Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Joe Shmoe

I sometimes like to watch Morning Joe on MSNBC in the mornings. It's a political talk show and I like the fact that they are usually pretty good at arguing all sides of an issue (liberal and conservative). This morning they were talking about Sarah Palin and the controversy over whether it was appropriate for her to accept the Vice Presidential nomination given the fact that she has 5 children. The discussion went in directions you might expect, with much of the discussion centered on the question of whether the criticism of Palin's decision to be V.P. (given that she has 5 kids to take care of) is "sexist", given that we would never question a male candidate over such a thing.

Toward the end of their discussion a couple of the commentators began lamenting about how difficult it is in our culture for women to live a full life and to balance everything - with the competing demands work and children pulling them in different directions. This is where the discussion began to get under my skin, because they kept referring to these problems as women's problems. Women struggle with balance. Women struggle with career vs. children. Women feel pulled in different directions and it's so hard for women to do it all.

This discussion illustrated exactly what I wrote about in my last post - that woman is equated with mother. What they should have said is that it is difficult for mothers to live a full life and to balance everything - that mothers struggle with balance; that mothers struggle with career versus children. The underlying assumption in their discussion, of course, is that all women are mothers, therefore, all women have difficulties with balance and competing demands pulling them in multiple directions. The fact is, this is a problem for women who choose to be mothers, not for all women.

Most women (including myself) lead busy lives, but I can tell you that my life is not one of push/pull, of feeling torn between my career and my family, of juggling overwhelming and competing demands and feel guilty about undertaking endeavors outside the home. My family consists of my husband and my cats, neither of which are tethered to me like balls and chains and the former of which can easily care for himself and the latter in my absence without suffering long-term damage. I have no difficulties at all leading a fulfilling life and undertaking any endeavor I choose with ease and without guilt.

So Morning Joe, I implore you to stop lumping all women into the same category. Yes, we all have vaginas, but we do not all use them for pumping out balls and chains.


CFVixen said...

Fantastic post!

You are so right...women are equated with motherhood. You would think that in 2008, people would begin to see that this is a CHOICE!!!

Me said...

Although I've often lamented the assumption that all women CAN BE/ARE mothers, I've never actually acknowledged that logic taken one step farther is an assumption that what is a struggle for a mother therefore must be a struggle for all women. But you're 100% spot on!