Somehow, we're still talking about soccer moms, which is the title of the Wikipedia article I was reading when I came across that link.
The term came into widespread use near the time of the 1996 Republican National Convention. The first use of the term in a news article about that election appeared in the July 21, 1996 edition of The Washington Post. E. J. Dionne, the article's author, quoted Alex Castellanos (at the time a senior media advisor to Bob Dole) suggesting that Bill Clinton was targeting a voting demographic whom Castellanos called the "soccer mom." The soccer mom was described in the article as "the overburdened middle income working mother who ferries her kids from soccer practice to scouts to school." The article suggested that the term soccer mom was a creation of political consultants. Castellanos was later quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying "She's the key swing consumer in the marketplace, and the key swing voter who will decide the election."Clinton, of course, won the election, perhaps because he wrapped those "soccer moms" around his little, crooked... finger.
And ever since, political consultants and candidates, have tried to milk the emotions of the voters they call "moms." This has always irritated me. Though I have 2 sons and have spent a good portion of my life's energy caring for them in all sorts of ways, I have never decided how to vote by thinking of myself as a mom. I don't think I have ever said "I'm a mom" or "as a mother" in framing a question about politics. If a politician addressed me as a mother — and especially as a soccer mom — as if my political thinking revolved around conventional housewifely activities, I would regard him or her as sexist. Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.
What got me searching the term "soccer mom" this morning was a blog post — I could see in Site Meter that it linked to me — insulting me over what I'd written the other day about the newly coined term "birth control moms." You may remember that I'd noted that the term is "distractingly oxymoronic: if you use birth control, it's to avoid motherhood." I went on to criticize politicos who patronize women by calling them "moms" and treating them as if they "emote and intuit their way through elections."
Since the blogger is a lefty blogger, and lefty bloggers stereotype me as a righty blogger, the blogger could not perceive any feminist critique in what I was saying. His idea was that I'd just said the "stupidest thing [he'd] ever seen Ann Althouse say." He proceeded to make a huge deal out of the mundane fact that a woman who'd had children — and thus was a "mom" — would still use birth control to stave off unwanted additional pregnancies. At that point, she couldn't "avoid motherhood" — my phrase — because she would already be a mother. Crushingly obvious fact noted. "Birth control moms" is still an awkward term, containing a distracting contradiction. You're distracted even if you stop and think about the way some women with children use birth control not to avoid acquiring the status of mom, but to avoid additional mothering responsibilities.
Said lefty blogger goes on to state the true definition of the recently coined term: a "birth control mom" is "a woman who demands her birth control medication paid for according to the terms of her employment as regards insurance, even if she works for the Catholic Church. As well she fucking should."
First, birth control mom is "a woman..."? But some of these women don't have children. (If I had the instincts of a lefty blogger, I would call him a fucking idiot.) Second, "paid for according to the terms of her employment as regards insurance" — what? Could you write in English, please? Apparently, we're talking about women who are not merely going to be manipulated by scaring them that the government might ban birth control, but who are adamant about their entitlement to have their insurance fully cover birth control pills and who hate the idea of giving exemptions to the religious organizations that are portraying the proposed insurance requirement as a violation of their religious freedom rights.
The blogger — who is a married man whose wife is "on birth control" — ends:
And they are fucking with my intimate relationships?Apparently, after the notion of fucking with his fucking crossed his mind, this man lost his mind. My post said nothing about insurance. It was only about the "stupid Politico phrasing." It was language analysis, from a feminist perspective.
Who the fuck are they coming after next? Rich people?
Bitch about stupid Politico phrasing, sure, but don't pretend that makes obnoxious, sexist insurance coverage decisions inoffensive.
And if I may continue in a feminist mode... this is the most egregious example of phallocratic writing I've seen in a long time.