Is Mitt Romney The Biggest Feminist In Congress??

This world just keeps on getting weirder! Today, I found myself sobbing with relief over a bill introduced by the man I voted against in 2012.

Shed A Tear

Why should I trust you, tho??

Saagar Enjeti over at The Hill explains how Mitt Romney’s Child Allowance PlanWould almost single-handedly cut child poverty to the lowest level in decades.” 

He also reminds us that the United States is facing a real fertility crisis  – My generation is not having enough kids to replace ourselves. It seems many Americans don’t understand why this is important.

When I praised this publicly, I was hit with unsurprisingly skeptical takes around, ‘Why do we even need more kids…? Doesn’t this discriminate against people who don’t have kids?”

The answer to the last question is, Yes. Frankly, I’m OK with that.” It’s really weird to hear a self-described conservative say something so refreshing

That’s probably why I’ve never been for a Universal Basic Income and have always favored policies like this … ‘What exactly makes you conservative, Saagar?’ You’re lookin’ at it right here.

But when Saagar is talking about kids, I hear mothers – The women who will almost inevitably be caring for those kids. And while I firmly believe if you don’t want kids, you shouldn’t have any, no mainstream source is saying otherwise.

But what if you do? Why did I have to give up everything else just to be a decent mom? And why is creating the next generation seen as inherently conservative?? 

I don’t think government policy or our culture should be centered around maximizing individual liberty and choice. I think it should be centered around making it easy as possible to fulfill the most basic task of a civilization – Which is replacing itself and producing prosperity for the current and future generation.

I admit this had never occurred to me – UBI would be a fantastic development for women, but this shift in emphasis is eye-opening. Those in love with Free Market Capitalism claim this as their goal, too. And yet, Saagar eloquently describes the situation where we actually find ourselves:

Fuse Box

This damn thing is so out of date! How am I ever gonna get it fired up again??

Nothing about our consumerist culture is maximizing these goals. It is the opposite of conservative when your supposedly free trade and market have created a culture where it’s cheaper to eat crappy food, buy plastic stuff and watch TV every day, rather than have children and get married.

Saagar is using a definition of conservative I disagree with. I stick with the first definition, ‘Averse to change or innovation, holding traditional values.

Saagar is using the second, ‘Favoring free enterprise, private ownership and socially traditional ideas.

For one thing, I disagree that Marriage&Family still qualifies as our tradition in this country. Eating crap food, buying junk and watching TV is the new tradition. My parents’ generation seems to know little else.

Divorce has been common for 50 years. Working moms, 40. Single, working moms, 30. It’s been at least a generation since single-income families were the norm, Mom waiting with snacks after school. Arguably, two. 

We may not see ourselves this way, but numbers don’t lie like TV does. America seems to finally be in the mood for a good, hard look in the mirror.

People don’t even want to watch TV all day, or just buy stuff. They’re simply responding to the incentives within the economic system … Surveys of Americans show that … people want more kids but aren’t having them. Clearly, it’s too hard to have kids.

That’s right – Millennials don’t actually want to be cultural hitmen. We want the same things every other generation did, but we are collateral damage of the broken system we live in.

Waist Deep

Is it cold out here, or is it me?

What’s the barrier to kids in our culture? It’s money. It’s healthcare. All the externalities. Having to leave your job, stuff like that. So, the solution is simple – Make it more economically viable to have children! It’s the simplest solution on the planet, that many on the Reformist Right have identified for nearly a decade.

This is also new to me – What in the world is the Reformist Right?? Wouldn’t that make them… Progressive??

And yet, somehow, the guy whose terrible defeat and policy ideas in 2012 who sparked this movement is the person who seems to have embraced it.

I laughed bitterly at this. In 2012, Mitt Romney looked like an off-brand animatronic JFK, except Republican. And Mormon.

Most leftist thought was still preoccupied with Barack Obama, the disillusionment of his 2nd term and the fallout of that still in the future. Would Romney have fixed these problems eight years ago? Maybe not, but he’s proven himself to be a man of principle where so many in his party just chase power. It’s been quite a learning experience to watch.

Saagar shoots down arguments against Romney’s plan with satisfying enthusiasm. “…They say that it would encourage government dependency and unemployment which would, conversely, encourage a retreat from marriage and the labor force in poorer communities. It’s not an unreasonable concern.

But … it may be moot. Romney’s plan only phases out at the highest income threshold, meaning there isn’t a so-called ‘work disincentive’ as there were in previous iterations of American welfare.

This system would involve almost every family in the country, almost all of us would qualify for the income supplements. It wouldn’t just be helping those people over there.

And … we don’t really have time to quibble with these fights from 1996.” YES!!! I’ve been watching politics since 1992, and the lack of progress has been truly devastating. Let them take their absolutist Boomer nonsense with them when they go!

We are literally in a massive fertility crisis, which is only going to get worse after the Coronavirus depression, the social isolation, and the immense disruption to our lives … Demographics is destiny in only one way – When your population declines, your country gets worse.

Wuthering Hts

I remember when all this was a mall!

You think the system is broken now? Imagine after the tax base dries up!

Somehow, [Democrats] have memed themselves into becoming deficit hawk Republicans. The Democratic plan would actually diminish the size of the benefit for Americans making more than $75,000 … By making it more targeted, you, of course, open yourself up to political attack in the future.

This brings me back to who and what qualifies as ‘conservative.‘ In the US, the so-called conservative party are the ones who use Jesus for war propaganda and racism to stay popular. They are almost as likely to be secretly gay as fiscally corrupt. Even the truly conservative – Those who adhere to the old values of Sexism, Racism, Homophobia and Xenophobia – have about given up on them.

As for the ‘liberals,’ I have covered them pretty extensively several times. That monicker is more ironic these days.

By phasing this in and out based on income, [it would] become more politically vulnerable to attack than a Mitt Romney universal plan … Do you want this to be … targeted as welfare?

It’s almost as if they don’t really want to solve anything. As if keeping things tangled up and Americans afraid and back-biting helps them get away with shit…

Too Much Going On

OK hon, you got that fire extinguisher??

…And if you don’t think things are confused, the 2nd definition of ‘liberal’ is, ‘a political and social policy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.

Not too far-removed from ‘conservative’s’ ‘free enterprise, private ownership and socially traditional ideas.

Individual rights, civil liberties and democracy are literally the tradition the United States is founded in. With definitions like these, is it any wonder we can’t keep anything straight?

We have so many labels, but I’m finding them more and more meaningless. A society that’s good for mothers would be good for all women, and even most men. 

Romney’s plan amounts to paying me for mothering, a for-real dream come true! It’s my full-time job, on-call 24/7, 365. I cried today because I had given up on official recognition of this. 

Mitt Romney being the biggest feminist in Congress makes me dizzy.

 

Moms and Feminism Need Each Other

I think men convinced themselves women were just a little too stupid for all those centuries, so they wouldn’t have to face what they had done to us.

Pinned

Thanks for bringing me to this swell movie, Gary!

Exploiting a natural weakness to strip an intelligent, self-aware person of their individuality, and put them to work for the benefit of others – Well, that would be pretty evil. One might be tempted to empathize with such a person, to imagine what it’s like to let go of any thought of personal achievement.

To have no dreams, plans, or hobbies of your own. That’s a miserable existence for any mildly intelligent person, without some serious brainwashing.

But, then, those women were always told they’d never amount to much. Women’s Liberation came about after Enlightenment thinkers (Read: Men) decided an educated mother was a better mother. Suddenly young women got to dream, but only for a few years. Marriage was still the only serious goal.

My generation? We were told we could Have It All – A kickass career, a loving husband, smart kids, a beautiful home and a tight ass – We just had to work a little harder. Never mind that at least two of these are full-time jobs. You’re gonna need at least two jobs to keep that house, anyway…

My daughters are being told that womanhood is a feeling.

The dirty truth, of course, is that a woman birthed every person on Earth. Many of them died in the process. Most of them bear physical scars, and psychological ones are common. All of them were extremely uncomfortable or seriously inconvenienced at least once.

All so humanity could carry on. A job so vital, no able-bodied woman is truly eligible for anything else!

If Only

Sorry, I can’t learn to fly today, I have too much work to do!

But to keep us all there, we had to be held down. Mothers are simultaneously the most important and the least important people in the world. Both a precious resource and totally ordinary, whichever undermines us more effectively.

And it doesn’t really matter, because we don’t have much to say. We’re too busy juggling hats. When women do speak, it’s seldom as A Mother – We have been taught not to identify with that aspect of ourselves, or risk being disqualified from life.

Ironic, since mothers give life.

This is our biggest mistake – Motherhood is both our greatest power and our moment of weakness. The modern, rational mind isn’t interested in mystical contradictions, but we ignore this at our peril.

And children are not just babies. That moment of weakness is followed by at least a decade of preoccupation. Of living two lives simultaneously. Of knowing that, when that cry goes up, your feet better hit the floor because you’re the one on-call 24/7.

Of missed deadlines and internal conflict. Of dumping energy into running two minds – Mommy and Boss Bitch. There’s not as much overlap as you might think.

And moms will never unite and rise up, because we don’t see ourselves as a group. To stand up and be counted is to admit we ought to be at home. And women will never be free.

We may be freed from motherhood, as artificial wombs become a reality. But if freedom hinges on giving up mothering, we will have paid with a precious piece of ourselves. We will have admitted that being free means being like men.

With the majority of women isolated, the only route to liberation will continue to be rejection of men altogether. Straight women cast as sleeping with the enemy, rather than those with the most at stake in the battle of the sexes.

Each of us sits in a corner of her kitchen wiping lonely tears, because she doesn’t know she is legion. We struggle to be Secretary and Cheerleader and Sex Goddess and Boss Bitch and Housekeeper and Cook, never mind who we are!

Vacation

When does my vacation start?

We grope for the support no one can give us. The support that should be there – The network of mothers that raised our ancestors for thousands of years. 

The network that has been destroyed by centuries of putting women In Our Place – A case of slander so intense, the insecurity driving it is obvious.

Men of influence fear women’s power because their precious dominance depends on installing a worthy heir. We are the doorway to the future.  We are the biggest, most influential group in the world.

But not if we don’t know it.

Motherhood is the doorway all of us pass through, in one direction or the other. We don’t need to agree on parenting styles, we just need to stand up and be counted. The strength in our numbers will shake the world.

 

 

Motherhood, Redefined (To Include Men, Naturally)

Motherhood was abandoned by feminism a long time ago.

Chubby Baby

Looks like it’s you and me, kid… for about nine months, anyway.

Enticed by the promise of economic power, repulsed by the body horror of childbirth and the mental torment of parenting, we have worked hard to become more like men.

Who can blame us? They have taken advantage of a drone’s greater mobility to arrange the world to suit themselves for thousands of years. They reinterpreted us and brutalized dissent. Archeology tells us that women once had a vibrant culture of our own. We once commanded respect for our uniquely female qualities. Whatever we once had has been crushed or commandeered.

Mom, Who Are You?

A young child sees his mother as the highest authority and, if you squint hard enough, it almost looks like childish rebellion writ large to reframe motherhood as the most base of pursuits. She’s just a Housewife. The Career Gal may be told she doesn’t Have It All without a family, but she has her money to keep her company. She has her freedom.

The Housewife doesn’t have it all, either, but she has plenty to do. The nostalgic among us find immense fulfillment in the long haul of training up little people. But it’s a slog. Whims are starved in favor of schedules. Kids are full-fledged people, and terrible roommates.

Outside of the occasional joke about biological clocks, we tend to ignore any urge to have kids. Sex is a game we can play with just about anyone, kids are an awkward side-effect. The professional world is inverted to women’s reproductive lives. If we want kids at all, we inevitably miss out on career growth we can never make up.

This is so blatantly rigged against us, but the refrain is praising our presence. Young women outnumber men graduating college, we’ve joined the Boy’s Club at last.

Education is vital, but a capitalist education prepares us to be workers. Because only women possess that magical capacity to Have It All – Build a career to rival any man’s while cooking dinner, reading bedtime stories and kissing boo-boos. Afterward, she and her man change hats and become sexual provocateurs. Perplexingly, patriarchy has painted us as both sex props and mother hens. For about 30 years of our lives, we are expected to effortlessly hop between these two poles.

I’m assuming Having It All means having about two hours’ sleep a night.

Women are more heavily affected by lack of sleep, too. Being taught the candle is meant to be burned from both ends places an even harsher burden on us than it would our male companions. It’s a small thing, but I think it explains a lot. We are not as alert as we should be.

Patriarchy’s Final Frontier

Our focus on proving we can beat them at their own game has allowed everything else to slide.

Cig And Tea

Gosh, I sure with *I* could disregard everyone else’s wellbeing in favor of my own selfish interests, too!

The Code of Hammurabi, the oldest written law, goes into loving detail about what women can and can’t do. Nations needed sons, you see, to defend themselves and secure resources. Our labor was necessary to build the world, and we were conscripted. But a woman’s power is a terrifying combination of mysterious and undeniable. You can’t see how a baby is made, and you can’t fight it, either.

For the most part, men have contented themselves with running things rather than contemplate the mystery. And they discovered recasting making life as a weakness saved them the trouble of denying it happens.

Forever until the 1970s, religious messages of martyrdom held mothers on a pedestal. Denied most other options, women were talked into rearing the next generation as a sacred duty. These days, motherhood is strategizing between work meetings and Netflix binges. And we’re mostly fine with that, because we are done being martyrs.

But the political project of papering over women continues to find new frontiers, and even motherhood isn’t exempt. The linguistic and cultural recognition of the exclusive relationship you have with someone who forms within you is under question. 

Countries around the world have seen fellas publicly claiming the heretofore physical and sexed title of Mother. 

2020, The Year of Male Moms

On March 30, 2020, a bespectacled Spanish man named Alex took advantage of International Transgender Visibility Day to announce that he, too, is a mother. “[Some] trans people don’t desire to realize a transition of the body and accept themselves how they are. It’s important that trans people are recognized for who we are, for our felt identity. It’s legitimate to be a woman, including without doing a transition.”  

How is that, exactly? 

Masks Off

Ok, it’s time to get real – What did he just say??

Courts in France have been arguing over it, too. In June, a 51-year-old man who has been legally recognized as a woman since 2011 won a ruling declaring him the mother of his children. Who were created with the help of his wife, the only way such things happen. Presumably she is on board with this, maybe he promised he’d do half the housework, too.

Days later in Brazil, a prominent academic was busy arguing on Twitter that, “The ‘mother’ category is the worst possible choice if we want to approach pregnancy, childbirth, the puerperium and breastfeeding from a feminist perspective. Like really bad. Conservative. Excluding. It just gets in the way.” Yes, motherhood tends to exclude anyone who hasn’t given birth to a child. There are common exceptions, both joyful and tragic, but we all have one thing in common.

At the end of July, a famous Indian activist kicked up dust over not being considered the mother of his adopted daughter. “You don’t need a uterus to be a mother. Anyone can be a mother, a mother could be a man, a woman, a transgender.” He said in an interview. “The only requirement is to love someone unconditionally.” By this sappy and shallow definition, I am my grandmother’s mother. This is trans politics.

Mothers Clap Back

Each of these examples was met with furious backlash from women. Mothers all over the world chimed in to point out the obvious with characteristic dark humor, “I would love for Alex to tell us about his experience having his children, the reduced workday he had to ask for in order to breastfeed them and the side effects after having those children. I’m sure he has a lot of experience to share!

Mothers aren’t deleted enough from the feminist movement, let’s push them a little bit further into the corner!” 

When I became a mother one of the things that hurt me was that this movement did not embrace us. Women are fired after they have children, have no daycare, have obstetric violence, domestic violence, workplace bullying, sexual abuse.”

I can’t believe that being a mother, choosing, and living it turned transphobic.”

These women have been abandoned not just by the Women’s Movement (Who calls it that anymore, anyway?) but by liberal politics in general. The quest for equality is lost in a desert of verbiage, stuck in a fever dream that words are the problem.

You're Right

You’re right, I shouldn’t have called you my boyfriend. I won’t do it again!…

Words, sisters, are the solution. We must keep using ours, even as so-called ‘liberal’ politics is going around getting people fired for saying the wrong things. 

Not-So-Liberals

Merriam-Webster defines ‘liberal’ as, among other things, “Not literal or strict; Loose.” We also have, “Broad-minded, especially: not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms.

Modern ‘liberals’ have elevated rejection of traditional forms to modern art. As well as a moral Rorschach test. And if you don’t see what they see, you are wrong and probably bad. Because everybody knows rejection of traditional forms is how we demonstrate our modernness. How we demonstrate we are good.

The cognitive dissonance of an authoritarian orthodoxy devoted to rejection of tradition seems to be getting to them. We who speak up for the female sex as half of humanity are told we are just too ignorant to understand. That being born female, molested or raped, getting pregnant, having a baby, a miscarriage or even a period gives no insight into womanhood.

Sure, whatever you say, honey. The little women with ovaries are always quiet when someone with two balls says so.” Women on Twitter inspire me every day. 

The Big Picture Emerges

The fight in Brazil spurred Andreia Nobre to ask, Who benefits from all this?

The definition of what it means to be a woman cannot be changed to “anyone who identifies as a woman.” Women suffer discrimination in patriarchal systems because they are born female. It is the female body that can give birth. And our reproductive capacity is exploited by patriarchy. Gender identity does not prevent … pregnancy.

Answer Is No

I don’t have much left, and you can’t have it!

Andreia quotes Gallus Mag’s collection of different ways the Trans Movement contradicts the Women’s Movement. It’s hard to understand how so many don’t see the conflict. Many of us say we welcome transwomen in the bathroom and locker room. A few aren’t so sure about sports. 

But the chorus of mothers was deafening. In Brazil and India, France and Spain, they cried out from where feeling and embodiment intersect. To be a mother is to be the Earth and the Sun to a tiny life that only gets further and further away. To be a mother is to come face to face with the gory holiness of life and see if you flinch. It’s soaring joy and cavernous sorrow, sometimes simultaneously. 

Like all transcendental experiences, it’s indescribable. The few words we have represent the core experience of humanity – We were all born. But only women can get pregnant, and no change in vocabulary will change that.

And while liberalism is busy eating its own head, conservatives are taking control. Abortion access has been slowly rolled back for years, and these two trends collide in a devastating place for half the planet. You know, the female half.

Do It For The Good of MANkind

If birth control is limited and abortion access gone, pregnancy is inevitable. For half of us.

And if we can’t even identify ourselves, or each other, we are powerless. Broodmares again. The trend continues of tens of thousands of young women lining up to rid themselves of their femaleness, convinced their body is the source of their unhappiness.

Motherhood is foundational to the female identity. It’s a heaving reality, a distant memory, an iconic archetype. She is Mother Earth. She is the snarky comments you imagine in the head of the other mom in the waiting room as your kid runs around in a circle, again.

She is the eternal persistence of day following night. She is why we are here. 

Having babies is not our purpose. It’s our evolutionary starting point. We have much more to offer the world, but we have undermined ourselves by working so hard to join the Boy’s Club. It’s time to make them come to us.

Who Are Women?

But who are women when we’re at home? Docility was bred into us, wild women have fewer children. What we wouldn’t shed willingly was taken from us by force. Every available paradigm made a framework for the male gaze, we’ve lost the demarcations between needlework and domestic submission.

Flight Of Witches

Anyone remember how the next part goes?

When keeping offspring alive and running a homestead, the man will often be the one going out and getting stuff, whether it’s money or meat. Mainly because you are going to be on your ass having a baby for about a year. Then you have to take care of your little darling and, of course, Hubs can’t breastfeed. Er, excuse me, chestfeed.

This is just the reality of parenthood. Nature delegated certain tasks without asking us, how terribly inconsiderate of her! 

Feminism Needs Moms

Pushing this aside and joining the rat race has gotten us here. To a place where 51-year-old men can be declared mothers by the court in a country whose very existence is threatened by violent unrest. It’s a strange use of tax money, but it was overturned anyway. One of his lawyers called this “a scandalous example of a rigid, immobile justice system.” 

Nature is pretty unmoveable, and if pregnancy is inevitable and mandatory, we all know who will be sitting at home with Baby.

We have to face the spooky, bloody, vital force that is motherhood. Women must embrace our roots in rearing humanity and leverage that as the power it is. We have to push back while we still can.