The XX Factor

The Motherhood Strut

In Oklahoma, two women duking it out in the governor’s race involves one of them lording motherhood over the other. Republican candidate Mary Fallin has been talking on the campaign trail about her husband and their combined six kids. (Two are hers, four are his.) Then, at a debate with Democrat Jari Askins, who was the state’s lieutenant governor and hasn’t been married or had kids, Fallin “cited her motherhood as a key difference between the two candidates,” according to Sean Murphy of the AP . This “drew groans from some in the audience.” Murphy quotes Brenda Reneau, a Republican and former state labor commissioner, as objecting: “I don’t understand why that’s important.”

I guess this is one way of taking Mama Grizzly-hood to a logical extreme: If the mom-work of managing a household prepares you for office, then no kids or no larger household means you’re unprepared. All I can say is that I’m relieved that Fallin’s mom-strutting went down so poorly with her audience. If women start dinging each other for being single the way men used to ding their female opponents for having kids, we’ll haul ourselves into some new dark age. (Thanks to Anne Kornblut for pointing out the AP story.)

Photograph of Mary Fallin from Wikimedia Commons.