BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

What Can’t Be Blamed on Youthful Indiscretion

Posted by gansie on September 1, 2009

womenknowyourplaceI’m a strong believer in second chances, as you can see with my endorsement of Michael Vick (as long as Donovan is happy, of course).

But what I’m trying to understand today is how one man’s views—a candidate for office, no less—can change so dramatically.

In 1989, Robert F. McDonnell (R) submitted his master thesis “The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of the Decade,” and wrote some rather “old-fashion” views on the way the world works.

Here are some of his ideas, grabbed from a WaPo article:

McDonnell described working women as “detrimental” to the traditional family. He criticized a U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing contraception for unmarried couples and decried the “purging” of religion from schools. He advocated character education programs in public schools to teach “traditional Judeo-Christian values,” and he criticized federal tax credits for child care expenditures because they encouraged women to enter the workforce.

Now I believe that opinions change, and I can see that as more and more states allow gays to legally join together as couples (Go Vermont!), but McDonnell was 34 years old when he wrote that piece. As my coworker noted, “I don’t think it can be blamed on ‘youthful’ indiscretion.”

The Republican candidate has been suspiciously quiet on many contentious issues in his run for the governorship, particularly abortion. But with damaging statements against women in the workforce, he must start addressing the issues female voters care about.

And like Del. Margaret G. Vanderhye (D-Fairfax) noted, women care deeply about jobs and supporting their families: “If you’re going to run on a jobs platform, how do you do that when you relegate half of the working population to second-class status? Because that’s what this paper he wrote reveals.”

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6 Responses to “What Can’t Be Blamed on Youthful Indiscretion”

  1. jonolan said

    Working women are detrimental to the traditional family. That’s not an opinion or a supposition; it’s a fact of life. I don’t know how to practically get around it though. A two income household is necessary for a lot of families.

  2. espressodog said

    The “traditional family” is a myth. Women have always worked. They problem is that we place higher value on work done outside the home by white men then we do work done by everyone else.

  3. jonolan said

    Nice racist interjection, Espressodog. 😦

    And no, the traditional family – insofar as gender roles is concerned – is not a myth; it was the mainstay of Western society for centuries, with the exception of Blacks in America who, due both to racism and skill-sets, found it economically difficult to live that way long before the rest of us ran into the same problem.

    Now, theoretically you could reverse the gender roles and having working mothers and housefathers, but that model just doesn’t seem to work for the vast majority of families. Men and women both seem to, in general, find that arrangement uncomfortable and unsatisfying.

  4. Joyinhome said

    It is curious to me how riled up people get when discussing “gender roles”…it is 2009!!!!!

    FACT: We have workforce policies that do not support or reflect the 21st century workforce which increasingly includes women, and Blacks despite our lack of appropriate skill sets, go figure.

    FACT: We have policy makers and citizens who share outdated ideas of family, gender roles and race.

    FACT: If the United States wants to regain its status in the global marketplace in terms of education, innovation and finance, it must start recognizing the strengths that diversity in the workforce brings.

  5. jonolan said

    Joyinhome,

    I was referring to the 19th and early 20th century when I mentioned the Blacks’ skillsets, not the modern era. The fact that a lot Black men had to travel a great deal in order to find work, largely agricultural and construction, whereas the women could find work closer to home, meant that American Black families stopped being of the traditional form long before others’ did. This also had a lot to do with Black women’s less than strong support for the Feminist Movement previous decades.

    As for the rest – I see some opinions and some biases, but no verifiable facts.

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