“Women, Know Your Limits”

Optimism has never been my thing. I blame it on the rather high percentage of Irish blood I have in this body of mine. We Irish hold our traditions of pessimism dear, and if I am any kind of woman, I am a traditional one.

Nevertheless, as the election grows closer, I’m having an awfully hard time remaining true to type. There’s this strange feeling growing inside me that can only be described as hope. I am increasingly hopeful, with the occasional moment of confidence, that Mitt Romney will take Ohio and the presidency next Tuesday.

I’m also increasingly hopeful that this election cycle will deal a serious wound, if not the ultimate deathblow, to the whole idea of “women’s issues.” Or at least to the idea of women’s issues as politically conceived.

How Obama Sees Women: Alone, Dependent, In NeedI don’t want to let my hopes get too high on that count, but with Romney’s campaign finally closing the gender gap, I can’t help but dream of a day when certain politicians don’t think that the fastest way to secure a woman’s vote is to promise to be her substitute father, husband, lover, doctor, teacher, and friend (ala The Life of Julia).

Nor can I stop dreaming of a day when those same candidates don’t assume that all women are keen on having the right to kill their unborn children, and recognize that, in fact, more women identify themselves as “pro-life” than “pro-choice.”

Try as I might to stop it, my mind continues to wander to a halcyon future when liberal politicians acknowledge that women own small businesses, have investments, and worry about pesky things like job creation, debt, and runaway entitlement spending.

In that future, they also recognize that women are rational creatures, with thoughts on war and peace, education and energy policy, trial lawyers and unions. In other words, they recognize that there’s a veritable laundry list of issues we consider more important than government-sponsored birth control.

Heck, since we’re dreaming, let’s just go for it and imagine a day where all politicians show some real concern for women’s health by pledging to put some of those government research dollars to work studying the many links between birth control and cancer.

Baseline minimum, I’m hoping for a future where presidents of the United States don’t think it’s anything other than nauseating to equate the act of voting with losing one’s virginity…where fathers of two young girls don’t have campaign ads mocking abstinence…and where those entrusted with safeguarding the Constitution realize that women might—just might—be more worried about the government violating the First Amendment and depriving Christians of their right to live their beliefs than they are about seeing Big Bird lose his government paycheck.

Okay, okay, maybe I’m getting a little out of control here. I should probably reign the fantasizing back in. It will take more than one electoral defeat to send the message to liberal politicians of Obama’s ilk that women are reasonable, intelligent creatures, who use our pretty little heads to think about more than sex and shopping. Indeed, that we think all sorts of thoughts and that those thoughts aren’t the same as every other woman’s.

Which I suppose, even more than the assumptions underlying President Obama’s particular approach to the politicking of women, is what really bothers me about the idea of “women’s issues.”

You see, just like men, women are capable of caring about a world that’s bigger than our own. Just like men, we work, pay bills, and worry about our children’s (or potential children’s) future. Just like men, we read and think and observe the world around us, then make decisions based on what we read and think and observe. And we do it all as individuals, not as a sex. Again, just like men.

But despite the fact that both women and men do all those things, no politician ever insinuates that men base their vote on their gender or their sex lives. They don’t cater exclusively to men’s self-interest, nor do they pander to men as a political monolith. They respect men as individuals, capable of independent thought and action. They acknowledge the differences in the opinions men hold.

That same respect isn’t given to women, not by President Obama and not by countless other politicians. Which is why the whole concept of “women’s issues” is laden with sexism from the start.

And yes, I know, there are bigger problems in the world than a president who puts his stamp of approval on raunchy, demeaning political ads. But ideas, as they say, have consequences, and in this administration, the persistent sexism of our president has had more than a few of those. The most serious infringement of religious liberty by the national government in our history is one of them. Christina Hoff Sommers uber-ably pointed out many others in an essay that ran earlier this week for National Review.

What concerns me most, however, are the numbers of otherwise intelligent women who still don’t have a problem with this administration’s conception of women. Who, in fact, seem to share it, and in doing so, are failing to grasp the deepest truths of their own dignity and worth.

What, I wonder, will it take for them to see beyond President Obama’s talk of being “pro-woman” and see the sexism underlying his every word?

What will it take for them to realize that if you strip away the Hollywood Starlets and armband tattoos, this video…

Says much the same thing as this video…

That’s Obama’s message to us lady folk in a nutshell: “Women, know your limits.”

Hasn’t the time come for us to say the same thing to him and the whole idea of “women’s issues”?

This Tuesday, we’ll get our chance.  Here’s hoping we take it.

Emily Stimpson is a Contributing Editor to “Our Sunday Visitor” and the author of “The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years,” where she dishes on the Church’s teachings about women, marriage, sex, work, beauty, suffering, and more.



  • Alex_NYC

    Let me start with this first: “A new 21-nation poll for BBC World Service indicates that citizens around the world would strongly prefer to see Barack Obama re-elected as US President rather than his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.” It is you bunch of sick people in this country vs. the world! Oh and Pakistan. That’s right, your views are so distorted a country like Pakistan is aligned with you sick ****ers. By the way, they shoot 12 year old girls for wanting to go to school, Google it. In fact if you just google 12 year old girl rather than 12 year old girl shot in the head (which is who I was referring to), you’d get even more sickening results. CV.org, you’re aligned with f***ing Pakistan. Sad.

    So much hypocrisy, and so many lies… LOL! I see you all as sick people. No, seriously. All you CV fools could be considered in a vegetative state, because not a single one of you has a single thought you can call your own that wasn’t implanted into you by your friendly neighborhood pedophile club Church. ON ABORTION: “Republicans first made this a political issue back in the late 1970s,
    and we have as many abortions now as we had then. Despite decades of
    campaign promises and a period where 7 of 9 Supreme Court Justices were GOP appointees and Republicans controlled the White House and both branches of Congress, Roe remains the law of the land”
    Google that excerpt to read the article. Do you invisible-man-in-the-sky praying fools honestly believe the GOP have your best interest at heart?

    “Forbes: For A Better Economy, Vote Democratic:

    • Personal disposable income has grown nearly 6 times more under Democratic presidents

    • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown 7 times more under Democratic presidents

    • Corporate profits have grown over 16% more per year under Democratic presidents (they actually declined under Republicans by an average of 4.53%/year)

    • Average annual compound return on the stock market has been 18 times greater under Democratic presidents (If you invested $100k for 40 years of Republican administrations you had $126k at the end, if you invested $100k for 40 years of Democrat administrations you had $3.9M at the end)

    • Republican presidents added 2.5 times more to the national debt than Democratic presidents

    • The two times the economy steered into the ditch (Great Depression and Great Recession) were during Republican, laissez faire administrations


    Google the excerpt from Forbes. Do some damn research, this is only the precipice of the issue at large! I can be here till election day writing dissertations and I couldn’t even scratch the surface of all this ridiculous ****! The irony of this ALL is that it takes a god- only god can make you self hating sheeple see the way. I’m not a hardcore anything, in fact I’m considered by most as a fiscal conservative/social independent. People like me SHOULD have been the ideal Republican base, because there are some STUPID ****s in the liberal wing. Unfortunately, the Republican base has been hijacked by self-hating hardcore ultra ultra ultra conservative, racist, bigoted, hypocritical, hyperbolic (in their distortion and interpretation of reality), MORONS.


    • abadilla

      “A new 21-nation poll for BBC World Service indicates that citizens around the world would strongly prefer to see Barack Obama re-elected as US President rather than his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.”

      You can add Latin America to the list. After all, it isn’t those nations that are putting up with 23 million people out of jobs, a pro-abortion President, a president that has no respect for religious freedom, a President who has not explained Benghazi to us yet. I could care less what the world thinks of Romney. On November 6 we, Americans, will vote for our President, not the world! Whatever the outcome, it isn’t the world’s business whom we elect or re-elect.

      “Unfortunately, the Republican base has been hijacked by self-hating hardcore ultra ultra ultra conservative, racist, bigoted, hypocritical, hyperbolic (in their distortion and interpretation of reality), MORONS.”

      How about, “Unfortunately, the Democartic base has been hijacked by self-hating hardcore ultra ultra ultra liberal, racist, bigoted, hypocritical, hyperbolic (in their distortion and interpretation of reality), MORONS” Would that be more suitable to reality?
      “LET MY PEOPLE GO! Who, in their sane mind, would want to keep the Left.

      • Alex_NYC

        Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa! Whoa! Did I just stumble upon a elementary school playground? Is I know you are but what am I the theme around here? lol. Jesus would keep to the left (if you want to argue about his sanity, you’re welcome to), but we all know you guys don’t REALLY believe in the bible anyways. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECVyuz5iNyQ&feature=related multiple choice commander in chief will not be elected! =p I hate to break it to you fools, but I’ll be back here on Tuesday when Myth Romnesia is given the boot and kicked to the curb yet again.

        • abadilla

          No, you stumbled upon a Republican who won’t put up with your insults, period!

          ” I hate to break it to you fools, but I’ll be back here on Tuesday when Myth Romnesia is given the boot and kicked to the curb yet again.”

          I said, “Whatever the outcome, it isn’t the world’s business whom we elect or re-elect.”

          Did I predict Romney winning? I don’t think so, I’m much more cautious than you will ever be.

          • Alex_NYC

            I never said you implied that Romney would win, is reading comprehension that illusive a commodity in America? I on the other hand am implying he will lose, and I’m implying it with statistical certainty. Your compatriots are implying it with their gut feelings. LOL

            Insults? Really? Don’t be so pathetic. If you think I’ve insulted you so far, you don’t want to know what I actually think of you Bible thumping idiots. As it stands I cannot succumb to those emotions, and I must see you all as my sick brothers and sisters that have not been liberated from their own weakness. Humans tend to seek a higher power explanation for things out of their control, it’s in our nature and it’s scientifically (I shouldn’t use the S word around here) proven to be so.

            If you were known for straying on the side of caution, you’d be an agnostic. Cover all your bases so someone else’s god doesn’t burn your ass in make believe fire land, you know, Shoal.

            Speaking of agnosticism, Romney is like the agnostic of politics. LOL

            It’s pathetic to see how low you all will stoop to vote in a scum bag like Myth Romney, whom by the way no matter how you want to distort the facts, is NOT a christian. Unlike Obama whom you sickos RUMOR to be a Muslim/Hitler/anti-Christ/Stalin/Mao/Communist/Socialist/Saul Alinsky-ist despite he claiming the christian faith, Romney IS part of a cult and proud of it.

            This all comes down to who you idiots THINK Obama is (or want him to be because saying black is no good for president is too taboo these days) and who Romney IS. Romney IS a far more terrible enemy to America than who you guys THINK Obama is. Romney IS a criminal, Romney IS the poster boy for what it means to be a political chameleon. You’ve all distorted the facts so much you’ve all failed to see how center right Barack Obama actually is.

            I don’t consider you folks in anyway part of the Republican party, more like AK-47-less Taliban.

          • abadilla

            Alex wrote, “you don’t want to know what I actually think of you Bible thumping idiots.” I know, Obama thinks the same and he said it and then, of course, claimed to be taken out of context.
            I can’t bother writing to a person who thinks so little of believers and Republicans and who finds it exciting insulting others with whom he disagrees and then calls his approach “grown-up.”

          • Alex_NYC

            Sigh… here we go again.

            Did I ever say anywhere in my post that I’m the grown-up, or pretending to be? I’m willing to bet the majority of you, yourself included, is at least 10-20-30 years older than me. Despite that fact, it is impossible to have an adult conversation when the people you’re arguing with are coming off such ridiculous childish beliefs. You argue to the mental capacity of a 12 year old, and expect me to behave in a “grown-up” fashion with you? …Lol.

            I said it before and I’ll say it again, I cringe everytime I hear one of you sick American-Taliban radicals claim the republican party as your own.

            All your posts so far have been defensive, childish retorts

            Let me summarize them for you:
            #1 I know they are but what are we!

            #2 Now I’ll argue a point you didn’t make and dismiss any facts you may have stated!

            #3 Mr. Obamy doesn’t like us!

            Let’s put on our Romnesia caps and forget for a second that Romney actually has written off almost half of the country, I can just as easily infer as you did, that Romney doesn’t like ANYONE that’s right, not even billionaires. How, you say? Because at one point or another, he’s been on EVERY SIDE of any argument… that benefits and furthers his goals of course. Here’s Romney throwing McCain under the bus, stopping short of endorsing Obama in 2008, just so he can have a shot at the WH in 2012, LOL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPGnJmbDq08&feature=related

            Did you watch the other video I provided for you or not, abadilla (is this actually your name? Why don’t you provide me with your real name if you want to have an adult conversation, this isn’t AOL) where he defends his position on Roe V. Wade?


            What’s the difference between Romney back then with Ted Kennedy, and Romney now with Obama? Gray hair!


            Unless you comeback with something more concrete, I might have to divorce you. If I wanted to play I am rubber and you are glue, I’d go to a daycare.

          • Alex_NYC

            It seems like statistical certainty triumphed over bigoted xenophobic sectarian gut feelings. I find you’re a terrible person abadilla (don’t worry, not as terrible as Donald Trump), and I hope you can one day wake up and realize how awful you’ve been to your fellow man in the name of your weakness and inability to concede that which you cannot control.

  • Kaitlin Marie

    How dare you suggest that women all focus on free birth control more than any other issue? That is blatantly untrue. Additionally, pulling one scientific article for a study whose results are centered on a correlation, not causation, is a misleading way to argue. You base your argument not on science, or statistics, but on personal opinion that you masquerade as “fact.”

    Did you ever, once, stop to think that maybe, just because we are Catholic and have our own set of religious beliefs and ideals, doesn’t mean that we should support taking those rights away from others? That’s right, I said “we.” I was born, baptized, and raised as a Catholic. I still attend mass every Sunday, read passages from the Bible daily and pray a rosary every night before bed. But, just because I am a Catholic, does that mean that I should vote for a man who takes rights and choices away from Catholic and non-Catholic women? Should non-Catholics (and Catholics as well, to an extent) lose the simple choice to go on birth control, or have an abortion? Just because I choose not to go on birth control or have abortions doesn’t mean that that right should be denied to other women in this country.

    Did you ever, once, stop to think that maybe giving women equal rights to men would be what “puts an end to women’s issues”? To an extent, “women’s issues” will always remain a topic for discussion. As it remains, women ARE biologically different. The last time I checked, I have neither a penis nor testicles, but rather, ovaries and a uterus, which carry a child from conception to term. God made us this way, but God did not intend for us to be treated as lower class because of our differences. These biological differences make us different from men, but do not make us less worthy of work, education, or health care that suits OUR needs. Should we be voting for a man who wants to give us all the same health insurance, or one who tries as hard as possible to be equal while still allowing women the more specific types of care that they need? I know that I, for one, will not benefit whatsoever from a prostate exam, but when I have a child I will likely benefit greatly from the specialized care I can receive from an OB/GYN.
    Side note: Do men struggle monthly with menstruation, something that makes a small percentage of women suffer painful symptoms, sometimes causing weakness and fainting which makes it difficult to go to work and function normally, let alone, leave the house, symptoms that may be alleviated by oral contraception? Do men need to take a contraceptive as a newlywed, in order to prevent themselves from conceiving a child before the couple is ready to start a family? Do male rape victims, sometimes only teenagers, have to suffer bearing a child after being sexually abused and raped, without having any other choices? I guarantee, if that was the case, then “men’s issues” would ALSO be a major discussion when it comes to debates.

    I am Catholic, and being Catholic has taught me amazing things. Not just ideology and theology, but how to have compassion for others, to be moved by those less fortunate than myself. For those who have empathy for all of our brothers and sisters in the human condition, how could you possibly go out and choose to take away these choices, these options newly created by the advancing fields of health and science, from those in our communities who may benefit from it, those who need it most? To pretend that everyone has the same privileges and possibilities as us is a delusion, to say the least. I pray for you, that in your heart and mind, you may find away out of the small box you have constructed for all of us Catholic women to reside in.

    • Maria

      What about the right of every baby to choose life?

      • Kaitlin Marie

        What about the right of every teenaged rape victim to not have to give birth before they are emotionally or psychologically ready? Should a woman have give up her own right to choose life because having a baby might end her own life, and the government prevents her from making a choice? Maybe this woman is a young widow, who has two other children who rely on her for support. Should she risk her own life to save that of the unborn child? This is a misstep I’ve noticed people frequently making when it comes to abortion decisions. Rarely, if ever, do people have abortions just for the sake of having an abortion to “kill a baby.” Your question is more rhetorical, put forth solely to elicit an emotional response where people to assert things such as how the life of a blastocyst is more important than the life of the mother and children produced by rape are “gifts.” It is not right to assert that the conditions for every woman’s abortion are senseless and murderous. Neither you nor I nor the President can know every possible reason that a woman might choose to do this, and for that reason alone, neither we nor the government should have the right to tell her what to do.

        • JenB

          Maybe the baby should not pay for the sins of the rapist.
          Maybe the widow can give the baby up for adoption. (The waiting time to adopt a newborn is long)
          Maybe the majority of pro-life centers also help with the care of the mother and the child, offering free clothing, diapers, parent classes and in some places car seats and cribs.

          Why do you advocate the murder of someone so completely helpless and innocent? Why is taking the life of a baby NOT murderous? It should evoke an emotional response-it is HORRIBLE and despicable. It should make us turn away in disgust. The we should respond and make sure that it never. ever. happens again!!

          It is also entirely rational to say that a baby should not pay for the crime. Where do you make that ok?

          • Kaitlin Marie

            I’d rather not validate the ignorance of your response. It is very clear you did not read what I wrote at all. God gave you two eyes and two ears for a reason, thank goodness he gave you only one mouth to shoot off.
            I truly believe that God has the final say-so, on all things. Let people make choices as they will. God makes the choice of who goes to Heaven and Hell, you do not.
            God created rapists, he also created abortion doctors. Think about that.

          • abadilla

            “God gave you two eyes and two ears for a reason,” And apparently you are incapable of using your eyes and ears to acknowledge that one does not invoke God when advocating for the murder of the unborn, since God is the Lord of Life!

          • Brian A. Cook

            One day you, Kaitlin Marie, will meet the unborn victims of abortion and you will have to explain your decision to THEM. How will you answer them?

          • John200

            Got it. That is one of the most useful points in practical discussion of abortion and why the right to kill children has to disintegrate. The sooner, the better for all of us; the child, the mother, the father, other relatives, society in general, and in fact anyone who has a soul.

            Then we might consider the effect on the culture, the economy, our political life, …

            It’s unanimous.

      • abadilla

        Don’t worry Maria, that doesn’t count even though we have 55 million aborted babies in the U.S. and climbing because 9 men in black robes invented a woman’s right to murder.

    • John200

      Dear Kaitlin Marie,

      You think you can contracept and remain in good standing in the Catholic faith — You can’t.

      I suppose your intentions are good, but picking and chosing teachings according to your own light, which is not pure light, makes you a cafeteria Catholic. You argued for choices that tend to hell.

      You need more than I can accomplish in a combox. Go see a priest, one that practices orthodox faith that has endured for 2000+ years. That is, do NOT go see a priest who will blind you with liberal “Catholicism.”

    • JennyU

      Your Catholicism has instructed you on compassion for all people, except those yet born? What catechism are you reading from? I pray that your daily rosary softens your heart and gives you Our Lady’s love for the littlest of her children. Sorry you’re so angry and confused.

  • Nell

    Great article! As usual. Well said, Emily, and said on behalf of so many women. Me too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Deanna-Rochleau/1414215949 Deanna Rochleau

    I love this so much. Thank you for putting all my thoughts and feelings into such a clear, well articulated piece.

  • Anita

    Good post. Really, really angry comments. I suppose you hit a nerve or two.

    • Of all the nerve

      Anita – the whole reason she wrote was to hit a nerve.
      Are you new to CV – the horror show of Catholicism.

    • abadilla

      ” I suppose you hit a nerve or two.”
      She sure did and the vitriol and lack of charity flies all over the place and Emily has written nothing wrong. Notice some folks here do not even take the time to address the issues she writes about. It’s insults and more insults, as if that validates their ugly reactions!

  • Another Bad Emily Blog

    1) Blogging is supposed to be timely, and you message of hope for a Romney election is about 5 days too late. Maybe checking the trends more often would be good. Do the let secular news (ooh that liberal media) broadcast near FU? Or do you have to get it fist blessed from Rome?
    2) It must do your heart good to finish off your CV blogg career for 2012 with such deceit and manipulation. And to see the fans grovel, knowing what a joke you have made of them. This is Emily at her greatest, Ethics be damned, there is an election to win.
    3) You need to know that your understanding of women is not the same as the one held by most women, most americans, and even by most Catholics. Your own repressed self, and your subjegation to the men at FU seems to have put that weird sort of slant on how you view females. To make such absurd arguments about women and to be so petty and downright mean (cloaked by the appearance of ancient femine charm – you know lying nicely) is insulting to you and to your readers.
    4) Since you have nothing for which to base your supposed optimism on, everyone knows this is just trying to act boldly while finding out daily more and more to be embarrassed about supporting Romney. Yet, I doubt there are more than a handful that really care about your uneducated guess for the election, and your even less educated analysis of the state of women in modern society.
    5) I would bet that you would have as much to complain about (which is really all that your blogs seem to amount to) with Romney or Obama. Yet would you have to grace to recall all your assumptions were Romney to win and then disappoint on every account that you defended him as the best? You seem to comfortable with mistruths and manipulations, so I would not count on much honesty.
    6) Alas you will not be tested in that regard, so you can continue to play the role as the conscience of women, but only for the state, realizing that women are so well treated and respected within the Church structure. Isn’t it nice that those CV boys give you the opportunity to write on their blog. You must be a credit to your sex. Almost good enough to be a man.

    • JenB

      Why do you bother? Why the vitriol? You offer nothing in the way of intelligence not to mention common decency. You do not bring to the table anything in the way of reason or comprehension, only a deranged attack on a woman you have never met. What you have done is judged someone without knowing them. Was it worth the trouble you took to write all that? I can only wonder that you are an angry person. At least you come across as very angry and upset. If you gave something in the way of reasonable discussion it would be easier to take your thoughts seriously, but you have not. I am sorry for your anger and spite. It will only hurt you-not Emily.

      • abadilla

        I’m glad you are noticing this nonsense too. A long diatribe to put a woman down yet, I bet, this troll thinks he/she is for women’s rights. Amazing. Emily writes a piece he/she does not like and the excoriating begins instead of dealing with perceived weaknesses in Emiliy’s article and replying to them.

        “I am sorry for your anger and spite” And I get accused of the same simply when I vehemently defend Church teaching. I’m so glad you caught this vitriol.



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