Today I met a woman who believed, “Women were made by God to be homemakers.” During the 2012 election someone spotted a car with a Mitt Romney bumper sticker and we all discussed it for weeks like it was a Big Foot sighting. I’m not used to confronting this type of rhetoric.
She had this whole logic to her point of view that reminded me of world building in fantasy novels. I mean, yes, Harry Potter can talk to snakes because Voldemort can talk to snakes. It’s all very consistent and makes sense. Except for no it doesn’t because it’s pretend.
Mainly I spent the conversation nodding and smiling because here’s what I think she actually meant: She feels she was made to be a homemaker. That’s her calling and she doesn’t think it should be mocked or devalued as old-fashioned. On that point I agree with her. Being a homemaker is just as valid an occupation as CEO or doctor or whatever else impresses people.
Here’s why I found her argument so unsettling: “All women ever have X characteristics on account of their lady parts” is a profoundly disturbing starting point to a belief system. Everything from “more women in leadership will fix all our problems because women are compassionate team players” to “women need to stay home with the children because they are nurturing” just makes me feel itchy.
I felt frustrated listening to her. I didn’t say anything at all because given that she’s in Mitt Romney = Big Foot land it seemed thoroughly unkind to say anything acerbic.
I’ve spent a good chunk of today wondering: Does she *actually* believe this down to her core? Like she sees Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel and thinks, “GOD WANTS THEM IN HOUSE SLIPPERS!” Or is she repeating an argument she’s taken as a given her whole life so it’s like she’s repeating the lyrics of a song that everyone knows but no one really listens to?
“All the other kids with their pumped up kicks. You better run, better run. Outrun my gun.” Catchy. But also not a “fun song.”