make sure does not go main stream -and to show the media we’re not all like this.
As a mother, I will not be teaching my children there is something ‘wrong’ with being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or a transgendered person. Despite what you may see during the debates, being a good Mom does NOT include demonizing the LGBT community or supporting any measures that would force to change the sexuality of any person. I would also go so far as to say a good mother would be addressing the unusually high suicide rates of LGBT teens in her community.
As a parent, I would also be doing anything I could to protect my kids. While there are many different view points on vaccines, at the very least we can all agree that scientists and studies should be used when making your decision to vaccinate. What should not be used are scare tactics, misinformation, and rumors. As a mother I educate myself as best I can when it comes to decisions I have to make, and I certainly do not tell a national television audience lies that could cost lives. Shame on Bachmann for resorting to the gossip whispered at PTA meetings about the HPV vaccine instead of the facts.
Another job I have as a Mother is to show my children we are all created equal, regardless of skin color, religion, ethnicity, or gender. Recently Bachmann showed ignorance at best and racism at worst when she said immigration in America worked very well under the Asian Exclusion Act. Yet another example of a mother taking center stage and spouting racist rhetoric, while many of us watch from our living rooms screaming at the tv ‘NO NO NO SHE IS NOT LIKE US.’
These are just a few examples of just how different one ‘feminist’ mother is from the next, and how those of us who are not ‘conservative feminists’ disagree wholeheartedly with the policy and stance of the current crop of mothers talking politics.
So keep in mind as you see female after female take to the cable news shows calling themselves feminist pundits and politicians that these women do not speak for me. They do not speak for the women I know who call themselves feminists, truly fighting each day against the patriarchy (not submitting to it) and working hard for equality. An equality that includes more than one path for women and girls who wish to be anything they want to be, under terms they, themselves, set.
Because despite all the rhetoric you hear from these women on stage and tv claiming to be champions of all females, the absolute only thing we have in common is the name ‘Mom.’