Of Hilary Rosen, Ann Romney and The State of Women …

roeschke drei haus rot uv himmel röschke by roeschke
roeschke drei haus rot uv himmel röschke, a photo by roeschke on Flickr.

Reading Scott Pratt’s posts on his blog, The Writer’s Predicament, installments, if you will, of his journey on the road from writer with two thrillers published by Penguin Books to self-published author of three more, inspired me (see my post, Of Scott Pratt, The Writer’s Predicament and Hilary Rosen … )  to revisit my anger and hurt with comment about Anne Romney made by CNN contributor and Democratic Political consultant, Hilary Rosen.

What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying: ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’

“Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing – in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we – why do we worry about their future?”  —Hilary Rosen speaking on CNN


I encourage all eligible voters who support our incumbent President, Barack Obama, to cast their vote for him and likewise work vigorously to campaign for his re-election.

Likewise I urge those who favor and would like to see Mitt Romney as president of America to do the same.

This blog post does not focus on the politics of government and who we elect to governmental offices. 

The political candidate any individual votes for to fill a governmental office is none of my business.

That constitutes a personal decision.

As a mother of three girls I stand square in the middle of this debate, a war carried on largely by women, of whose working the hardest, women who hold down a job/career and as wives and/mothers also work inside the home versus those of us who work primarily inside the home as both wives and mothers.

I choose instead to pry open and examine to the interactions of women perpetrated upon other women that are hurtful and demoralizing at best.

Statements such as the spoken by Hilary Rose in the worst sense prove hypocritical. 

They also reek of the very essential condescension and patronizing disrespect towards women and for which she and other women have and continue to criticize men.

That Hilary Rosen speaks such words this implies, if not evidences, on a more basic level that the true status of women in light of the feminist movement and our quest for equal rights remains entangled in a mental warfare created by the very people who lift their voices urging equal pay for women and the ability to live as we please, a privilege they, at one time asserted accompanies the freedom to work outside the home.

As a wife of nearly three decades and a mother of 3 daughters, ages 13 yrs., 19 yrs. and 24 yrs.-old I was terribly hurt and appalled that Hilary Rosen, a mother of two children with partner, Elizabeth Birch, would make such a statement. Then I realized perhaps more lay beneath the surface.

Having carved a career in promotional relations (PR) and providing consultation of how individuals and business can improve their public image I registered even more shock at her poorly chosen words.

Professionals such as Hilary Rosen, to remain successful, choose their words very carefully lest those statements return to haunt them.

Her resume lists: (as detailed by wikipedia)
President, Chair and CEO of (RIAA) Recording Industry Association of America  (1998-2003)
Interim director of Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) organization Human Rights campaign of 2004
Founding Rosen Berman Global Strategies, a consulting firm (2006)
Launching the website, OurChart.com which subsequently merged with ShowTime.com (2007)
Consultant for the Brunswick Group, a London-based PR firm (2008)
Television commentator for CNBC, MSNBC, CNN (2008)
The Huffington Post (2008 election)
Consultant for British Petroleum during Deepwater Oil Spill (2010)
SKDKnickerbocker (2010-2012), (clients include Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, Barack Obama, Christine Quinn, Sandra Fluke)

Rosen offered apologies, one in which she explains that she had targeted her statement about Anne Romney to Presidential hopeful Mitt,  “ … [Mitt] Romney [who] on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is … ” has in Rosen’s terms, displayed a “ … poor record …” [regarding]  “… the plight of women’s financial struggles  …” Rosen adds, “ … As a partner in a firm full of women who work outside of the home as well as stay at home mothers, all with plenty of children, gender equality is not a talking point for me. It is an issue I live every day.” Hilary Rosen Apologizes for ‘Ann Romney’ statement @ Huffington Post

With this in mind I mulled over Rosen’s sliver of half-apologies, actually full-force defenses, and realized that her actions and statement form one more brick in a wall certain members if not actual factions of the feminist force are constructing in their battle to divide women and in so doing clear a path to push their agenda, a matter I will address later.

Specks of the point Hilary Rosen flailed in an effort to articulate flicker through her inappropriate statement.

But why attack a candidate’s wife when his policies, inconsistent with what he implies to believe, stand as your target.

Perhaps the answer to that lies in Rosen’s blog post, Anne Romney and Working Moms.

Rosen writes, “ … Now let’s be clear on one thing. I have no judgements about women who work outside the home vs. women who work in the home raising a family. I admire women who can stay home and raise their kids full-time. I even envy them sometimes. It is a wonderful luxury to have the choice. But let’s stipulate that it is NOT a choice that most women have in America today. ”

Choosing to remain home and work full-time as a wife and mother does not always constitute a luxury afforded by one’s husband.

The majority of women employed outside the home do not have the luxury of attaining partnership in a firm and therefore contribute to creating the cultural environment where they work.

Careful scrutiny of Hilary Rosen’s CV that offers the possibility that Rosen is more out of touch with working women than perhaps Anne Romney, mother of five sons, and wife to Mitt Romey.

Examined from a purely financial perspective, many women are spending money to work.

When considering the cost of daycare, gas, and car expenditures, clothes, lunch, snacks and let’s not forget taxes most mothers, be they single or married, would be hard pressed to demonstrate they garner a profit from the jobs they complete outside the home.

Like men, who struggle with these same issues seek employment from a company or corporation versus establishing self-employment  these women work for an employer for primary purpose of attaining and maintaining health insurance that covers them and their families.
As for the wives and mothers work full-time at home and whose husbands do not earn as much as Mitt Romney, and there are many of us, we make adjustments.

The decision to work as a full-time wife and mother brings with it clear and defined choices, decisions that women 75-100 years ago and reaching back into the last two centuries perpetually considered when making family decisions.

Working as a full-time wife and mother means that you must learn to live on one salary. You must have budget and you must live within that budget, something I think we all would like to see our US government do, the same government that, in Hilary Rosen’s own words, does not define the varied and multi-faceted tasks carried out daily by fulltime wives and mothers as  “ … real work …”

And so for whom is Hilary Rosen, a woman, and mother really speaking?

Do her words demonstrate care and concern about the economic struggles of mothers?

Or do her statements reveal a divisive bias she holds, one that draws a line between “ … women who work outside of the home as well as stay at home mothers … ” and those of us who work only by staying at home?

More thought to the message Rosen attempted to convey might have provoked her to consider the importance of making health insurance financially available and attainable to all adults and their families sits at the crux of the central concern of the economy that weighs heavily on the minds of all Americans.

Implying that only by working outside the home, and earning a check, every how small the wage for the enormous work done, does a woman endow her thoughts on the economy with substance proves as patriarchal and disrespectful and as the non-congruent aspect of Mitt Romney towards working women that Rosen touted herself as criticizing.

Rosen’s defenses echo Elisabeth Badinter assertions in her book The Conflict, that women and mothers who choose to work full-time at home and care for our husbands and children have entered what Badinter terms, “ …  voluntary servitude … [with] men …  not ha[ving] to lift a finger to accomplish this.”

As with the decision of abortion, I believe the choice to work inside the home, or out or to create some combination thereof lies solely in the hands and hearts of the woman who will do the work, and the agreement she reaches with the partner she has engaged in this task of journeying with her.

Statements like Hilary Rosen’s do less to harm GOP hopeful, Mitt Romney and reflect a distasteful cloud of condescension towards women and mothers that many, as we have seen, find revolting.

Having dismissed him, and other GOP contenders, throughout this last year, I found myself, after Rosen’s statement searching out the candidate on the Internet, and reviewing pictures of Romney with his wife, Anne, their five sons, their daughters-in-law and the Romney grandchildren.

The photographs conveyed warmth and endearment, expressing sentiments that both I, and my husband hold for our daughters and the son-in-laws we wish for our daughters as they discuss dating and future marriage.

The decision of how to construct and organize the operation of your family lies each individual.
Criticizing women and mothers who work primarily at home, and whom you admit to “… envy[ing] … ” leaves readers to wonder the true nature of your words.

I offer a thousand kudos to Michelle Obama for Tweeting a response to Hilary Rosen’s ill-sensitive statement, “Every mother works hard, and every women deserves to be respected.”

A Tweet from Anne Romney’s son, Josh, also proved touching. “… Ann Romney is one of the smartest, hardest working woman I know. Could have done anything with her life, chose to raise me.”

During an interview with Bruce Aune of KCRG-TV 9, President Obama lent a compelling response,  “ … raising a family is work. Anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement.”

To remind us how the First Lady has suffered under attacks meant to stabilize him and his administration, he added, and quite understandably, “ … I don’t have a lot of patience for commentary about the spouses of political candidates.”

All three exhibited what families do when under attack.

Rosen’s statement offended not simply women, but all who understand the true meaning of family; that we make decisions, speak our hearts’ desires, listen to and accord merit to those who speak not simply based on the amount of money they earn.

We instead make our decisions based upon the love that drives our commitment to do the right thing for us, what is good and best for those we love and who love us.

In an age where shock media reigns, Hilary Rosen spoke not on behalf of women, working outside, or in the home, but for none other than Hilary Rosen.

The swell of comments shot forth in the maelstrom of responses stirred by Rosen’s words have served only to increase visitors to her blog.

Her name, now a household word, she has solidified and raised her status on the Google search thereby elevating the ranking of her website.

For that Hilary Rosen deserves kudos as the shrewd business-person last week’s events evidence her to be.


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