Ann Romney’s Gendered Martyrdom: Women and Children First?

by Sierra

Ann Romney cooking – you know, like she has to. Because she’s a lady.

Credit isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I’m not talking about your credit score or the plastic in your wallet. I’m talking about public accolades. I’m talking about the river of molten gold that comes out of the mouths of people like Ann Romney when describing (what used to be) “women’s work.”

Before I go any further, I want to promote an excellent article by Mark Greene at MegaSAHD that challenges the ugly view of masculinity and the outdated, Leave-it-to-Beaver family structure that Ann Romney took for granted in yesterday’s RNC speech. He’s absolutely right: men are capable of so much more than they appear in the Romney model, and they are everyday proving her wrong.

Here’s a snippet from her speech:

You (moms) are the ones that have to do a little bit more and you know what it is like to earn a little bit harder earn the respect you deserve at work and then you come home to help with the book report just because it has to be done. You know what those late-night phone calls with an elderly parent are like, and those long weekend drives just to see how they’re doing.

You know the fastest route to the local emergency room and which doctors actually answers the phone call when you call at night, and by the way, I know all about that.

You know what it is like to sit in that graduation ceremony and wonder how it was that so many long days turned into years that went by so quickly.  You are the best of America…You are the hope of America.  There would not be an America without you.  Tonight, we salute you and sing your praises!

The gist of her speech is that women make America by making babies and looking after those babies while the useless baby daddies are busy at the office doing nothing of particular value. Convoluted? Yes. Stereotypical? Horribly. Revealing? I think so.

In my fundamentalist church and my extended family (Italian Catholic), there was an implicit matriarchy that undergirded the patriarchal exterior. Women were the ones sustaining the family network (in the first example) and the church network (in the second). Despite the fact that they relied exclusively on their husbands for financial support, they were the ones who made the social rounds that connected them to family, friends, neighbors, teachers, babysitters, local business owners, etc. In Christian patriarchy, substitute homeschool conventions and Bible studies and large Christian conferences for the teachers and (gasp!) babysitters. This is not news to anybody; if I had a nickel for every time somebody told me women have “the real power” because they have more responsibilities, I’d be able to support the whole extended family myself.

There is a difference, however, between responsibility or necessity and real power. Anyone who’s worked as a graduate student or middle manager or child care supervisor knows what it feels like to have all the responsibility and none of the decision-making autonomy. A multiplicity of small choices (what to cook for dinner, where to go on vacation, what to do about the car repair bill) does not add up to the same amount of power inherent in a few large choices (where to live, how many hours to work, what salary to accept, how many children to have). Thus, while the women of Christian patriarchy will joke amongst themselves about the helplessness of their husbands and how they are really the ones who keep it all together, it’s a joke that casts a shiny veneer over the uglier truth: that they are staff in their own households, and that if they stopped keeping it all together they would be replaceable.

But the joke isn’t just a source of levity: it’s a bargaining chip.

“I will do all this,” Ann Romney’s hypothetical American Mother says, “as long as you acknowledge me. I want due credit and thanks, publicly.”

Worst. Bargain. Ever.


In other words, this mythical American Mother has fallen for the chivalric myth of “women and children first”. As Libby Anne points out, not only was “women and children first” a policy that had little life outside of the sinking of the Titanic, and even then was enforced at gunpoint rather than by a natural nobility on the part of the good, historical, chivalrous male passengers that Doug Phillips, Vision Forum and the rest of the Christian patriarchy universe like to imagine. Libby writes:

The “women and children first” myth was created in order to argue that men naturally protect women and women therefore don’t need political, economic, or social equality.

When I was a teen, I was fed the “women and children first” line along with “you don’t have to sign up for the draft!” as reasons not to demand equality with men. I was constantly assured that I was equal in the “big picture,” or in “God’s eyes,” or that Adam and Eve were equal before the fall and thus our souls were equal after redemption but we live in a fallen world so… yeah. It was convoluted. It was pretty darn unsatisfying, too. What good is being metaphysically equal when you have to live your life in servitude? When you can’t govern your own life in any meaningful way?

Nobody knew what to do with me when I said, “I’d rather register for the draft! I’d rather not survive an ocean liner wreck in perfect safety and watch my beloved male friends and family die! I’d rather take my chances andbe an equal than live in a life where the only rewards I can expect for my work are public accolades and superior odds in a natural disaster.”

If you took out an insurance policy for things that still are on record as “acts of God,” like lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions and meteoric impacts, and you paid into that insurance policy 80% of your wages for your entire life, living in the same cramped apartment and eating the same rice and beans every day and working long hours for the same exacting boss, would you actually sleep better at night? Ann Romney wants women to bargain away their whole lives (doing things they “have to” because their vaginas apparently help drive to the emergency room) in exchange for hollow words about how women are the backbone of America. Vision Forum and the rest of the Christian patriarchy crowd wants women to bargain away their bodily autonomy, their careers, their health, their choices, their educations, their property and their dreams for the promise of some abstract “special” reward in heaven and husbands who would supposedly jump in front of angry tigers for them in case that situation just happened to arise.

I’d rather not buy that insurance policy, and live a life with choices, and take the risk of an electric asteroid full of tigers landing on me in the middle of a volcanic eruption in New Jersey. Or getting hit by a toilet seat from space. Life is risky. It’s risky even if you do bargain away your rights.

Shove over, Rose, you murderous narcissist. That plank is big enough for three of you!

And now, my last point:

Ann Romney’s speech, put together with the “women and children first” myth, reveals a particular gender discrepancy in public proclamations of martyrdom. As with household decisions, some martyrdoms are bigger than others. Men are expected to be the martyrs who throw themselves in front of raging tigers or brakeless buses. Men are expected to “go down with the ship.” Men are publicly celebrated when they lay down their lives for women, but women who save their partners or others are not afforded the same respect. They just aren’t part of a narrative that serves a political agenda.

This is bordering on some really complex subjects: first of all, reporting bias. News media are in the business of snappy stories that fit predetermined niches: “Women dies saving baby” is almost all you get when you search for news related to women laying down their lives for others. Is that because women only sacrifice for their children, or because the media finds those stories most meaningful? Women dying for their children, men dying for their wives: these are both narratives that reinforce a social hierarchy. The one in power is supposed to give up power to save the weaker person. Second, are men and women  more likely to act that way because of social conditioning? Little girls grow up with princess stories still, which mostly involve being locked up or kidnapped or ransomed and waiting for rescue. Little boys grow up with stories of “tough” men making the ultimate sacrifice: masculinity is determined by a kind of martial valor that involves risking death. Third, there’s the shame factor: it’s socially acceptable for women to survive when their partners die for them, but a man in a similar position faces scorn.

But that would be another six blog posts.

In patriarchy – Christian or otherwise – women are expected to be daily martyrs, to give up little pieces of their lives and their freedom over their lifetimes. Men, on the other hand, are allowed to keep their liberties in exchange for the vague risk that someday they might need to die (with great honor) to save someone else. That’s a problem for many reasons, but here are two for now:

1. It reserves that kind of honor for men, meaning that women cannot achieve the same heroism.

2. It’s a raw deal to give up your whole life in the hope that, in a crisis, someone will allow you to go on living that servile life a little longer.

Oh, and it makes men look pretty bad, too. Here’s Mark Greene again on that subject, just in case you missed it!

Comments open below

Read everything by Sierra!

Sierra is a PhD student living in the Midwest. She was raised in a “Message of the Hour” congregation that followed the ministry of William Branham. She left the Message in 2006 and is the author of the blog  the phoenix and the olive branch

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  • Amie

    Excellent piece, Sierra. But you forgot to address one major point of her speech, its very core, in fact: women are not the backbone of America, MOTHERS are. Those of us without children seem to not even exist in Ann Romney’s worldview.

  • Carolyn the Red

    Good post. I really think it’s insulting to everyone, including mothers who take their role seriously, to claim that the hand the rocks the cradle rules the world. My 95 year old grandmother also calls bullshit – she wishes she’d been able to drive her own life, and rejects the idea that she’s to praise or blame for the choices of her descendants. She joined the ladies’ auxiliary of the Royal Canadian Air Force in the second world war, and went where she was told. It’s not much of a secret that some of the “female” jobs were dangerous, only they weren’t “direct combat”, so live or die, they didn’t get the same credit as men. Both she and my grandfather ended up in safer positions, not by choice (after the fact both were grateful, but neither requested them), but she didn’t get the same “veteran” benefits he did, for education, for example.

    Me, I’d prefer not to sacrifice my agency for a non-extant chance to be saved first in an emergency (and would prefer not to have Edwardian anti-suffragist propaganda believed as truth. I like the “Votes for women, boats for men” response). Hell, I joined the army reserves when I was 17, because I would rather be the hero than the victim, and I’d rather fight, metaphorically or physically, for others, than let others fight for me.

    I am going to buy my daughter this book, “The Paper Bag Princess” The princess saves the prince, and when he objects to her “unladylike” attire, she dumps him. It’s not enough to counter all the gender narratives, but I live in hope that it’s a start.

  • Nancy B

    That’s fine for you, Ann Romney, as it is part of your religious beliefs. But it isn’t in the Constitution, so it means nothing to this American . Life is scary and uncertain, and both sexes need to know how to survive no matter the situation. I wasn’t born with a husband so why count on him to be my compass and guide and protector? I did fine for the first 20some years of my life. The only time he can “lead” me is if he remembers where we parked the car and I don’t. My mother’s life was servitude and martyrdom. But she was born before a plethora of rights. To choose that life in 2012? Unbelievable.

  • Nancy B

    BTW I read a first hand account of a woman who was trying to make her way of a damaged elevator of he World Trade Center during 9/11. A man in the car with her shoved her outof the way to wedge himself in the opening.His only words to her was,”F*** that women and children first s***!”

    (A LOT of life is like a damaged elevator. Figure out how you’ll take care of it before hand.)

  • Leslie Howard-Redweik

    Well, I see there is a lot of dislike going on here. Some of it valid no doubt. However, I’m sad that no one seems to know the other side of marriage. The man’s side. He is most assuredly called to jump in front of that tiger, but sometimes those tigers are metaphorical. He isn’t to lay only his bodily life down for her, but his daily life! He may need to make a final decision (after all someone has to at some point) but his heart should be totally for her well being. You say “yeah right”. Well then don’t marry that man! He is to seek and do what is best for her and the family, and not himself! And she certainly can kindly call him on it if his heart isn’t in the right place. Some methods work better than others. Men tend to respond to a very respectful attitude better than a demanding one (I stink at this so don’t think I’m a doormat! lol Nor do I want to be one either!) Mutual submission as actually called for in the Bible looks not much like what you intrepret above – thank God!
    ps. I do somewhat like some of the Vision Forum etc… ideas but take the good from it and leave the rest, just like any other resource that may have some value. Frankly men nowadays seem to be rather too passive for most women honestly. Few take the reigns and beat anyone with them that I know honestly, if anything they are a little too slow to pick up and lead and women are irritated they don’t like real men. Just my personal observations in my life.

  • Andie

    Eh, it’s all just butt kissing from someone who wants something from us (our votes.)

    I find this mommy-martyrdom mindset tiresome to listen to. This thinking is super seductive, we all think we’re pulling more than our fair share in the household, but any woman with sense ought to avoid falling into it. If it’s actually the case that she’s doing the heavy lifting, she ought to take steps to even things out, starting with opening her mouth and talking to her spouse and family. Otherwise, it’s all a lot of self-aggrandizing whining, which people tune out real quick. Only the church appreciates martyrs.

    Also I don’t appreciate people taking swipes at my man. The only way he couldn’t find the emergency room would be if he’d suffered massive head trauma, and I’m truly sorry for Mrs. Romney if her guy is secretly some kind of moron (which I doubt, leaving the possibility that he just doesn’t care to know a useful, lifesaving, tidbit like that.)

  • Laura

    I never had to take my kid to the emergency room – we skipped that somehow – but other than that, Ann Romney pretty much described my life while my kid was in the home.

    There are people who, when Michelle Obama opens her mouth, get ready to scoff and scorn before they even know what she’s going to say. And when she does, they have all their baggage ready to hang on her words, when if it was somebody on their side saying the exact same thing, they’d be agreeing with her. I guess each side has its biases.

  • lucrezaborgia

    Except your life isn’t applicable to all life. Also, why does the final decision have to be the man’s job? Why can’t it be a woman’s? You say that women need to be respectful and kindly. Don’t men too? Mutual submission is merely complimentarianism with women still on the lower rung. The church is subordinate to Christ, not equal.

  • lucrezaborgia

    So your husband is an idiot who can’t handle any of your duties?

  • Carol

    I just have to say that your blurb of that awful Titanic movie sums up everything I’ve always despised about it, so thank you for that.

  • Carol

    Really? Your husband responds better to a respectful tone? That’s funny, so do I. So do my kids, that’s why I always speak respectfully to them, and they’ve earned it. So has my husband, He doesn’t just demand it, he earns it every day.

  • stairway to heaven

    I took care of my late wife for two years through the last stages of ALS, was also the primary care giver for my 92 year old mother, all while also caring for 3 children ages 10-13 and running a business. Ann Romney is an idiot.

  • Laura

    You are demonstrating exactly what I’m talking about.

  • Saraquill

    What is it you are talking about? Your original comment is rather vague

  • Laura

    Reading, and hearing, what’s not there so that you can continue in the contempt you already had. It’s tribalism at its finest. The other guy HAS to be wrong or else how can I be right? And if he’s wrong then he’s wrong every time he opens his mouth.

    Here is the transcript of Ann Romney’s speech:

    Find where she said husbands are idiots. Find where I did.

  • Minnie

    You are so sweet;)

  • Carolyn the Red

    Funny, if my husband and I disagree, he doesn’t have to make the decision, and I would be upset if he did. Hell, I’d be divorced if he did, rather than celebrating a decade of marriage. If it’s an emergency, things may be more abrupt, but generally, we talk some more. We look for a compromise. We may seek another opinion. We make a tentative decision and plan to revisit it. We step back and think about how it fits into our goals, both individual and family.

    Neither of us is a supporting character in the other’s drama. We’re a family. We’re not just a husband and a wife, we’re both people, more alike than different.

  • I’ve always hated that movie as well. The subcontext on the roles of women always bothered me plus I could never understand why they couldn’t just try to have both Rose and Jack on that floating piece of jetsam.

    Mrs. Romney’s speech was about what I expected, unlike Clint Eastwoord’s, which I’m still puzzling over.

  • Leslie, I just have one question. How is “he makes the final decisions, though he is supposed to make them in her best interests” mutual submission? The definition of “mutual” is that each is acting reciprocally to the the other– not one acting unilaterally to make the final decision, every time one is needed, while the other gives in, every time. No matter how much his final decision is supposed to be in her best interests, the fact remains that he is always the final decision maker and she is always the one giving in. How is that mutuality?
    The Bible doesn’t actually say anywhere that the man always gets to make the final decision. That is an interpretation of a particular scripture in Eph. 5. It is only one interpretation– and it is my belief that it is an incorrect interpretation– because it contradicts the meaning of “submit to one another,” which is mutual submission. “To one another” does not mean “one always to the other.” No amount of gymnastics can make it mean that.

  • KarenH.

    I think Benjamin Franklin said it best, (tho I’m paraphrasing): “He who would give up essential liberty for safety deserves neither liberty nor safety.”

    If God cannot approve of any marriage of mine where I am an equal partner, then Paul, too, was right; it is best not to marry.

  • Carol

    “Reading, and hearing, what’s not there so that you can continue in the contempt you already had. It’s tribalism at its finest. The other guy HAS to be wrong or else how can I be right? And if he’s wrong then he’s wrong every time he opens his mouth.”

    You’re right, Anne never did say men were idiots, She wasn’t insulting men, or single, child free women, she was just insulting, period. It was the worst kind of lip service to mothers doing thankless chores that pretty much everyone does. Meanwhile, every single policy her husband espouses is harmful to families, to their health and to their pocketbooks. Every time they loosen regulations, that means tainted food, tainted water, diminished air quality. Too much money is already spent on asthma, and hospitalizations for children, and children die from salmonella poisoning. How much money is poured into battling all the wildfires this year, how many lives have been destroyed by the droughts? These people do not care for a second about your bottom line, oh maybe the shiny geegaws at Walmart are cheaper, but do you realize how Walmart is hoovering up your tax dollars because they refuse to pay their employees a living wage? Think Anne cares about that?

    If Anne had said something like she was against the personhood bill that Ryan is pushing because of her own experiences with miscarriage, then I would have respect for her. But she is incapable of relating her own personal experiences to anyone else but her. So, how many people would she like to see suffer because they’ve had miscarriages? How many families will be torn apart? How many women will go to prison? Bottom line, how much will this cost and how many pregnant women and their husbands and families will live in fear? Fear Anne has never had to confront? Anne is a coward. Here is a woman who cannot discuss her one interest, dressage horses because it will make her seem like she’s from another planet, and she has absolutely no positions on anything else, she has never and will never stand for anything.

  • Nancy B

    Leslie Howard-Redweik much of the traditional marriage must rely on denial. And trust me, NO woman, especially Christian women, can EVER be told that their marriage may not last. That the Godly, wonderful man to whom she yoked herself with may one day walk away. Even the most stalwart, righteous man may also become incapacitated, die, develop a mental illness. If a young woman cannot be convinced NOT to marry young, follow in lockstep with her husband and eschew birth control she may be stepping off of a cliff and not actually fall for a year, or two years, or twenty.

    IF it is the be all and end all to live the life of housewifery and servitude (and maybe God sanctions that so much all of us family-planning, free thinking, career women might get cast into Hell right on top of Alice B Toklas) why not prepare for life’s inevitabilitries first? Have the education. Have the life skills. Have the confidence to trust your own heart and mind and feelings.

    I get told I’m angry and judgmental by fundamental Christian women and that I’m not “trusting God.” Well, women, it IS the car metaphor. I say a prayer before I head out on the highway, but if I do 90 miles an hour into a concrete abutment a flock of angels most assuredly is not going to hoist up my car on their shoulders and set it gently in the median.

    Likewise, I can marry believing that my husband will never change his religious views or temperment, get sick, die, become unemployable, get outed as a less than savory chap, or run after his 21 year old secretary. BUT if I’m bringing vulnerable life into the world (and I did) I’m going to by golly KNOW I can feed, clothe and educate that child, on my own, come hell or high water.

    Faith? Yes. But understand my husband and I are fallible people in a fallible world. And I would rather God be working on the 40,000 children who die EVERY DAY in the world from hunger and disease than answering my prayer that my food stamps not run out until I can get formula for baby # 9 because my husband has gotten laid off once again.

    Ann Romney CHOSE her life. And because her husband is wealthy it was an easy choice. But a politician has the job to try to make choices easier for all citizens. And to some women that means employment for her, employment for her husband, or decent minimum wages so their kids can work their way through college. It may mean safer streets or cleaner water or less threat of nuclear annihilation. Our government can do a lot that enables/urges us to get that brass ring.

    The tone of our marriages and what we do with our reproductive organs, though, are the most personal choices we can make. A “small government” can start by butting out of both.

  • Ali

    In fairness to Ann Romney, she’s just saying what she thinks voters want to hear. The reason I stumbled on this and on other blogs about what she said is because I did a google search looking for other unhappy stay home moms. Most of what I found was about Ann Romney getting bashed for what she said. I don’t want to do that, but I agree with the critisisms because staying home was never a choice for me.

    I couldn’t afford daycare and I don’t have any recognised qualifications in this country so it made sense to stay home. I have been out of work for so long that I don’t have any recent work experience or any references to get me a job. I’m even more unemployable than I used to be. It’s only a real choice if you have a good job or a wealthy husband and I didn’t have either. I wouldn’t reccomend staying home if your not married to a wealthy husband. For me being a wife and mother has meant a life strugging to pay the bills and never having enough of anything including healthcare. I can’t call myself a good mother because I can’t give my son everything he deservs like a college fund.

    Perhaps people who have large wealthy families think the reason I don’t have enough is because I only have one child and that if I had trusted God more I would have more. If I tithed more and prayed more I would have more.

    I do trust God, I am a Christian and I’m thankful for what I do have, but I still wouldn’t reccomend staying home to any Christian woman. I’m from the old country (a much longer standing Christian country than the US) where the idea of a man being the sole provider and a woman being the sole caregiver has never really existed. Traditionally it takes a village to raise a child and I think this whole concept of nuclear family and staying home as a career choice is more of an American thing thats been taken on by the American church and turned into a Christian thing.

  • Carol

    “I can’t call myself a good mother because I can’t give my son everything he deservs like a college fund.”

    This pains me to read this. We live in a society here in the US that sets impossibly high expectations, then berate people when they can’t meet them. How can people possibly pay for everything that they’re expected to on one salary or 2 or 3 even, it’s impossible. Raise children, pay for healthcare, send them to college, save for retirement, it’s a game that’s set up for you to lose.

    Miss Ali, you ARE a good mom, and who knows, college isn’t always an answer anymore and I can tell you, you just never know what gifts you’re giving your child.

  • Heather Munn

    I second what Carol said.

  • Jess

    Hi, longtime lurker, first time commenter.

    I want to say upfront that I stumbled across this site via an article that was reposted elsewhere. I am not religious, but I am very interested in religion, and have previously read extensively on FLDS and a little on Quiverfull via to finding this site. I’ve been consuming these articles rather voraciously, and find it disturbing that the level of abuse described here can be found in North America (I am Canadian).

    But I digress. I thought it might be useful to shed another point of view on the “stay at home” debate. The author here is largely viewing it through the lens of patriarchy, where the husband is the master, and the wife, as she put it, is an indentured servant. I wanted to point out three alternate ideas here.

    The first, is that men, by and large, do not have loads more choices than their wives do. I did a little gender history in uni, particularly during the Cold War “nuclear family” era. It is well-known that many housewives felt that they were in gilded cages at the time, and rigid social roles kept far too many women from achieving their potential and happiness. What is less studied is how men were also trapped. Story after story of men who married young (almost as young as the women after all), had a brood of kids right away, then felt compelled to work in jobs they hated in order to “support the family.” One recent movie that addresses these issues very well was “Revolutionary Road” with Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Both parties feel equally trapped in their respective roles, and social pressues to conform ultimately tears them apart. I obviously don’t refer to all men here, but then again, not every housewife was miserable either, right?

    Another idea I wanted to explore was the “choice” that the author describes men as having in terms of “where to live, how much money to make, etc.” I was surprised to read this, as wasn’t this same author the one who recently wrote about how difficult things are financially for our generation? Very, very few people can truly choose the things she describes here. People are less “choosing” where to live as going where the jobs are, and being paid what the employers are willing to pay. At this point, niether I nor my partner can be said to really “choose” our jobs (I am actively trying to leave mine, with no success so far). We’re working for the only people who were willing to hire either one of us after months of job searching.

    Finally, again on the idea of choice, are all SAHMs so for lack of options? I can picture myself giving up my full time work and just focusing on home and social life. I feel it would actually be BETTER for us. RIght now, bf and I both come home exhausted every night, only to be confronted by the sink full of dishes, the dog needing to go out, the garbage overflowing, the laundry that hasn’t been done, etc. It feels like we just go from job-work to housework. And we don’t even have kids. It strikes me more as a division of labour than anything else. My bf could work, and I could stay home. He would be home for dinner, the house would be clean, we could relax for the evening and “clock out” at the same time. Yes, I do know women who chose this lifestyle and were screwed when husbands left or died. But as the author says, life is risk, right? And again to counter the “choice” idea, I know of one married couple where the husband was offered a well-paying position abroad, but he turned it down because his (SAHM) wife didn’t want to move so far away.

    I just want to remind everyone that feminism was about CHOICE. I don’t like the idea that we’ve gone from condemning them for working, to condeming them for staying home.

  • Nancy B

    “I just want to remind everyone that feminism was about CHOICE. I don’t like the idea that we’ve gone from condemning them for working, to condeming them for staying home.”

    The issue isn’t whether a woman WANTS to stay home; the issue is whether a)she can AFFORD to stay home and b)whether she stays home knowing that she has the skills/education if she so chooses to rejoin the workforce, or has to. The quiverfull rules negate both.

  • Ali

    Thank you for your kind words. I think parents often find themselves in a no win situation, but there are always high profile people who seem to tick all the boxes. From now on I’m going to remind myself that most of these are in the one percent and worry less.

  • Ali

    Thank you.

  • Minnie

    What republicans think of women and little girls.
    ~~ The GOP has refused to renew the Violence Against Women Act.
    ~~ Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST The Equal Pay for Women Act.
    ~~ Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST Al Franken’s Anti-Rape Amendment.
    ~~ Every GOP member voted FOR Anti-Safe Abortion Legislation.
    ~~ Every GOP member voted FOR the Blunt/Rubio Anti-Women’s Equal Health Coverage Amendment. While the Blunt/Rubio Amendment does not allow employers to deny male employees health coverage for a Vasectomy, the Blunt/Rubio Amendment allows an employer to deny female employees & female dependents: contraception, tubal ligations, and hysterectomies.
    ~~ GOP wants to Redefine Rape to “forceable” rape.
    ~~ GOP wrote legislation to probe metal prongs up a woman’s vagina.
    ~~ GOP changed the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser”.
    ~~ GOP wrote legislation that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (South Dakota GOP)
    ~~ GOP wrote legislation to cut nearly a billion dollars of aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.
    ~~ GOP wrote legislation that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.
    ~~ GOP wrote a law cutting ALL funding for low-income kids saying “Women should really be home with the kids, not out working (Maryland).
    ~~ GOP Cut Funding for Head Start, by $1 Billion.
    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to CUT funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens. (Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women)
    ~~ GOP Candidates for President vow and pledge to Cut Funding for Planned Parenthood.
    ~~ GOP voted for an Amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers.
    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to eliminate all funds for Federal Family Planning Program.
    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to Provide Contraception for wild horses but ENDS all Federal Funding for Family Planning, including contraception coverage. (Dan Burton (R-Indiana).
    ~~ GOP has also written “Personhood” laws that force women and girls to bear their rapist’s progeny.
    ~~ GOP has passed laws that allow doctors to lie to a woman about the health of the fetus if the doctor thinks she might have an abortion.
    ~~ GOP Jan Brewer (R- AZ) recently signed one of the most controversial and restrictive abortion bans in the country, which experts say effectively bans abortions after 18 weeks and declares that a woman could be pregnant 2 weeks before she even had sex.

    I did not make this list, I got it from a woman’s post named Sandy off of raw story.

  • Carol

    Yeah, thanks for your condescending post, but no one’s condemning stay at home moms. You want to hear condemnation of working moms, just tune in to Dr. Laura Schlessinger or that idiot holier than thou blowhard Sean Hannity, they have plenty of condemnation. Their argument is that if there isn’t one parent at home all the time every single day that you shouldn’t have children and if that’s your situation, where both parents are working, you’re terrible parents.

    Republican candidates and their stepford wives are characters right out of Handmaid’s Tale with Mrs. Romney appearing as one in a long line of Serena Joys, tear-filled eyes gazed heavenward, telling women to stay at home, constructing a prison to put women in “for their own good”. Just wait until it’s her turn to move in.

  • Carol

    Exactly! Well said!! Good!!!

  • Laura

    This used to be a blog about people suffering under patriarchy. It’s now become a blog for lying about Republicans.

  • suzannecalulu

    The only reason that we’ve started to mention anything political is because the political landscape has suddenly started to try and control reproductive rights. The very question of forced pregnancies is a foundational issue with most of the ladies here and to not mention what’s happening with the extreme religious right and reproductive rights would be disingenuous.

  • Laura

    Suzanne, then maybe we could stick to the facts.

    “Ann Romney cooking – you know, like she has to. Because she’s a lady.”

    What has that got to do with forced pregnancies? Women aren’t allowed to cook now?

    And is the entire pro-life community now being conflated with “forced pregnancy? Because if so, then the pro-choice community could be conflated with “people who want to murder babies”. If you want to rant, fine. If you want to put forth ideas with substance, I think you could do better.

  • Carol

    ‘And is the entire pro-life community now being conflated with “forced pregnancy? Because if so, then the pro-choice community could be conflated with “people who want to murder babies”.’

    You’re free to dispute the facts yourself, instead of acting all put out and huffy. Pro choice people have been called murderers for years, so it’s really tough to cough up any sympathy if you’re all offended.

    The personhood bills that Ryan & Co. are trying to pass, the control over women’s health, the restrictions, none of these things apply to people like Anne. The republican party has done nothing but pass bills restricting women’s health and they appeal to Evangelical voters. Personhood bills that Ryan wanted to pass would put any woman who has had a miscarriage at risk for an investigation or prison. Anne told a story on TV about a miscarriage she had, did anyone try to blame her for her miscarriage? Yet, women are now in prison, NOW in 2012 for having miscarried. But they aren’t rich like Anne, so they deserve it.

    Pro life people are always getting abortions, because THEIR abortion is ALWAYS moral. So-called pro life politicians are always taking their mistresses and daughters for very discreet “D&Cs” because abortion is always moral for the wealthy and well connected. However, for everyone else beneath THEIR station in life, having babies is a “consequence” of your behavior, so unless you’re rich or the minister’s 15 year old daughter, your pregnancy isn’t held up as a glorious gift from God, but your sign of shame.

    Anne is doing a phony act as the dutiful housewife, even airing the most personal details of her life on TV on behalf of her husband. She is completely clueless about women and what women go through, and the fights that they have to re-fight. Believe me, she never gave it a single thought before, thus the “You people just want more” attitude. We are “the help” and they are “our betters”. They know what’s best for us and why aren’t we more appreciative of the fact that they are willing to rule over us.

    Her husband Willard and Lyin’ Ryan are all about imposing punishments on everyone else, while they are spared any kind of scrutiny because for some reason they appeal to people who exalt those above them financially and scorn people beneath them. There is a blatant double standard and hypocrisy, but I think it’s all part of this kind of culture.

    That is why it matters.

  • Laura

    Yeah, like Sarah took Bristol for a quiet D&C.

    You have a link somewhere other than a tinfoil-hat website that talks about women in prison right now in 2012 for miscarriages? Names, places, circumstances?

    Are you all suggesting that if a woman is to leave patriarchy she is obligated to embrace abortion? It sure looks like it. I thought Vyckie had done a really good job here setting up a safe space. For instance, she has been straightforward about her atheism but has made sure that it’s not an atheist blog – that people who want help leaving patriarchy can keep their faith and still be comfortable here. She personally called down a commenter who was trying to proselytize his atheism. Now you guys are setting up a political litmus test for this blog. It’s really kind of a shame.

  • Carol

    No, there’s no litmus test. I’m not suggesting anything except political leaders are hypocrites, all of them, but these guys take the cake. Bristol, in her own words, had a choice, she made her own choice, but she doesn’t want anyone else to have that same choice. Hypocrite.

    Far be it from me to do your work for you, but a very quick search will bring up some links, here’s one, and thanks for your accusations, that’s so very non judgmental.

    The prison and judicial system in this country is a shame to the whole world. But Anne and all the political elites are spared from any of this kind of treatment.

    Sounds like you’re all peas in a pod with the Romneys, hoping to ban the discussion of topics you don’t like or don’t agree with. This is all about womens’ rights in all its forms and if you don’t think womens’ rights is a political issue, well,there’s really nothing more to say.

  • Carol

    Shop at Walmart? You’ve helped fund abortions. Seems people only care about it when the women involved are in this country and can be cntrolled and used as political and religious footballs. Otherwise, look Walmart is so great for this country, importing cheap, shiny things, let’s just not talk about the rest of it.

    You don’t have to change your mind or be pro choice or be a liberal to be on this site, Laura. what you may want to do is to treat others with more respect, the way you’d like to be treated, instead of shrieking accusations. It is my opinion that reproductive rights have been used as a tool by the right to get votes and they don’t really care about being pro life except when it’s politically convenient, and our trade policy with china and walmart is one reason why. Romney also had investments with a fetal disposal company, the right doesn’t seem to care about that either.

    I have never suggested that women are obligated to do anything, not sure why you said I did.

  • Carol

    You asked me to back up my “tin foil hat theories” with links, are you now going to complain that I’m “proselytizing” or “setting up a litmus test”?

    There are many, many reasons why I despise the Romneys, why I think they’re phony patriots, phony Americans, why I think they’re terrible human beings, but I’m not asking anyone to “change”. I do want you to be comfortable here, I really, honestly do. But does that mean that we now have to watch what we say? There may be some ideas that you aren’t comfortable with, but you are free to express your ideas, we want to hear them. But you must understand, we can’t tiptoe around you either, and we have valid ideas of our own.

  • Laura

    ” shrieking accusations”

    Oh cool, a gendered insult.

    What does your link have to do with women being imprisoned for having miscarriages? I can’t follow your goalpoats all over the field.

    Look, if you want No Longer Quivering to turn into just another rad-fem blog, like there’s not a bunch of them already out there, that’s fine. It will lose the thing that makes it unique. Maybe that’s inevitable.

  • Carol

    Once again, you’re trying to limit what is allowed to be discussed. I’m having an equally difficult time trying to follow your various complaints. I posted several links, some of which point to the miscarriage issue, the potential dangers for women, and this is something I care deeply about, you can dismiss it all you want. There is a reason why Sarah Palin coined the phrase “lamestream media”, there’s a lot you don’ t hear about.

    This particular blog entry was about Anne Romney and I’m doing my very best to keep it on that topic and you’re the one who says things like “oh, are you trying to suggest that all women coming out of patriarchy should do blah blah blah”. I’m not talking about all women, I’m talking about Anne Romney and the political elites in particular, and there IS a lot to say about them, sorry if that confuses you. At any rate, this is what the blog post was ABOUT. Why do you keep side tracking with other things and taking it so personally is beyond me.

  • Laura

    Carol, your several links posted while I was typing my comment. The only one I saw was the one about Bain.

    …So you have a link from “” whose smoking gun is “critics fear”. I don’t find that particularly compelling.

    Rennie Gibbs’ story is a sad one. Her baby made it to the 8th month, was born dead, and according to NYT, the baby tested positive for cocaine. I’m not sure I would prosecute her but I don’t think you can characterize her case as being one of just a one-of-those-things early pregnancy losses that inexplicably led to her being charged with murder – note, she has not had a trial yet. There’s a reason why cocaine is illegal, BTW.

    Also according to that NYT article, pretty much the same thing happened to Amanda Kimbrough. Her baby was born prematurely and died right away, and tested positive for meth.

    Six months after Timmy Jr.’s death, the district attorney in Colbert County charged Kimbrough with chemical endangerment of a child, a Class A felony (because the infant died) that carries a mandatory sentence of 10 years to life.

    The Colbert County DA, in 2008 and now, is Bryce Graham, Jr. He is a Democrat.

    (It’s “Ann” Romney, not “Anne”. If she is your chosen topic, you could spell her name right.)

  • Minnie

    I posted this list Laura were people could see that the republicans do not put women and children first.

    Any one can research my list.
    “House Republicans have been facing a backlash after voting for a plan authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would dismantle Medicare while cutting taxes for the rich. But that plan also included deep cuts in discretionary spending, the destructiveness of which is becoming more apparent as the budget process moves forward.
    For instance, the Republican budget would implement a 15 percent cut in the agency tasked with policing oil markets, even with energy speculation at an all-time high. That same portion of the budget — which is being

    marked up by the House Appropriations agricultural subcommittee — would also cut $832 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a program that provides low-income women and children with food, counseling, and health care.”

  • Minnie

    You sound like D0ug Wilson.

  • Minnie
  • Laura

    Comment stuck in moderation since this morning. Here it is without the links.

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Carol, your several links posted while I was typing my comment. The only one I saw was the one about Bain.

    …So you have a link from “” whose smoking gun is “critics fear”. I don’t find that particularly compelling.

    Rennie Gibbs’ story is a sad one. Her baby made it to the 8th month, was born dead, and according to NYT, the baby tested positive for cocaine. I’m not sure I would prosecute her but I don’t think you can characterize her case as being one of just a one-of-those-things early pregnancy losses that inexplicably led to her being charged with murder – note, she has not had a trial yet. There’s a reason why cocaine is illegal, BTW.

    Also according to that NYT article, pretty much the same thing happened to Amanda Kimbrough. Her baby was born prematurely and died right away, and tested positive for meth.

    Six months after Timmy Jr.’s death, the district attorney in Colbert County charged Kimbrough with chemical endangerment of a child, a Class A felony (because the infant died) that carries a mandatory sentence of 10 years to life.

    The Colbert County DA, in 2008 and now, is Bryce Graham, Jr. He is a Democrat.

    (It’s “Ann” Romney, not “Anne”. If she is your chosen topic, you could spell her name right.)

  • Carol

    All excellent points, not sure if these chemicals cause miscarriages though and who knows, maybe they live near a factory, maybe poor environmental conditions caused the miscarriages.

    I stand by my beliefs about the Romneys. At least if Ann (without an E) had mentioned something, anything, even about female veteran’s or soldier’s wives and families, instead of platitudes about sitting at a graduation ceremony, I might believe she even gave a single thought about women in this country that don’t belong to her horse set. Even Willard himself couldn’t be bothered to thank the troops, but he has plenty to say about making a buck and avoiding taxes.

  • Laura

    Carol, you certainly are entitled to your beliefs about the Romneys.

    Ann made the speech she made. It’s not the speech I would have made but I am not AR and my husband isn’t running for president. I’m sure no matter what she said, somebody somewhere would be irritated that she left something out.

    Women who are stuck in the patriarchy have been brainwashed as to the evils of feminism. I think feminism is an excellent thing, myself, and would call myself one in a heartbeat if I could also make it clear that I am pro-life (a truth-in-advertising thing; some people think you can be feminist and pro-life and some don’t, and I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone.) The thing is, if a woman is starting to explore whether leaving the patriarchy is something she wants to pursue, and she’s getting her feet wet with a blog like this, she may still strongly identify with her wife-and-mother role and not want to throw all of that aside – indeed, if her husband is supportive of her leaving (and you see women saying it was they, not their husbands, who wanted all of that complementarian/patriarchy stuff in the first place) and if she still has children to raise, she won’t want to throw out the entire baby with the bathwater.

    Then to see a sneering comment about a woman cooking is going to confirm everything her church leaders told her about how feminists are trying to destroy the family and want to make her feel bad about such a simple thing as preparing a meal. I just hate to see this blog’s mission undermined like that.

    But it’s not my blog so y’all can certainly do as you please.

  • Carol

    Now that’s much more like it. I found this very informative and helpful.

  • Carol

    I really thought a lot about this comment last night, I hate to beat a dead horse, and I think we’ve talked about this enough, but this really resonated with me. I wish there was a way to “rec it up”, so more people could see it, I think it’s so important, what you’ve said here.

    It’s almost like we read 2 completely different articles. From my perspective, I read an article about a political elite that glorifies motherhood and running errands only when it suits them, while their businesses and policies continually making lives harder and harder for these same people, wiping out their companies, taking away their pensions and healthcare while enriching themselves. I read an article about someone who benefited from the hierarchy they’re imposing on everyone else, and everyone else pays the price. I read an article about an obscenely wealthy woman who cooks, but probably after this photo shoot, had the hired help do the cleaning up.

    It would never in a million years, and please pardon me if I’m wrong on this, but it just never occurred to me that someone might read it as an attack on their own choices. I think that’s why I really had a hard time understanding what you were getting at and why I finally did say “why are you taking this so personally”. I just did not understand that at all, it wasn’t even on my radar. I wish this could be explored further, but I grew up with a million mixed signals and had to dig my own way out, and have always been just struggling to figure out what the heck is going on day to day, where is the truth. I’m not very good at in depth exploration like the women who run this site are.

  • Laura

    Carol, let me think about this. I don’t want to argue but I would like to engage. I’m on my lunch break right now but I’ll think about it and try to have a response this evening.

  • Carol

    Thanks Laura, I look forward to it. Is there a way to take this “off line” so we don’t clog up the blog? Clog the blog. Ha.

  • Laura

    That is probably a very good idea.

    If you want to drop me an email: southernxyl at hotmail dot com.

  • not a gator

    Amen, sister!

  • not a gator

    There’s an abusive cult in Israel now that does exactly what you outline–gets men to marry VERY young, so they have several children and they are “trapped” by the time they start to question their faith and get around in the world. I think the community is known as “Ger” and is kind of infamous for rabbinical abuse. All of the ultra-orthodox communities are quite abusive. In Israel often the women are the only breadwinners and due to lack of education they toil at low-paid, low skill jobs, while the men are under pressure to study Torah all the time and collect meagre welfare checks. Israel is a secular society so perhaps that is why Haredis and the Ger have doubled down on the abuse and control. But yes, having all these kids makes young people (25, etc) feel trapped… also, the marriages are arranged so there is no trust or love between husband and wife. Each person feels the other might denounce them for heretical thinking. So if you love your children at all and do not want the rabbis and powerful families to cut off all contact, you go along.

    This happens to a lesser extent in the US as well.