A psychologist discusses the ideology behind the war on moms

I present some very provocative statements from a psychologist regarding the ideology behind Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney.

You can read the entire piece here.

Some key excerpts:

What Hilary Rosen has exposed is a psychological fault line that separates those women who simply oppose unfair gender-based barriers in education or employment or elsewhere from other women who actually despise and disrespect those females who choose to be full-time wives and mothers, instead of entering the workforce.

These “anti-gender” women have it in for anyone who embraces her femininity, maternal instincts and capacity to nurture as their highest priority — postponing or passing up other laudable opportunities to work at, say, a law firm or as a marketing executive. They despise the notion that some women may indeed be drawn — instinctively and happily — toward creating special and loving environments in which to raise their children, while spending all their available time sustaining and enriching those environments and those children.

They despise the parts of themselves that may be drawn to such roles, as well. That’s why women like Hilary Rosen make such outlandish statements, to begin with. They’re essentially talking to themselves — albeit, with the rest of the world forced to listen — trying to reassure themselves that their own choices in life weren’t only equally as good as those of other women, but better. Far, far better. They feel like their choices are better because they have thrown off the shackles of roles that were once “expected” of them, leaving them not only freer than, but superior to, those women who don’t feel enslaved at home, but feel fulfilled at home.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/04/12/nasty-comments-toward-ann-romney-cast-light-on-haters-who-cant-handle-feminine/#ixzz1s2ZEODeo

More key excerpts:

Hilary Rosen vilifying women who choose to be stay-at-home wives and mothers is particularly ironic, given that she has chosen an alternative lifestyle raising twins with a female partner, meaning no father-figure is present in her home. To enjoy the benefits of her alternative lifestyle while denigrating the lifestyle of Ann Romney shows that her seemingly infinite bandwidth for alternative lifestyles flows in one direction: only alternative.

I will tell you that I have treated both men and women in my practice who grieve the fact that they focused too little on their marriages and homes and children. A very large percentage of them — female and male — wouldn’t be going to work for very long if their spouses made millions as investors (as Mitt Romney has done).

See, psychologically, that only makes women like Hilary Rosen hate Ann Romney more. Not only does she seem to be enjoying herself, and not only do her children seem to be happy and successful — but she actually allowed her husband to go out and make the money to support all of them. And that’s letting a man be comfortable being a man, too. And, to Hilary Rosen, that’s a cultural crime and psychological assault.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

10 thoughts on “A psychologist discusses the ideology behind the war on moms

  1. Note: this is a controversial subject, but these opinions reflect the beliefs of many people. If you are feeling angry right now, probably best not to comment. Snarky or insulting comments will be deleted, so if this post bothers you it’s probably a good idea to go read something else.

  2. Interesting commentary, Geoff. I wonder if any academic journals have tackled this subject. Fox News seems a bit too partisan and biased for my tastes. That said, I happen to agree with much of what is written above.

  3. If one is feeling angry, it’s probably best not to comment any time in any situation. (wink, laugh, emoticons as necessary)

    The key to me is the statement “They’re essentially talking to themselves — albeit, with the rest of the world forced to listen — trying to reassure themselves that their own choices in life weren’t only equally as good as those of other women, but better. Far, far better.”

    You can’t find a more defensive group than women, and that isn’t all their fault. When you’re in a foxhole, there’s a psychology that is appropriate for that place. That they often fall to “friendly fire” or shots from their own gender, is a testament to a stupid war. We marginalize each other constantly, writing off what someone who is living life differently says because it is threatening to our own position. But that position is constantly under threat, so the defensiveness is understandable.

    Mad people should usually be quiet. They make the whole thing worse. The first thing I always have to do in negotiations is assure all parties that their interests will be protected. I love Barbara Bush’s comment: “Women who stay home are wonderful, women who go to work are wonderful. Whatever.”

  4. I think it’s interesting how easy it is to be a hypocrite in this world. Especially how someone like Rosen, who would be the first one to scream “foul” if her lifestyle were mentioned in any way but positive. Yet, they ‘about face’ if it suits their argument and commit the same verbal abuse they so oppose if the shoe were on the other foot.
    When things such as this are said, I just consider the source and move on. Their opinion is of no value to me.

  5. Bonnie, we have a long, long history of people commenting only to insult the person who made the post or insult another commenter. With some vigilance, we have been able to keep this blog more civil lately. There is no problem with disagreement — there is a problem with angry disagreement and insults.

    I think it is important to analyze why Hilary Rosen’s comments have had such resonance. If you listen to talk radio or look at Facebook comments, there is a lot of interest in the issue. Why? There are several reasons:

    1)Hilary Rosen never gave up. Her apology was hollow. She spent the rest of the week angry and defensive. It would have been so easy for her to apologize and move on, but she did not. She gave the “sorry if I offended you” apology and then kept on the attack.
    2)SAHMs already feel assaulted. Every ward I have been in has a group of stay at home moms and they feel like they are being attacked on all sides. Society has this perception that they “don’t work.” Their husband’s job might be tough, but he gets to leave the house and be with adults, go out to lunch, have adult conversations, while his wife deals with a long list of household problems.
    3)In my experience, stay at home moms worry that they may be giving up possible career opportunities that could provide independence. Yes, they made the choice to stay at home and yes they love their kids and their husband, but there is a litte voice saying, “how can you be truly independent if you rely on some man to provide the money?”

    All in all, it is a tough time for families, which I guess is exactly what Satan wants.

  6. Some women are very insecure. They feel guilty if they stay at home, they feel guilty if they work, they feel guilty if try to do both. They attack women who make different choices because to stave off their own insecurities and guilt.

    And the vociferous counter-attack against Hilary Rosen betrays just as much insecurity from the stay-at-home Moms who jump into the fray defending their lifestyle choices against the growing tide of their own guilt and discontent.

    Indeed the whole “war on Moms” is something we all jump into with great relish, having sharpened our swords and cut our teeth on years of militaristic rhetoric regarding the Left’s war on families.

    Why can’t we just be cool with our choices? We have free agency, one life to life. Make a choice, own it, enjoy it as best you can, and let others do the same.

  7. “a psychologist”

    OK.

    Heads up, people. Dr. Ablow is the same psychologist who claimed that Newt Gingrich’s three marriages made him more, not less qualified to be president.

    Be careful about what you read and believe.

  8. I agree with your points, GeoffB., but mine was that the landscape is so entirely electrified that everyone’s responses are defensive, and therefore a bit irrational. Here, from Ulrich: “The Boston Globe crossed that line when it described the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as “quintessential^ misogynist.” But when anxious church leaders denounce feminists they compound the distortion. Each group reduces the other to its own worst nightmare, and the war is on.” (Border Crossings, which I just happen to be rereading).

    Compounded distortions. That’s what we’re getting when we insist on defensive debate. I guarantee you that SAHMs aren’t the only women who feel under fire. We’re fighting the wrong enemy. (I could tongue-in-cheek say that that is men, but someone would be offended, taking me seriously. As you say, It’s Satan.) The natural derivative of that philosophical outlook is that someone has to be the first to put down weapons if we’re ever going to have peace.

    We really do have to live in peace someday in the future with all the people who’ve slandered us and whom we’ve defensively attacked. Even Hilary Rosen.

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