I, as many others did, loved Michelle Obama’s speech. It was, as others have mentioned, amazing and brilliant. But I noticed something else–she is all about being mom-in-chief. Now, there’s nothing wrong with motherhood. I, myself, hope to someday be a mother. But I’m not, and more importantly, even when I am a mother, it will not be all I am, and it is certainly not all Michelle O. is. Slate had a wonderful post, written by Katherine Lanpher about how single, childless women are, quite frankly, forgotten. I don’t fault Michelle for this; rather, I consider it a problem of our society that we can’t talk about people who are not parents, and especially women who are not mothers. What bothers me about this is that it, like calling reproductive health issues “women’s issues,” limits women to our uteruses, to our reproductive capacity. It limits us to being simply a vessel for brining new life into the world. Which, while it is miraculous when women are heroic enough to bring babies into the world, is not fully representative of all the amazing things we can bring into the world, nor all the amazing things we can do in the world. Michelle has worked as a lawyer, successful in her own rite, and she made more money than her husband; she is part of a new breed of women, one where women are more educated and more successful than their male counterparts (which I am so psyched to read more about in Hanna Rosin’s forthcoming book, The End of Men, and was initially discussed in her Atlantic article in the summer of 2010). Yet, when she mentioned in her speech that for dates with her husband, she could see only a dinner OR a movie, because she was an “exhausted mom,” she left out a word–working. Because part of the reason she was tired was because she was working, not just because she was a mom. It is frustrating to know that she really can’t mention that, because the demographic she’s going for isn’t that, but people who still see an ideal world as one where women and men have their clear and very different places, and women’s “place” is in the home. I find it restrictive, and not very representative of what I see around me. But what do I know, I’m just a progressive, urban heathen.
The other issue is religion. Originally, the democratic platform didn’t have anything mentioned about God. But after criticism and accusations that the Democrats were taking God out of the government (what? We’re not a Christian nation???!), they had to put it back in. I am still frustrated as ever regarding religion and its place in society. I do see that it seems to have helped (and continue to help) a whole lot of people through and out of difficult times. I think that’s a good thing. But we do not live in a theocracy, and the rallying cries about how the Democrats are ruining the world with their birth control that somehow (seriously?) thwarts and limits religious freedom is just ludicrous. Your religious freedom does not cover you pushing your religion on others. Because that infringes on their religious freedom. Get it? No? Well, I guess we’ll just have to keep fighting for our freedom from religion.
I’m pretty tired, so my apologies if my thoughts aren’t entirely coherent. That’s all for now. More later. Or sooner!