Ken Connor

Last week, Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen provoked outrage from the Right when she suggested that Ann Romney is not qualified to speak about women's economic concerns because "she's never worked a day in her life." Many Democrats, the President, First Lady, and Vice President among them, moved quickly to distance themselves from these sentiments, declaring Rosen's comments out of line. While Rosen dismissed the kerfuffle surrounding her comments as an overreaction and politics as usual, her offhanded, mean spirited remarks about Ann Romney reveal a troubling problem at the heart of mainstream feminist ideology.

While most feminists would insist that they support any and all life choices for women, Hillary Rosen's comments reveal a certain hypocrisy when it comes to a woman's "right to choose." Her dismissive comments about Mrs. Romney indicate that the only value she assigns to women's work is the dollar value determined by the marketplace. No credit or value is awarded for the care and nurture of children or the support of a husband who is laboring away in the workforce. It's almost as if women who embrace these traditional domestic vocations are viewed as second class citizens by their "enlightened" feminist counterparts.

Rosen's comments also ignore the enormous difficulty of the homemaker's work. Unlike the average professional environment, which is fairly predictable, orderly, and easily navigable, the typical American home today is a case study in barely controlled chaos. Cooking meals, cleaning house, changing diapers, giving baths, ironing clothes, gardening, helping with homework, and maintaining the family's schedule is exhausting work. So exhausting in fact, that many women prefer the professional working world, where they receive financial compensation and formal recognition over and above the merely psychological and emotional rewards of homemaking. It is precisely because housework and raising children is so hard that many prefer to work outside the home and subcontract their domestic responsibilities, including the raising of their children, to others. Of course, many women (both married and single) are forced to juggle both domestic and professional responsibilities with little to no outside help or assistance, a Herculean feat to say the least.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.