Monday, February 14, 2011

I Agree With Sarah Palin

Rick "man on dog" Santorum is a "knuckle-dragging Neanderthal."

Not that I'd put it quite like that, of course. Sexist would probably be more appropriate.

Speaking of Palin's absence from the Conservative Political Action Conference this past weekend, Santorum opined, “I don't live in Alaska and I'm not the mother to all these kids and I don't have other responsibilities that she has."

Sarah Palin is a public figure who is the mother of five children. Rick Santorum is a public figure who is the father of seven children, six of whom are 18 or younger.

Rick Santorum is a "defender" of the "traditional family." Not surprisingly, unlike his own status as a parent, Santorum's statement evidences a worldview where Palin's status as a parent degrades her competency in the public arena.

Many "marriage defenders" who are really into the "traditional family" vehemently object to gender neutral references to parenting. Replacing the words "mother" and "father" with "parent one" and "parent two," they believe, is an assault on what it means to be mothers and fathers.

Notice, then, how even though Santorum does have "all these kids," he is careful to note that he is not "the mother" to them. He is the father, and that carries with it different assumptions, responsibilities, and implications. Indeed, whilst suggesting that Palin's parenthood interferes with her public life the relationship between his own parenthood and public activities doesn't even have to be implicated, because it's just assumed that dads don't have to make any difficult work-childraising choices."

Motherhood and fatherhood are two complementary roles that are equally important to a child's upbringing, or so it goes. When we understand this, Santorum's statement comes as no surprise.

It is helpful, though, in demonstrating the false pedestal on which so many "marriage defenders" place motherhood and women. It's awesome and amazing and special when women are mothers, they say. Well, as long as they don't try to do the things that fathers do.

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