“Stay Home, Woman!”

13 04 2012

So the supposed ‘War on Women’ rages on. Earlier this week a Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen, accused Ann Romney for having “never worked a day in her life” and thus was not equipped to advise Mitt Romney on current economic issues. It seems that it wasn’t as malicious as the media discussion makes it out to be (judge for yourself, here’s the video), but regardless of the force of the comment, it has triggered much discussion about the choices of women. It seems that both the Democrats and the Republicans acknowledge that the choice of the women to be a stay home mom needs to be respected. But in the midst of this cloud of political correctness, there was language thrown around about women having to sacrifice career for child rearing, and because such choice is respectable, Hilary Rosen’s comments were condemnable. Mika Brzezinski, the co-host of Morning Joe, made an interesting contribution to the discussion: that the choice to choose career over child rearing is, in a different perspective, a sacrifice, the sacrifice of a choice to have children. So what is the more respectable choice for a woman? To choose career or to choose to be a stay-home mother? Or maybe the more respectable choice is to try to juggle both? I don’t dare offer my opinion. I’ll defer to the opinions of Brzezinski and other nuanced female voices.

But there is one thing that needs pointing out. It is the interesting fact that underneath this discussion, no one really realizes what people are actually doing when weighing between career and motherhood. That is, the question of value is being overlooked. Not the value of choice, America is ultra-sensitive and attentive about that. But America never questions whether it is right that the value of the self comes from what we do, whether we do work or whether we do parenting. And I wonder, maybe that is at the heart of this discussion, maybe it is our inability to recognize one’s value apart from our ‘doing’ that we even get into these discussions. So then then how do we find our value apart from our doing, apart from our choices?


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