On Mothers Day 2012, Cease in Hostilities in the War on Women and Mommy Wars

For the past few weeks, there’s been a strange pop-culture discussion labeled “Mommy Wars” and a hot new debate topic for the 2012 elections some people are calling the “War on Women.”

Really, what is the deal? In light of the recent debates, I have a simple modest proposal: Drop the war on women and mothers and let’s get back to the roots of Mother’s Day and call for peace. According to Strong Families, Mother's Day was originally founded as an “antiwar rallying cry.” 

The Mommy Wars 

As Jill Smokler said, “It’s time to end the Mommy Wars,” but first, what were they all about? Did you see that TIME Magazine Cover? The photo depicts Jamie Lynne Grumet, breast-feeding her 3-year-old son. Grumet subscribes to a type of parenting called “attachment parenting.” According to an Attachment Parenting website, “The long-range vision of Attachment Parenting is to raise children who will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection. It eliminates violence as a means for raising children, and ultimately helps to prevent violence in society as a whole.”

Instead of debating and discussing various philosophies of parenting the debate has been reduced to breast-feeding versus bottles. In my opinion, I don’t care, do what you need to do, its up to you, as the mama. As Smokler said on breast-feeding a 3-year-old, “Most mothers wouldn't. But, that's not the point. The point is that we should not allow a magazine to divide us like this.” She added, “let's not criticize one another's choices.”

War on Women

Meanwhile, Hilary Rosen, political consultant and analyst, commented that GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, had “never worked a day in her life” despite the fact that Ann is a stay-at-home mother of five. Obviously, a firestorm ensued. Even President Obama weighed in, saying that there is, “no tougher job than being a mom.”

Though she apologized, Rosen also said, “This is not about Ann Romney… This isn’t about whether Ann Romney or I or other women of some means can afford to make a choice to stay home and raise kids. Most women in America, let’s face it, don’t have that choice.”

Articles such as, “‘War On Women’ 2012: Amid Controversy, Women Ponder How They Became Campaign Issue," and MoveOn’s “Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP's War on Women,” discuss the various policy implications for women in the 2012 elections.

Ultimately, questions come down to these basic policy platforms: Who will pay for insurance, contraception and health services for women? Who will support equal pay? Will states continue to think of new ways to decrease women’s rights? These, and many other valid questions, have been drowned between breast-feeding debates and staying-at-home versus working.

The War Among Women

The “Mommy wars” and “War on women” have now evolved into the war among women, as Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson explains, the war on women, “has given way to the war among women, waged by women on one another.”

The debate has slightly expanded from breast-feeding to staying at home, but it has taken a step backward, and “drowned out any discussion about the issues raised by the war on women” As Carlson says, “The war on women could end someday. The mommy wars are endless.”

I'd like to believe that these debates have left us with some positives. As Rebecca Traister argues in her op-ed in the Washington Post, "How the ‘war on women’ quashed feminist stereotypes" one positive has come out of all this is a new understanding of feminism.

Let’s all call a truce, end the wars and focus on more important struggles for justice in celebration of all of our mothers for Mother’s Day. I’ll be sending my Mama the card that says “Onward.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Lakshmi Sarah

Born and raised in California, Lakshmi is an educator and journalist. With roots in Kochi, Prague and San Francisco she divides her time between the places she feels at home. Over the past few years, Lakshmi has worked with newspapers and magazines from Gaborone, Botswana to Los Angeles, California. Lakshmi has several years of experience working with the National Student Leadership Conference. In 2009 and 2010 she directed the NSLC program on Journalism & Mass Communication at American University in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Pitzer College in California where she studied Global Communications and Studio Arts. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Journalism, Media and Gobalization in Aarhus, Denmark.

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