What Romney Really Thinks About Women

Some thoughts about Romney’s attitude toward women that I can’t fit onto Twitter:

Forget about the “binders of women” — deliciously ridiculous piece of syntax though it is. The real meat of that statement was in his assertion about hiring a woman and making sure she could leave by 5:00 PM to “make dinner for her family.”

This is what Mitt Romney, again and again, illustrates as his core ideation of women–as a homemaker first and foremost. For him, everything else in her life is secondary, a putative “hobby,” generously granted to her by society and/or a male partner.

Think about what he said later in the debate about how what women want most is “flexible schedules,” presumably so that their work doesn’t get in the way of their “real job.” Or how Ann Romney confided to Good Housekeeping how when she was diagnosed with MS and very ill, Mitt generously said, “it’s okay if you don’t cook every night. I’ll eat toast and cold cereal.”

His imagination does not encompass the idea of a man as a helpmeet, as someone equally responsible for the care of the home and the rearing of children. (Unmarried couples or same-sex couples don’t exist; and as we know, single moms just raise mass murderers, so…), let alone the idea of a woman who works because she must. Because she is the breadwinner for her family, or for her own personal fulfillment, or because–and get this–because she is so terrific at her job that she is indispensable to the wider world. Because we all benefit from her her talent and drive. Mitt Romney believes that women belong to their husbands and children. Not to the wider world. And certainly not to themselves.

Rachel Shukert is the author of  Have You No Shame? And Other Regrettable Stories. Her second book, Everything Is Going To Be Great, will be published by HarperPerennial in summer of 2010. ...read more

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