POSTED BY ORHAN

Corey Robin

Katha Pollitt writing in the Nation about the Hilary Rosen/Ann Romney fracas:

But the brouhaha over Hilary Rosen’s injudicious remarks is not really about whether what stay-home mothers do is work. Because we know the answer to that: it depends. When performed by married women in their own homes, domestic labor is work—difficult, sacred, noble work. Ann says Mitt called it more important work than his own, which does make you wonder why he didn’t stay home with the boys himself. When performed for pay, however, this supremely important, difficult job becomes low-wage labor that almost anyone can do—teenagers, elderly women, even despised illegal immigrants. But here’s the real magic: when performed by low-income single mothers in their own homes, those same exact tasks—changing diapers, going to the playground and the store, making dinner, washing the dishes, giving a bath—are not only not work; they are idleness itself.

So…

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5 responses to “

  1. Since the WordPress Reblog function truncated it, here’s the entire Pollitt quote:

    But the brouhaha over Hilary Rosen’s injudicious remarks is not really about whether what stay-home mothers do is work. Because we know the answer to that: it depends. When performed by married women in their own homes, domestic labor is work—difficult, sacred, noble work. Ann says Mitt called it more important work than his own, which does make you wonder why he didn’t stay home with the boys himself. When performed for pay, however, this supremely important, difficult job becomes low-wage labor that almost anyone can do—teenagers, elderly women, even despised illegal immigrants. But here’s the real magic: when performed by low-income single mothers in their own homes, those same exact tasks—changing diapers, going to the playground and the store, making dinner, washing the dishes, giving a bath—are not only not work; they are idleness itself.

    So there it is: the difference between a stay-home mother and a welfare mother is money and a wedding ring. Unlike any other kind of labor I can think of, domestic labor is productive or not, depending on who performs it.

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  2. What is the difference between Ann Romney not knowing how poor working mothers struggle and Micelle Obama’s background ?

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    • Huh?(by the way, Rosen’s comment was about ‘stay at home’ versus working mothers. In that context, Michelle Obama, after a law career, and WHILE RAISING TWO DAUGHTERS

      “In 1996, she served as the Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago, where she developed the University’s Community Service Center.[47] In 2002, she began working for the University of Chicago Hospitals, first as executive director for community affairs and, beginning May 2005, as Vice President for Community and External Affairs.”

      See? Different. Michelle knows all about what working mothers face.

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  3. Ms. Holland,

    My point was about rich mothers and poor working mothers . Since you guys always attack the Romneys with the class warfare club, I am bringing money into it . Money makes a lot possible. First Lady Obama was well off, is well off raising her children .The criticism of Anne Romney is that she was rich enough to stay home, and thus cannot know the struggle of women working in and out of the home at the same time, because they are too poor to do anything else .

    I say that Anne Romney has as much right as First Lady Obama to speak to and for women . Anne Romney raised 5 kids. That’s more than 2 . Anne Romney was not as rich as First Lady Obama was when she had her first child . I believe both Romneys were still in college when they started their family .

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    • Actually the criticism was of conservatives who believe that the fact that one mother is married–and another is not–literally metamorphoses the child rearing by the first into a sublime, mystical experience–the most important work one can do–while child rearing by the other doesn’t qualify as “work” at all, or even an activity capable of conferring “self-respect;” she needs to “work” in addition to caring for her children just to experience it; then her “self-respect” will be transmitted to all her progeny, ensuring their names will never sully future welfare rolls.

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