By Audrey Quinn
Posting in Technology
Why is the first lady worth so much more to the Obama campaign as a mother than as a business woman?
After the excitement of Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, I found myself a little hesitant to get on board with the "You go girl!" enthusiasm of the crowd.
Yes, it was wonderful to see an intelligent and charming woman praised by many across the nation. But her speech felt like a break from the pursuits to which she's devoted much of her life.
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama graduated cum laude from Princeton University, received her J.D. at Harvard Law School, went on to work at one of the most prominent corporate law firms in the nation, and then held a number of influential positions in non-profit and public sector organizations.
None of those achievements, besides the fact that she graduated from college, were even hinted at Tuesday night. She wrapped up the speech with these words:
And I say all of this tonight not just as First Lady…and not just as a wife.
You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still “mom-in-chief.”
I by no means intend to criticize or doubt Ms. Obama's devotion as a wife and mother, and how central that role is to her life. Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote in her much-discussed article in The Atlantic this June:
Whenever I am introduced at a lecture or other speaking engagement, I insist that the person introducing me mention that I have two sons. It seems odd to me to list degrees, awards, positions, and interests and not include the dimension of my life that is most important to me—and takes an enormous amount of my time.
Slaughter seeks to normalize motherhood as a part of life for a high-ranking professional person.
However, it seems odd to me that such an accomplished woman as Ms. Obama would want to make that the most highlighted part of her public life. The only non-domestic pursuit she regularly professes is her campaign for health and fitness -- a worthy cause, but hardly one that falls far from the motherly role.
It seems that she could better capitalize on her position as a role model by also highlighting her academic and career successes. I understand that there are also a number of political issues at play here. But, as a young woman invested in her own career, with motherhood not yet on my horizon, I'm still confused why she chooses to singularly emphasize her place as a mother.
I'm curious to hear input from readers who are professionals and parents themselves- Do you feel it's necessary to emphasize one facet of your life over another? Is Ms. Obama actually setting a better role model by drawing attention to her strengths as a home maker? Do you see a disconnect between being a strong career person and a strong parent?
Sep 6, 2012
I suggest that you ignore anything from the Super PACs on either side. They can lie freely and the candidates have no control over it.
Ms. Obama has little say in what she says in campaign speeches. The truth is that there are no politicians either in office or running for office who actually understand what is happening in the world today--a major change in politics, finance, economics, work, social structure and nearly every facet of our lives is at hand. Failing to understand this, none of them have any chance of actually helping us through this period, as they are all intent upon presenting 'solutions' based upon the way the world used to be rather than the way it is changing. With luck, we may get through this period without a major war...we've occasionally done so in the past...but our current system of finance, politics and resource allocation still strongly favors violence as a solution to nearly every problem. While it seldom solves a problem, it often manages to hide it behind a smoke screen of destruction until the next election. At heart, most of the electorate understands that these are useless plans and useless politicians, but conditioned to a forced choice of one or the other, they will, as usual, probably vote for the 'lesser evil,' rather than seeking the best people. Choosing the 'lesser evil' merely guarantees that you will be led by evil every time. Since politicians are 'more equal' than the rest of us, and their campaign ads aren't required to meet truth in advertising standards any more than they are required to avoid working under the influence of mind-altering chemicals; (scary, isn't it? Those who spend your money and send your children off to die in wars can legally be zonked out of their minds on legal or illegal drugs while doing so!) Nothing they say can be used to hold them to their word, and they face no restrictions upon the trash they can throw at each other...and we have no idea what any of them will actually do when elected.
Both parties color the TRUTH if not outright LIE! They do that to get votes. Both parties feel they have to do this so that the other won't get ahead of them by election time! I watched both Conventions and I don't believe either Party! And for you "SUPER BRAINS" you can't fix stupid. Forest Gump said stupid is as stupid does! How many of you can say they watched both parties for over 40 years? I bet not many! This is nothing NEW they have been doing this for 40+ years. You all think you have a corner on the m arket for Intelligence? I doubt it! It seems to me though that the Democrats can put such spin on something that George Washington wouldn't recognize it as fact or fiction! I've checked out some of the Ads on tv put out by the super pacs for the Democrats! There's one out there they even posted the source which was Reuters 1/2012. In it they say that Romney bankrupted the company and made a $92 million dollar profit. LIARS! Read the entire Reuters article They missed the part where it says Bain Capital INVESTED $60 million dollars into the company's infra-structure to make it sellable then sold it for $92 million dollars. That does not constitute a $92 million dollar profit! NOW where's the arithmetic? Things like this on both sides of the aisle get me rip roarin MAD!
It is a pity that so many Americans have such fear for strong women and that a woman's accomplishments are almost always downplayed at every level of society - often times even within one's own circle (of friends).
Not sure where people are coming from on this. Are they in support of Mrs Obama in the education and positions she has acquired or are they in support of her as a dedicated mother? Whatever, we need more potential moms and dads to become educated before they become parents. An educated parent makes a much better example to their kids than someone who allows themselves to sit around playing video games, gambling, sucking on welfare when they don't have to be. Both of the Obamas are good examples to their kids and all of the lies and innuendos from the sour grapes crowd is not going to change that. Ask yourself what you have accomplished and if it is less than that who you are attempting to beat up on then beat up on yourself first.
Hates Idiots was right on the mark. This was a political decision based solely upon whom they were trying to reach. Sissy Sue, however, fails to recognize what has happened with women since the 60s. A full generation of women entered the work force with an attitude of "I am woman, hear me roar!" They rose up the ranks, broke glass ceilings and started companies. And like so many men before them, they sacrificed their relationships with their families in the process only to look back with deep regret. The most important thing in life is not prestige, nor power, nor property. It's people. And more and more men and women have looked at my generation and said, "No thanks, I would rather have less money, less stress and better relationships." My hat is off to them.
Remember, Michelle's speech was not meant to be political. She was speaking from an emotional point of view as a wife and mother to promote the human and non-political values of her husband.
On Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 10:52 AM, Michael Hennessey wrote: It seems puzzling to me that you as a writer would not be aware that as far as many people in this country & much of the western world only see women as wives & mothers regardless of any other accomplishments. The thinking that womenâ?s only role is support. My own daughters & granddaughter (all college educated) still worry about boyfriends & husbands more then anything else. I doubt that the first lady is all mommy in private but in public to be more, challenges the status quo.
The First Lady is in a unique and somewhat treacherous position, balancing motherhood, career, and political considerations. Even here, just her mention starts to bring out flames. Anyway, I think we can expect much more from her, career-wise, after her tenure as FIrst Lady is over.
[i]However, it seems odd to me that such an accomplished woman as Ms. Obama would want to make that the most highlighted part of her public life. The only non-domestic pursuit she regularly professes is her campaign for health and fitness a worthy cause, but hardly one that falls far from the motherly role.[/i] What you clearly fail to realize is that national party conventions today are little more than week-long commercials for their party and needed votes. Nothing else important happens at them anymore. The Democrats already feel as though they have the "single professional female" vote locked up. There's no need to pander to them. The votes they desperately need are the "married with kids" vote, which the GOP overwhelmingly dominates. So that's where Michelle focuses her act. (There also may be the reason that by highlighting her "professional" life, she will invite scrutiny which the Obamas clearly would not like talked about, like what happened to her law license and just how did she get that >$300,000/year hospital job that directly paralleled her husband's political career) And what's the cost of doing so? Nothing. I seriously doubt that you're going to say the hell with the Obamas and vote for Romney over this, Audrey. Am I right?
Michelle was put front and center at the DNC in reaction to the apple-pie-and-motherhood love fest at the RNC. From my perspective, I strongly resent the portrayal of women as little more than receptacles for babies. Motherhood is just one of many roles that women can fill in this world today. JUST ONE OF MANY! There is nothing unique about reproducing one of our own kind. This might be one of the miracles of nature, but it's a miracle that happens just about every second of the day. I guess as women we have made LITTLE progress from the early 1960s when most women's ambitions were relegated to motherhood, nursing, teaching, or secretarial duties, and a woman was regarded as some kind of freak if she wanted to enter a field that was traditionally male or if she wanted to do something with her life beyond adding to the human population. In the long run, do we only have worth as a uterus?
I wrote this post to spark a dialogue on the way Ms. Obama, as one of the country's most prominent professional women, is portrayed on the national stage. She has a history as a radical, barrier-breaking scholar and career woman, yet at times the campaign relegates her to an idealized archetype. I find this especially interesting in light of the renewed discussion in magazine and online sphere over the past few months on the difficulty some professional women have in embracing motherhood alongside their careers.
Has this site become an official web site for the DNC? Is this IBMâs way of supporting the Obama campaign? Does IBM even know this is what they are paying for? Writing puff pieces on Michelle Obama while posting pictures of Mitt Romney in clown makeup?
My advice to you is to take your own advice... Funny how Dems preach about free speech, and yet when someone disagrees with their viewpoint, that person is now part of the "sour grapes crowd"...
John, you are right. And I do realize that the way Ms. Obama is portrayed is largely due to strategic pandering. But however necessary such pandering may be, I think it's the duty of those of us who recognize it as such to call it out.
My wife has held corporate positions that our mothers wouldn't have even dreamed of attaining. She now does volunteer work, much of which is in what only a few decades ago would have been exclusively a male realm. I don't know what world you are living in, but it's not modern America. There are few places on Earth that hold more opportunities for women.
I'd disagree that we've made such little progress as women since the 1960's. I feel like as a young woman in today's workplace climate I have come to take for granted the expectation that I should be treated as an equal to men. That's why the way that this presidential campaign plays to gender norms seems so odd to me. It's disheartening, how can I expect equal consideration in the professional sphere if in the presidential sphere (one of the most public and influential spheres), women appear to only be valuable for domestic duties?
For more on the engineering of first ladies, I recommend Catherine Allgor's post on CNN that a Facebook commenter pointed out this afternoon: http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/04/opinion/allgor-wives-convention-speeches/index.html?iid=article_sidebar
I have never seen a political piece on this site that favors Republicans in any way. However, I have seen plenty here praising the Dems. Just part of the game. I don't think they have ever claimed to be bipartisan.
The cultural expectations of working women? Based on a recent news event about the country's most politically prominent wife? I fail to see how this isn't a legitimate question to raise. I usually appreciate your comments, Hates Idiots, but you're just jumping to conclusions here.
You have to admit, it is still a whole lot easier being a white male. We have come a long way, but there is always room for improvements. By the way I am a white male. Donât want you to think Iâm a minority picking on the poor little white guy.
Come on Andrew. We are not children here. And lets make another point clear. She is not a civil servent. She is not on a ballot and is not a hired employee of the US taxpayer. And no matter how many times her husband repeats it, 4 times in 1 week at last count, she does not deserve a paycheck from the US taxpayer just for being the presidents spouse.
According to several recent studies, including one by the Department of Labor, women under the age of 28 now earn a higher average income than their male peers. The change mirrors the drop in average male grades compared to females in every grade above kindergarten and the drop in graduation rates among young men from schools of higher education. The one rock standing against this changing tide has been in STEM fields, but not for sexist reasons many like to blame. A 2011 study of women with STEM degrees found the only reason they averaged a lower income 5 years after graduation is because their schools pushed many to go into teaching fields that paid less than industry. When comparing industry hiring of STEM graduates, young women continued to beat their male peers on salary. It seems the schools are the ones stuck in the sexist 19th century way of thinking.
The current recession has treated men far more harshly than women. Women in college now outnumber men. Most (not all, but most) of the divisions of the past are gone, and today mostly exist in the imaginations of those looking for reasons to explain their current condition, or to justify their political agendas. Again, I assert that there are few places in the world that it's better to be a woman in than the USA.
What are you? 12? You said you would pray for me. If you are not a Christian, maybe you are a Muslim like your leader?
Okay, here's a "fact check" that you won't be seeing, even though everything in it is indeed, factual: [i]CLINTON: I balanced the budget, and even ran a surplus. FACT: True, but it only happened after the Republicans took over control of Congress for the first time in 40 years in '94. Big government initiatives such as "HillaryCare" were dead, as well as Al Gore's "BTU Tax". The Clinton Administration continually fought the GOP Congress for tax increases to address the deficit, but to no avail. With gridlock in Washington, business felt free to invest and expand, resulting in the "dot com" boom. In 1996, Clinton declared "The era of big government is over". By 1998, massive economic growth and provided the Federal government a tax windfall that was large enough to produce the first budget surplus in generations. [/i] Even though I just made this up, everything there is a fact. It is little different than the two real examples I cited above. And yet, I'm certain you'd argue that it's propaganda. And if it were to appear as "news" instead of "opinion", you'd be right. And that is how the "fact check" meme is a one-sided fraud.
...are you going to argue that my examples from two different news organizations is not propaganda posing as "fact checks", or are you just going to ignore it? I'd ignore it too if I were you.
Here is what factcheck.org had to say about Clinton's speech... "Former President Bill Clintonâs stem-winding nomination speech was a fact-checkerâs nightmare: lots of effort required to run down his many statistics and factual claims, producing little for us to write about. Republicans will find plenty of Clintonâs scorching opinions objectionable. But with few exceptions, we found his stats checked out."
Be embarassed for yourself doofus... I never said I was a Christian, and for the record, religion gives religion a bad name.
Here are the lies out of the RNC. What? They came from the DNC? I am so surprised! (Credit to FactCheck.org - Details and actual quotes can be found there) Vice President Biden quoted GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney as saying âitâs not worth moving heaven and earthâ to catch Osama bin Laden. Actually, Romney said heâd target more than just âone person.â The president said U.S. automakers are âback on top of the world.â Nope. GM has slipped back to No. 2 and is headed for third place in global sales this year, behind Toyota and Volkswagen. Biden said âthe expertsâ concluded Romneyâs corporate tax plan would create 800,000 jobs in other countries. One expert said that. She also said the number depends on the details, and foreign jobs could grow without costing U.S. jobs. Obama quoted Romney as saying it was âtragicâ to âend the war in Iraq.â What Romney was criticizing was the pace of Obamaâs troop withdrawal, not ending a war. Biden claimed Romney âbelieves itâs OK to raise taxes on middle classes by $2,000.â Romney actually promises to lower middle-class taxes. Biden said Romney and running mate Paul Ryan âare not for preserving Medicare at all.â Actually, the plan they endorse would offer traditional Medicare as one option among many. Obama said his tax plan would restore âthe same rate we had when Bill Clinton was presidentâ for upper-income taxpayers. Not quite. New taxes to finance the health care law also kick in next year, further burdening those same taxpayers.
I think not. "You are the scum of the earth and should be exterminated. The Republican Party is the epitome of what is wrong with the world." I am embarrassed for you, son. You give religion a bad name.
Work on your reading comprehension Jeffp77... I'm not a Dem. I have plenty of my own money and I will end up in the higher tax bracket as I make over 250K per year... That aside, Dems are the party of the working class, everyone knows that... And here you are spewing more lies and claiming the working class is afraid of hard work. Do you even think before you write/speak? You are obviously not a Christian Jeffp77... This isn't about giving your money to fat lazy people. This is about helping fellow Americans, the poor and elderly, showing compassion and giving those people a chance and investing in the future of our country... By all logic, people with kids should pay more taxes, not less. Their kids use up a lot of our tax money... But that is an investment we all make in the future of America. But you and your greedy bastard party are the Anti-Christ, greedy, selfish, and cruel... You don't care about the suffering of fellow human beings so long as you have excess that you can flaunt. You don't care about the future of the country or doing the right thing. You are anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-good... You are not what millions of soldiers have died protecting... You are the scum of the earth and should be exterminated. The Republican Party is the epitome of what is wrong with the world. Again
Dems are afraid of hard work. All you want is my money. Why should I work hard for my money, and then give it to you while you sit on the couch watching TV and eating pizza? They censored p@nties. Too funny.
Here's an example from the Associated Press just last week: [i][Paul] RYAN: "The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal." THE FACTS: Ryan himself asked for stimulus funds shortly after Congress approved the $800 billion plan.[/i] That "fact" response has absolutely nothing to do with Ryan's assertion; it does not verify it nor does it dispute it. It's just a snark back at Ryan, insinuating hypocrisy. That "fact" does nothing to address the question of whether or not "the stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare and cronyism". Here's one from ABC News: [i]In comparing President Obama to Jimmy Carter, Ryan said in July 1980 the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent and "for the past 42 months it's been above 8 percent under Barack Obama's failed leadership." Both parts of this sentence are true according to the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, but in July 1983, when Ronald Reagan was president, unemployment was at 9.4 percent. In July 1982 it was higher at 9.8 percent. In July 1992, when George H.W. Bush was president, unemployment was at 7.7 percent. Is what Ryan said factually correct? Yes, but it leaves out some important data.[/i] So instead of just saying "TRUE", they instead take some snarks at other Republicans they don't like. I sure didn't see any similar comments made in any "fact checks" regarding Democrats. In fact, I challenge you to find one. This is political editorialism. Not "fact checking". That you can't tell the difference says more about you than it does about the AP or the "fact check" meme.
Seriously??? That was right up there with "Oh Yeah" and "Nuh Uhhh"... Jeffp77, I'm neither a Dem nor a Republi-puppet... I'm a free thinking independent and I'm actually against welfare in the majority of situations and I think it needs serious reform. But only a total elitist snob @sshole would try to use welfare as a putdown for someone. That is seriously sick dude You need serious mental help as you are a horrible excuse for a human being. Most people on welfare are not there because they want to be there, some have just had a lot of bad breaks and chose to swallow their pride and take a hand up versus being homeless with children... How horrible of a society do you and your kind want us to become Jeffp77??? Go back to your little world with your hypocrisy and lying to yourself about how you are a better person than ___________ (insert fictious name here). We all know the truth You are an ugly person and a hypocrite and a liar Your true colors are exposed Jeffp77.
No John... the whole "fact check" thing is based on facts... Who is lying and who is honest... Perspective doesn't change numbers... If it was a point of view check they would call it that and not a fact check... You might want to try thinking things through before you speak or write...
So did calling me names make you feel better Jeffp77??? I am a straight to the point person... I call a spade a spade and I call a moron a moron... You don't ever have to wonder if I am lying because I don't give a rats @ss what you or anyone else thinks so it would be stupid for me to lie. Calling a moron a moron for being a moron doesn't mean that I am angry. It just means I know a moron when I see one and am not afraid to call them what they are. If anything, I am disappointed in all the Republidrones regurgitating lies. Maybe you should grow up and give honesty a try... This whole pretending you are a better person thing is way too transparent. I don't think you know the definition of ethics nor what a rational person is. Dont look now Jeffp77, but your hypocrisy is showing... Life must be very difficult for a person as clueless as you Jeffp77... Tell you what.. If it makes you feel better, I will pray for you. I will ask the lord to reach deep into his pockets and see if he can't space some common cents to pass your way. (that cents/sense thing was intentional btw).
I happen to possess something called ethics. (Google it) You seem to think that your ranting and raving would convince someone (anyone) that you are a sane and rational person, which you clearly are not. No, it doesn't hurt me. Sorry to disappoint you. Love how you get all angry when someone voices their opinion, and it differs from yours. Very amusing, I must say.
I too am curious about something. Does it make you feel like you are a better person by asking stupid questions? Seriously, I really am curious. To answer your silly little rhetorical question... Calling a group of people morons for their stupidity is not calling a person a name per se... Itâs classifying a group as morons for being incredibly stupid. Are you a member of that group Jeffp77? Are you getting butt-hurt because I am caling it like I see it?
It was astounding how many lies came out of the RNC... So astounding that it was major news... It's pretty sad when the amount of lies coming from so many politicians becomes so bad that it's newsworthy... That is a whole lot of lies.
I too am curious about something. Does it make you feel like you are a better person by calling other people names? Seriously, I really am curious.
My AP feed had very few this week. I only saw one. I saw several a day last week. Those "fact checks" are little more than editorials disguised as news. Half the time, they're not even checking "facts" at all, but opinions or visions of future events or conditions.
Or should I say "whined about" like a good little Republidrone... You know what else is dissapointing? That the fact checks were good for the Dems and the Republicants all failed as their entire campaign is verified lies... I find it very dissapointing that so many morons..er.. I mean people... would believe lies and regurgitate those lies, especially since they know they are lies... Is that a byproduct of racism when people are so jaded that they literally want to believe the lies that badly? I really am curious about this... Why would so many people want to believe that many verified lies? I just don't get it (but then again, I'm not a racist moron either).