{the life} An imaginary date with Ann Romney

by Rachel on August 29, 2012

Team Romney is seriously courting the women these days, so last night at the RNC, Ann Romney was sent in to pander to us. (They’ve given up on me as a black person, but my ladyparts meant it was still worth a shot.) Ann was on a mission to help Mitt woo us ladies like he wooed her so many years ago. Here’s what she had to say to us on his behalf last night.

(watch video on Politico)

And here’s the imaginary conversation I had with her during this sort of first-date-with-Mitt-Romney-by-proxy.

Ann: “I want to talk to you tonight not about politics and not about party. And while there are many important issues we’ll hear discussed in this convention and throughout this campaign, tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts…Tonight I want to talk to you about love.”

Me: I’m so glad you knew that I didn’t want to talk politics with you, Ann. I totally wanted our conversation to be like a rom-com! Let’s talk about our feelings.

Ann: “I want to talk to you about that love so deep only a mother can fathom it — the love we have for our children and our children’s children.”

Me: Hey, wait, a minute, I thought you were pandering to me! But I don’t have kids and my kids don’t have kids! I’m going to tell myself that you don’t think that I’m not a woman if I don’t have kids, but if you’re pandering to me, you have to talk to me about a love I can fathom!

Ann: “…Or that couple who would like to have another child, but wonder how will they afford it.”

Me: Yes! Or that couple who doesn’t want to have another child, but wonders how they’ll afford birth control! Let’s talk about them too! Wait…why aren’t you talking about them too?

Ann: “And if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It’s how it is, isn’t it? It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right. It’s the moms of this nation — single, married, widowed — who really hold this country together. We’re the mothers, we’re the wives, we’re the grandmothers, we’re the big sisters, we’re the little sisters, we’re the daughters. You know it’s true, don’t you? You’re the ones who always have to do a little more…I’m not sure if men really understand this, but I don’t think there’s a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better! And that’s fine. We don’t want easy.”

Me: Wait, we don’t want easy? Oh. I mean, I’ll be honest, I kinda did want easy, or at least, you know, not a million times harder than a man’s, but…OK. I’ll join you in accepting women’s shitty lot in life. It appears to have to worked out for you quite nicely. You look lovely tonight. What’s your secret? Oh, a special cream made of wealth and a lot of shutting the fuck up and listening to men and their cherry-picked misogynistic Bible verses? Hmm…do they sell it at Sephora?

Ann: “And the big things — the good jobs, the chance at college, that home you want to buy — just get harder. Everything has become harder.”

Me: I know, right? Like, just a couple weeks ago, I was reading about how it’s so hard to get an abortion in Texas, women are going to Mexico! Outrageous, right?! I’m so glad Mitt wants to make taking control of my reproductive life — which affects getting a good job, a chance at college, etc. — even easier. Oh, well, yeah, he’s hoping to make taking control of my reproductive life even easier for a bunch of dudes I’ve never met and not for me, but…someone’s taking control so I guess that’s good?

Ann: “When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together. I was an Episcopalian. He was a Mormon.”

Me: ROM-COM TIME!!! I’m listening…

Ann: “All at once I’m 22 years old, with a baby and a husband who’s going to business school and law school at the same time, and I can tell you, probably like every other girl who finds herself in a new life far from family and friends, with a new baby and a new husband, that it dawned on me that I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. That was 42 years ago. Now we have five sons and 18 grandchildren and I’m still in love with that boy I met at a high school dance.”

Me: ANN! You gave us the “meet-cute,” you gave us the happy ending…where’s the rest of the movie? What happened in those 42 years?! As someone who finds herself in a new life, far from family and friends, without a new baby but almost with a new husband, please please please tell me how Mitt is going to make this situation easier for me! I need to know how you got from there to 18 grandkids and I need to know how you did it while working outside the home and without nannies and a shit-ton of money, because I have no idea how I’m supposed to pull that off. You owe us a montage here!

Ann: “But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment: This man will not fail.”

Me: He will not fail at what? It’s not that I think you’re lying, exactly…I just want to be sure we have the same goals. Can you just…clarify that one for me?

Ann: “I LOOOOOVE YOU WOMEN!!!!”

Me: Um…define “women.” And “love.” I just…I feel like there’s an asterisk here or something that I’m missing.

After she gently walked me home like Mitt taught her to, I concluded that she’s nice and all but just not my type; I wouldn’t go on a second date with her or her husband. And not just because she took me to the most expensive restaurant in town, wouldn’t let me order something inexpensive (something about how I’d regret it forever if I didn’t get the steak), and then stuck me with the bill and said “What? You made the choice to come on this date with me and you knew ordering steak was a potential outcome, so now you have to pay for it for the next 18 years”…but because so much of what she said to me made me feel really, really shitty and sad and angry. And I know that’s how she thinks women are supposed to feel, but I just don’t want to feel that way.

How’d you feel about her attempt to court the ladies?

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen August 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I love you for this.

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2 Angie August 29, 2012 at 2:07 pm

This is amazing and I completely agree with everything you wrote. I have harsher things to say about her and her husband, but your words were much more eloquent :)

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3 Jennifer August 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

What bugs me the most is that they are treating women like this alien race. To me the disconnect is that the purpose of Ann’s speech was to get women’s votes. So all of the policy speeches by the heavyweights were for the men, and women get a speech about the Romney’s marriage? The pandering to women was so heavy handed, it was patronizing.

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4 Rachel August 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Right?! Like, no wonder you don’t have women on your side, if that’s what you think of women! And I just found myself getting SO PISSED that Mitt couldn’t speak to women himself.

UGHGGUHGHGHGHGHGHG.

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5 megan August 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm

yes… yes yes yes.

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6 Kendra August 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm

It really bothers me that the speech is all emotional expression and is completely lacking in any stated facts. It sends the message to me that either she has no basis for anything she’s saying except for the fact that she loves the man, or she thinks that we don’t need to hear facts and specifics about what he brings to the table.

Also, what about the women out there who are not married, do not want children, and who are not family focused? I guess she didn’t want to talk to them.

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7 Manon August 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm

A-MEN.

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8 Alison August 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Yes! Love this.

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9 Emily August 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more!! I felt exactly the same way watching her speak last night. Just her tone towards women angered me so much.

I’ve recently discovered your blog and I love it!!! I thought I was the only person who remembered Homefront. It’s really great. Thank you for sharing.

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10 tina August 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Just trying to get the female votes.
Did you see what she said about Modern Family and how the tv series creator responded? Hilarious!

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11 Rachel August 29, 2012 at 3:25 pm

No! Link please?

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12 Bess August 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm
13 Rachel August 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Ohhhh that is so awesome.

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14 Allison August 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I almost never comment to blogs…but I’m compelled to comment here because you hit every point right on the nose! I’m older than you and thus so encouraged that younger women can see through the b*&^ right through to the truth. Thanks –

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15 Shannon August 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm

YES. YES. YES. Thank you, Rachel. This was brilliant.

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16 Kristin August 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I didn’t watch her “speech”. I’m a military wife with naturally conservative values. HOWEVER, I’m not all about being a sheep and following along with whatever any conservative candidate has to say. I believe in science, I don’t believe in submitting to your husband just because he’s your husband (says the Bible). This makes me feel like she was totally talking down to women, and I believe a woman has the right to choose what the heck happens to her body. We’d actually make pretty good decisions if you’d let us!

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17 Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep August 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm

If those are your values, can you tell me exactly what makes you a Conservative?

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18 Jennifer August 31, 2012 at 8:15 am

Really? Because she believes in science and not submitting to her husband she can’t be a conservative? There a a lot more facets to being a conservative or a liberal than those. On top of that, she didn’t say she was a conservative, she said she had “naturally conservative values”.

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19 Meghan B. August 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm

There have actually been several minority speakers that the mainstream media has chosen not air, including Mia Love, a black woman.

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20 Rachel August 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Yep! Here’s a link to Mia Love’s speech for those who are interested: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/gop-house-candidate-mia-love-impresses-rnc-crowd-with-fiery-speech/

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21 Manon August 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I don’t know what else to say besides JACKPOT. LOVE this. Now excuse me while I spam all the social media world with it.

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22 nikkiana August 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I didn’t watch her speech, but of all of responses I’ve read… I think yours was my favorite. <3

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23 Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep August 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm

The only reason she made that speech last night is because Mitt is SEVERELY lacking in the “likability” polls. I guess she thought if she talked about the man she’s loved since that high school dance, we’d all like him a little more. But she hardly talked about him. She talked about the economic hardships of women, something she knows absolutely nothing about. I give her credit for being a great speaker, but it was all disgustingly arrogant.

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24 Rachel August 29, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Agree on all points!

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25 Rachel August 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm

You are constantly winning me over. BRILLIANT! So true and I am so happy to see some awesome gals who aren’t blinded by all this bulls*it!

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26 Hannah August 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Rachel’s baaaack!

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27 Liz August 29, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Love this. What bothers me about this is that every noun she uses to define women is in relation to someone else: “mother”, “wife”, etc. We are nothing, in her eyes, except whom we nurture.

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28 Rachel August 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Great point!

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29 Jess-ThatJessGal August 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Amen. I actually feel more repelled from the Romney ticket now that I did before watching her speech. Oh and as for her parting words of “You can trust Mitt. He loves America. He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance. Give him that chance. Give America that chance”….well, I work with teenagers all day, and most of them love America, and I bet some of them even get their dates home safely from the homecoming dance, but there is no way in hell I’d vote for them for President of the United States, so why should I vote for Mitt on the same grounds? Hell, on second thought, I’d vote for my students WAY before this year’s GOP Candidate.

PS. Why couldn’t she talk about issues? If we “aren’t that dumb” then don’t talk to me like I am. Thanks.

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30 Chase August 29, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I didn’t watch it because A) I made up my mind a long time ago and B) I have better things to do with my time, but I love the way you had this first date with her :) Very clever

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31 Hayley August 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Yes. Thumbs way up to this.

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32 Angie August 30, 2012 at 10:13 am

Beyond what Ann Romney said, what I found deeply disturbing is how others reacted. I’m not at all referring to this post but rather what I saw all across twitter. People calling her w**** and s*** and c***. Agree or disagree with her views, I think we can all agree that those reactions are inappropriate and proof that when it comes to insulting women, people so often revert to the easy attacks on sexuality that have NOTHING to do with what was actually said. I think that having an open dialogue about politics and views is incredibly important but only fruitful if it remains respectful.

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33 Alyssa @ Don't Look Down August 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm

This is a great point and something I’ve definitely noticed before in the political race. My boyfriend (conservative) and I had several words over him referring to Michelle Bachman as a c**t (a word I already hate and am strongly against the use of). If you don’t like someone’s politics or opinions then you can articulate your thoughts on why instead of just calling her names.

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34 Lori August 30, 2012 at 10:35 am

Aaaaand I couldn’t possibly DISagree more. Wow.

Not that I blame you, or any other liberal. Everything one side hears from the other side is colored in doubt, skepticism, and at sometimes pure loathing. That goes for both sides.

Was the angle calculated? Of course. Did I think the woman was speaking from her heart? Yes, I do. You may think she is some vapid zombie, a slave to her husband, do as she’s told, not representative of women. I’m sorry but I’m not sorry: some women are pro-life. Some women are mothers. Some women, like me, didn’t mind the speech at all. She was called as a character witness for her husband, not as a political powerhouse. How I read: “He will not fail”? He didn’t fail Ann, so the promises he’s making to the country, the way he is promising to lead: he just won’t fail that.

Funny thing is: if she would have given you a montage, no matter how sweet and honest it would have been, you would have found fault with it.

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35 Christa August 30, 2012 at 10:47 am

You really think Ann Romney wants women to feel shitty and sad and angry? It’s politics, people. It’s all a big game and both sides are playing to win. I’m not a Romney supporter, nor am I an Obama supporter. I’m still waiting for my “party” to exist — the one with conservative fiscal values and progressive social ideals. To me, your writing here just plays into what both parties want us all to do — pitch people against each other.

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36 Lori August 30, 2012 at 11:42 am

YES. So much better than what I said.

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37 Jessamyn August 30, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I think there has to be room for respectful disagreement–there has to be space for people like Rachel (and many many others) to say “your view of women leaves me out” and “you do not speak for me.” That isn’t pitching people against each other–that is calling out the fact that in this country, we have real disagreements and real policy debates. There isn’t a “right” answer–and pandering in this way, especially to women, is offensive to many of the women who have ideas about politics, social policy, and fiscal policy, not to mention their bodies and their choices. I feel like what Rachel is trying to point out is the way Ann Romney is trying to encourage women not to participate in the substantive debates facing our country. She’s allowed to be pro-life and fiscally conservative–let’s talk about that and why she thinks that her husband’s policies are best for women! Let Mitt Romney talk to women about that as well, for that matter. We can have some real conversations about that…and we might disagree, and as long as we do so respectfully, that’s okay. But what I find distasteful is the particular tone of her speech that silences substantive debates in favor of emotional platitudes that, as Rachel points out, ultimately mean nothing.

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38 April August 31, 2012 at 8:55 am

I totally agree
AS a woman I WANT RESPECT. respect that I”m intelligent enought to make my own decisions with or without a man! I have value that these MEN..conservatives are not addressing. Personally I’m Pro-Life I do not believe in abrtions for MYSELF. MY choice, MY LIE but I’m not crazy enough to try to FORCE my views or postions on any OTHER woman.. I dont know their struggle nor do I walk in their shoes. I beleiev in options and tha all woman should have options.
More importantly I just dont like that middle age RICH Men are trying to decide whats right for woman- Black white blue or purple.. A Man will never know the childbirth experience, nor will he bond with a child to lose it before its born, or have to make that heart wrenching decision to terminate a fetus or die trying to give birth. AS a woman I Alone (my family- privately) should make those choices, and every available option should be there for me to make an informed decision.
I think its mighty funny that they want to restrict womans right to choose their own reproductive health, but they refuse to castrate, force sterilize or inhibe convicted sex offenders. They get better treatment that us TAX PAYING women! SMDH

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39 Lori August 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Very well said.

I realize it’s politics, and neither side is perfect, but I’ve started tuning out and am so tired of it all. The Republicans keep tearing down Obama, Romney doesn’t even pay his fair share of taxes, while he makes oodles of money – expecting those who aren’t as fortunate to pick up the slack. Then he wants to take away health care and services that would help the country as a whole and make choices for us? I’m sure he’ll be raising taxes too – ours, not his own. People seem to have forgotten that it was Bush/Republicans who left this huge mess on Obama’s plate to clean up. As far as abortion rights go – I understand being pro life, but then don’t have one. Don’t take the rights away from other women. It’s not like it’s an easy decision for any woman to make. Sorry for the rant, but I’m having a hard time getting on board with all of this.

The bottom line really is, I’m with Christa – I wish both parties would start working together instead of trying to bring down the other side, acting like spoiled children, expecting everything to be my way or the highway. Our country is better than that, and if we are going to make progress, we have to work in the best interest of everyone, but I don’t feel like this will never happen.

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40 Kavi August 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I find it troublesome that Ann seems to accept and condone sexism, and even more so that there are so many women in this country who share her views.

On a lighter note, Comedy Central has a “Ann Romney Speech or Taylor Swift Lyrics?” game that’s pretty humorous! http://www.indecisionforever.com/blog/2012/08/29/ann-romney-speech-or-taylor-swift-lyrics?xrs=synd_twitter

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41 Alyssa @ Don't Look Down August 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I watched Ann’s speech and like you, feel like she missed a huge chunk of women. I was actually hoping she would talk a bit about why Mitt would be good for women and was disappointed in her speech. I’ve not doubted Mitt’s character, but that doesn’t mean I agree with him.

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42 Emily August 31, 2012 at 1:40 am

Love your post, and put it on my facebook page to share with others. She makes me so angry there is no way I could express myself as respectfully as you have, so thank you! I am also angry that I see other women endorsing this crap and fighting for these outdated stances on the role of women and what we should and shouldn’t be allowed to do. I feel like I’m stuck in some parallel universe, or at the very least, the good ole 1950s. Say this type of thing can’t really happen. It is 2012, almost 2013.

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43 Rachel August 31, 2012 at 9:30 am

Thanks for the share! And I agree, I feel so overwhelmed and helpless and like this can’t be real. It’s really frustrating.

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44 Kat August 31, 2012 at 8:25 am

Thank you for saying the things I want to, but can’t say as well as you do.

What women are voting for them?!?!

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45 Rain August 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Well we can see she is trying to get the ladies to vote! But just not a very successful ploy….oddly worded and you are right, more offensive and meaningless than it should have been.

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46 Dori September 4, 2012 at 11:02 am

I really loved the way you framed this. You’re speaking for a lot of women who felt a little… disappointed, maybe? …. by this speech. I get what she is trying to do, and I agree that she is a key person to try and make her husband seem more likeable. But I’m still waiting to find out why exactly we *should* like him. More substance needed. Great post, Rach!

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47 Dreama Landry September 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

As an older christian, republican woman, I am offended by the Republican/Tea Party and their views on women. I haven’t seen this much of an effort to turn back the clock on women’s rights (and voters rights) since the early sixties.
By the way, I believe in equal rights for everyone. I have friends, neighbors, co-workers, and relatives that are gay. I may not like what they do behind closed doors – that’s between them and their God. Who am I to judge?
Young Ladies, I leave you with one comment: When one group of people [Republicans/Tea Party] attempts to impact the rights of another group [women], it opens the door to impact the rights of all other groups [gays, elderly, poor, black, latino] that are not like them [WEALTHY].
VOTE wisely this year. Our lives depend on it.

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