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NOM Exec: Should Conservative Women Just Shut Up and Have Babies?

Rob Tisinai

May 3rd, 2013

Perhaps I’m overstating what NOM executive Jennifer Roback Morse said in an email blast today. I’ll just post it without further comment; all emphasis in the original and, no, this is not a parody:

The Social Conservative movement is dominated by women. Every audience I address, the ratio is at least two to one female, sometimes much more.

Is that a bad thing? And what can we do about it?

We want to have our babies, and be supported by our husbands in stable lifelong loving marriages. It is no surprise that we care about the social issues.

You and I know that men care too. They want their babies. And if they don’t want to get married as badly as we do, once they do get married, they are often more doggedly loyal and committed than we are. Divorce triples a man’s probability of suicide, but doesn’t affect women’s suicide risk at all!! The guys definitely care!

Feminists have marginalized men from these conversations. They called any men who disagreed with them “male chauvinist pigs.” Men came to feel they were not welcome to express reservations about the radical feminist agenda. And since men have a natural, almost instinctive desire to please women, protect women, and not anger them,
men shut down and shut up.


I think it is a bad thing!

Shutting up the men is a great defense. Getting men off the playing field leaves women with children alone to defend themselves against the radical women who view children as enemies to their ambitions.

So, what can we do about it?

Invite your husband or boyfriend, sons, nephews or fathers, to the First Ever Ruth Institute Gala Dinner and Live Auction. Why? Because this will not be your average “lovey dovey hearts and flowers, let’s all be nice to kids” event. (Though, there will be flowers on the table!)

WE ARE HAVING A VERY MASCULINE
MAN’S MAN AS OUR KEYNOTE SPEAKER.

 

You may have seen Tim Clemente on CNN, giving his expert opinion about capturing the Boston Marathon Bombers. He’s a former counter-terrorism agent for the FBI. That expertise got him into Hollywood, as a technical consultant on law enforcement and military issues. Producer, writer, actor and stuntman: those are just some of his roles in Hollywood.

Comments

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Timothy Kincaid
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

You know, that doesn’t sound like parody at all to me. Conservatives very often view the world differently from those who are not, and often their language and vocabulary reflect their perspectives.

Conservative women don’t feel discomfort with gender roles, they relish them. Gender roles define their place in life and give them a measure by which to evaluate and value their lives. “Am I a good mother? Do I provide a nice home for my husband? Do I cook well? Are my children well behaved? Are we a family of faith? Do we do our part in preserving tradition?”

Those who are not conservative may find these values to be oppressive and limiting. Conservatives often do not.

I think at times we are more sympathetic to cultural in foreign lands than to cultural differences in our own. We don’t berate women who wear a hajib or even a burka, but if local women value staying at home raising babies sometimes it sounds like we think they are deranged. Perhaps we could accept that not everyone values what we value and leave it at that.

Rob Tisinai
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Timothy, what struck me was that this piece is not about the decision of a woman to stay home and raise kids rather than be active, but is about the role of women in general. I certainly didn’t think my mother was deranged for being a stay at home Mom, but Roback’s piece goes beyond one woman’s choices.

Veleda_k
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

I am not demanding that these Conservative women value what I value. (Though since I value equality, justice, and human rights, perhaps I should.) But this is not a “live and let live” situation. Jennifer Roback Morse clearly has no intention of respecting feminists. (Or LGBT folks. Remember, this is NOM.) This is not about respecting stay at home mothers. The feminist community has had many intense and stimulating debates about that. This about Morse hating the idea that anyone might live differently than she does. This is about hating feminists and elevating men.

If I woman wants to wear hajib, I have no issue. If a woman wants to be a stay at home mother, I have no issue. If a woman dismisses feminists as “radical women who view children as enemies to their ambitions,” then yes, I have an issue.

Morse’s hatred of feminists should be seen as no more acceptable than her hatred of LGBT people.

Also:

“And since men have a natural, almost instinctive desire to please women, protect women, and not anger them”

Really? Many of the men I’ve met were plenty willing to anger me, as long as they got to make sexist comments.

Timothy Kincaid
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Veleda,

No, I understand and agree that Morse is devaluing feminists. That is not okay.

But as for the tone and attitude of the piece, I don’t think it is as peculiar as perhaps we see it.

Priya Lynn
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Timothy said “We don’t berate women who wear a hajib or even a burka, but if local women value staying at home raising babies sometimes it sounds like we think they are deranged.”.

No, I do berate people who want women to wear a hijab or burka and I don’t have a problem with women who value staying at home and raising babies – you’ve got it exactly backwards.

Marcus
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Please at least say the 20-point font wasn’t in the original.

A VERY MASCULINE MAN’S MAN? Someone is desperate to prove her heterosexuality.

Matt in TX
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

“Perhaps I’m overstating what NOM executive Jennifer Roback Morse said in an email blast today.”

Oh, come on. You know you are. That’s why you walk your headline back with the very first sentence of your actual post.

I wish the email from the Ruth Institute had been posted without that headline. I don’t see anywhere in the email evidence that Morse thinks conservative women should “shut up.” The email is absurd enough (especially the priceless VERY MASCULINE MAN’S MAN bit) without this kind of undeserved editorializing. I think Mr. Kincaid is right in that your post gives the appearance of being hostile to the very act of being, say, a homemaker or a stay-at-home mom. And, yes, one can be hostile to such women even when one’s own mother was one such woman.

Robert
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Priya Lynn, you said:

“No, I do berate people who want women to wear a hijab or burka and I don’t have a problem with women who value staying at home and raising babies – you’ve got it exactly backwards.”

But Timothy never said anything about berating people who want women to wear hijabs or Burkas, he spoke of women who choose to wear them. Why did you change his assertion, after quoting it? Do you berate those women? If not, then he was right on the first point, but wrong on the second.

In regards to the second issue, I don’t think liberals berate women who want to stay home, we just berate those who insist that women in the workforce is killing America and that somehow women who work are a detriment to men and society. We berate those who berate others for their choices, not for the choices the stay at homes make. And when the occasional odd duck pops up and you hear some liberal remark (as they did with Ann Romney) that a woman never worked, it isn’t a dig at their choice to stay at home, it’s usually in response to them making comments about what it means to work, or on workplace issues, Issues that they have no direct knowledge of, as they were never part of the out of the home work force.

Robert
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Priya Lynn, I wasn’t trying to start an argument, I am just curious as to what you were trying to get at since the argument you presented was different than the assertion. Are you saying that while you do not berate the women who choose to wear the hijab and burka, you do choose to berate those that force them to? If that was what you were saying, I agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly. Because the choice to do something on your own is a free choice, while the other is a forced action and not a choice at all.

Rob Tisinai
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Marcus: Yes, the huge font was in the orginal.

Matt: Well, yes, I do know I am. That’s the point of the ironic first sentence. But there is nothing in the post to indicate that I am hostile to “the very act of being, say, a homemaker.” And it’s true that, “And, yes, one can be hostile to such women even when one’s own mother was one such woman,” but given that I’ve stated I am not, what’s your point?

Priya Lynn
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Robert,I realized I posted something slightly different from what Timothy asserted and I wanted to be very careful about what I said and what his comment implied more so then what it literally said. I didn’t want to say I berate women who wear hijab or burka because the vast majority of those are coerced to do so, so berating them would be like berating a slave for being a slave.

What Timothy’s comment implied is that we don’t oppose the conservative womens’s traditional role of wearing a hijab or burka so its hypocritical to oppose the conservative women’s traditional role of staying home and raising children.

I wanted to make clear that I do oppose that conservative women’s role of coercing women to wear burkas or hijabs and thus symbolizing their second class citizenship. While some muslim women say they choose to wear the burka or hijab and do so willingly, they are distinctly in the minority and I oppose their wearing it as well because they are accepting and promoting the dominion of men over women. I oppose all women wearing hijab or burka whether willing or not, just as I oppose people being racist, anti-gay, or mysogynistic. However, I do not berate those who do so unwillingly but will berate those who do so willingly and attempt to justify it.

One may say we should not oppose the wearing of hijab or burka because some women do so willingly and feel they are honouring their relgious traditions and society by doing so. Once again, one has to ask which path harms the fewest people, opposing the wearing of these, or supporting the wearing of these. It should be clear to most people that the vast majority of women wearing such traditional muslim garb are forced to do so and this is an intentional marking of their inferiority to men. Far more people are helped by opposing the wearing of burka and hijab than are imposed upon by this opposition, therefore opposing women wearing these is the right thing to do.

I also resent the implication of Timothy’s comment that anyone thinks women staying at home to raise babies is deranged, that strikes me as a conservative straw man intended to mischaracterize the position of feminists in order to slander us. I don’t know any feminist, I’ve never heard anyone say a woman is deranged, or that there there is a problem with a woman choosing to stay at home and have babies. The feminist position is that its deranged to say this is the ONLY acceptable path for a woman but I don’t know of any woman, including myself who opposes any other woman chosing this path (as long as its her choice and not her husband’s)

Priya Lynn
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

I’ll add that women who freely (allegedly) chose to wear hijab or burka are accepting and promoting the idea that women are inferior to men and men should rule over them while a woman staying at home raising babies does not send any such message of inherent inferiority and justified subservience to men.

That is why I oppose women wearing hijab or burka even if they (allegedly) freely choose to do so but I do not oppose women staying at home to have babies and raise them if they freely choose to do so.

Timothy Kincaid
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

To clarify: I am not suggesting that Rob is hostile to stay at home women.

I’m just suggesting that we (people who share my values) can at times see the gender roles that are glowingly praised in Morse’s email as being peculiar, odd, or even weird in today’s world. But much of that weirdness is in our own eyes.

Regan DuCasse
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

I have as yet known any woman who WANTS to wear a burqua considering the impetus of it what never a matter of choice in the first place.
A hijab doesn’t have to be styled to cover the face, just the top of the head.
It’s Jen RoMo’s attacks on feminists and what they have achieved which is essentially ugly. Not all women are meant to be mothers and tend a home, and not all women have been lucky enough to afford to do so.
She’s slamming some rather difficult economic realities for most women. They don’t have much choice when it comes to being a full time homemaker.
More’s the point, she’s also exceptionally unrealistic when she generalizes men as protectors and respectful of women.
The divorce rate, domestic violence, the abandonment and neglect of children and most of all, the workplace gaps in promotion and earnings speaks to just the opposite.
She makes it sound like men and women are uniform in nature. When they are not. It’s being forced to BE uniform that’s caused all the problems.

Timothy Kincaid
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

Perhaps it’s better to address what I ACTUALLY said, not what you imagine that I’m implying.

And you have no basis for arguing that those women who choose to wear a hajib are in the minority. I suspect (we don’t have good data) that the majority do so simply as a matter of life and reflective of their beliefs.

My mother wore skirts and dresses her entire life. Her belief structure included the notion that pants were “man’s apparel” and thus not to be worn by a woman.

No one forced her into this belief. There’s no “alleged” about it.

Rob Tisinai
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Timothy, I will agree with you on some of the weirdness being in our own eyes. And a good bit of my reaction to anything Dr. Morse says is conditioned by everything else I know about her — this is the woman, after all, who didn’t just say that same-sex marriage is socialist plot, but actually published a full-on pamphlet about it. I’m probably easily triggered into regarding her work as ludicrous.

Still, you gotta love the great big font.

Timothy Kincaid
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

It is pretty funny. And, of course, the question that always leaps to my mind is, “sure, he’s a man’s man; but to which man does he belong to?”

Jarred
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Is it me, or did Morse imply that the only way for conservative women to get their men interested in these issues is to make the whole ordeal “manly?” Like by getting an “VERY MASCULINE MAN’S MAN” talk at an event you want the men-folk to attend?

Robert
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Timothy, I’d have to suggest that your assertion would be wrong, at least amongst the liberals i know, I’m not sure how you gay conservatives feel, but the folks I know have no issue with women who choose to stay at home and raise their children, rather than be in the workforce. It’s a perfectly natural thing for some women to want, and as suh is a good choice for them.

There is, however, a good many of us who do speak up when some of the stay at home crowd derides women working, as if all families can afford to have only one income producing member. Yes, there is sometimes a push back against a certain type of stay at home woman, and men that they are with. But it’s generally the ones who speak down to other women who are not afforded the ability to stay at home. THOSE kind of stay at home moms deserve the push back.

Not to mention that I personally know very many stay at home liberal women, the choice is not limited to a political party as your assertion implies.

TomTallis
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Maybe Roback-Morse should follow her own advice. Just sayin’…

Rob Tisinai
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Tom, that’s an interesting point. Dr. J (as the cool kids call her) would probably say that she can’t give up her responsibilities because radical feminists have intimidated men into silence, which “leaves women with children [like Dr. J] alone to defend themselves against the radical women who view children as enemies to their ambitions.”

Fascinating how she presents herself as hero and a victim at the same time. I have to wonder if this piece is just one big rationalization to herself about her own work life.

Robert
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

ROb-

She probably use the excuse that she highlighted in your article, the fact that the conservative movement is predominanatly women. Far right religous organizations generally don’t have issue with women leading in womens areas. They often have women who deal as leaders in issues revolving around home and family, including sunday school. So she can rationalize that she can lead because it’s mostly women. So if her call above is answered, then she might have to step down!! LOL. Trying to figure these types out is fairly simple. If they are screeching for cash, they are not representing God or religous beliefs from a true believers stance. These people are charlatans, plain and simple.

Timothy Kincaid
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Robert,

“… if local women value staying at home raising babies sometimes it sounds like we think they are deranged.”

I think that’s what you are calling “push back”.

But, by all means, go right ahead and tell me I’m wrong and that it never sounds that way. Be my guest. We’ll just agree to disagree about how that push back sounds to conservative women that it’s targeted towards.

Timothy Kincaid
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Rob, I think most of what Dr. J says is rationalization.

Timothy Kincaid
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Just like I think most of what Maggie says is based on her being an unwed mother.

Sandhorse
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

I get the impression she also has to fight to defend the ‘masculinity’ of their men. Since apparently, no actual man in their group can stick up for their gender.

Wouldn’t that be considered the epitome of emasculation?

“WE ARE HAVING A VERY MASCULINE MAN’S MAN AS OUR KEYNOTE SPEAKER.”

And who exactly is THAT comment addressed to?

Is that supposed to attracted the supposedly married ’stay-at-home’ moms? (is there something missing in their home life?) Or is it supposed to attract the husbands? (is there something missing in THEIR home life?)

Come to think of it, if you add it all up, maybe it’s for both.

Which also makes me wonder…

Are NOMs keynote speakers usually otherwise employed as hairdressers, and florists?

If I were one of NOMs former speakers, I imagine I would find this intimidating, if not an outright insult.

Priya Lynn
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

http://www.jesusandmo.net/2007/02/22/hijab/

Hunter
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Just remember that “Dr. Jen” has her PhD in economics. She’s an expert in sexuality and family issues because she reads a lot. I read a lot, too, in all sorts of different areas, but it would never occur to me to present myself as an expert in, say, particle physics or string theory.

I think Timothy, in his first comment, has made a good point, about stay at home wives/mothers feeling comfortable with gender roles, but I’d like to change the emphasis a bit: traditional gender roles and traditional family structures are safe, which is why they’re comfortable. We’re talking about people who find change and new things threatening. (As opposed to all us radicals who find new things intriguing — at least, I do.) That’s the basis of the whole contemporary conservative mindset, at least since the religious right started wagging the dog. (And that’s why hucksters like Tony Perkins and Jennifer Roback Morse have been as successful as they have: they play on fears that are very close to the surface.)

As for her descriptions of “conservative” women and “radical feminists,” there’s a certain amount of projection there. There’s a small grain of truth in some of it, but it’s a grain. Her assumption is that all men subscribe to her view, and the feminists have scared them off. (Never mind the laughable idea that women could scare off “real” men — it occurs to me that those are more interested in angering their peers, who are certainly not women.) It’s what she’d like to do with everyone who disagrees with her — so far, all she gets is laughter.

And as usual, when looking at something Roback Morse has said or written, I shudder to think what her thought processes must be like.

Sandhorse
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

I can hear the conversation at home now:

Wife: Darling, I’d like you to attend the next NOM GAYla with me.

Husband: Sweetheart, the last thing I wanna do is go to a flowery party with some girly-man talking about buttsex.

Wife: Oh no dear, I’ve been assured that it’s going to be a lumber jack talking about buttsex.

Husband: Oh My!

(P.S. It’s ok to be Takei)

Hunter
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Oops, that should be “those are more interested in not angering their peers. . .”

Timothy Kincaid
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Hunter, I agree that gender roles provide safety to those who fear change.

Lord_Byron
May 3rd, 2013 | LINK

Just to comment I do find that it is more likely for a group that pushes for “traditional” gender roles to berate women who decide to have a job outside the home or who can’t afford to stay at home rather than the other way around. Personally, if a women chooses to stay at home that’s up to her, but I feel that you should not push or pressure a woman to stay at home.

I absolutely hate those groups that force onto kids what they want them to be from birth. The quiverfull movement is one such group that does not give women a choice on whether they will stay at home or get a career or really any choice. The system is set up that without a husband they can’t do anything.

For me the traditional gender roles are weird and strange in our society. I thought that we had moved beyond the expectations of the 1950s. More people would be happy if they didn’t expect the man to the be the sole income and the woman to stay at home.

Hunter
May 4th, 2013 | LINK

A footnote to my previous comment: I’m using “traditional” to mean “what they are used to.” I’m not going to get into all the traditions there have been around gender and families. Just assume that it’s a lot more complex than the Dr. Jens of the world are willing to admit, and the idea of the “nuclear family” is fairly recent.

And Lord Byron — Most of us have moved beyond the expectations of the 1950s. What we’re hearing from in these sorts of screeds is the wailing and rending of garments of the retrograde.

Robert
May 4th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy, I was responding to your second assertions, where you clarified the first statement. You said:

“I’m just suggesting that we (people who share my values) can at times see the gender roles that are glowingly praised in Morse’s email as being peculiar, odd, or even weird in today’s world. But much of that weirdness is in our own eyes.”

And I would stilll say you are wrong. You are assigning things YOU feel or see to other people. No one I know feels this way about stay at home moms. No one I know sees them as peculiar, odd, or even weird in todays society. That is a feeling that YOU might have, but I think your suggestion that “WE” feel that way is an assertion of the way YOU feel being assigned to a large swsath of individuals. But like I said, it might be the way you gay conservatives feel, but the liberals I know do not ascribe to any of the motivations or beliefs you place on them.

But good try that you would go back to your original position, and not the clarified one that I responded to. Why clarify what you are saying if you are going to fall back to the original comment when challenged? I only posted that comment after YOUR clarification of what you said you mean. And I do think your assertion is WRONG.

Not to mention you don’t seem to have your reading comprehension turned on. I expressly explained what I thought the push back was, and that was against people (women and men) who belittle or disparage a woman because she can not or does not want to stay at home. Defending those womens choice is the push back, and if you think defending women under attack by some of these people is deranged, then you might have a deeper issue than can be addressed.

The peole I know would stand up and defend women like Sandra Fluke who fight for womens rights and then get called whore by some of this crowd of conservatives, AND we stand up for people like my sister who is a stay at home mom because she had that opportunity.

Marcus
May 4th, 2013 | LINK

My own experience (which isn’t representative, necessarily) is that there’s no strong liberal-conservative divide on working wives/mothers. Among the people I’ve met, the divide is more between women and men.

Timothy Kincaid
May 4th, 2013 | LINK

Robert

I will give your comment all the thought and consideration it deserves. Have a lovely weekend.

jerry
May 4th, 2013 | LINK

I think the people who have been raised to see men and women as having gender specific roles ignore the fact that before our species had the wheel and fire we still had two genders and women had to scamper just as lively as the men folk when a tiger or bear tried to get them for a nice lunch. Pregnant women survived when they could climb a tree faster than the bear or tiger could get to them. When we were hunter/gatherers no woman had the luxury of being a stay at home mom. And while my little woman may not be able to hoist a hundred pound sack on her shoulder and haul it around, has anyone ever established the fact that it was a man who invented the wheel?

I can see two gender specific activities at this point in time. Women produce eggs which get fertilized and after gestation produce babies. Men produce the sperm to do the fertilization. So far that has not changed, but it could.

Timothy Kincaid
May 4th, 2013 | LINK

Jerry

“…has anyone ever established the fact that it was a man who invented the wheel?”

Good point!!

Robert
May 4th, 2013 | LINK

Well, Timothy, that’s mighty persnickety, you were the one to make a blanket assertion about assigning intent to a whole lot of people and you were wrong. Glad that doesn’t bother you. One of these days you’ll surprise me and actually admit when you are wrong. But I’m not holding my breath.

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