Roseanne Barr wasn’t the only lady in the hot seat on Sunday night’s Comedy Central roast: Mitt Romney’s wife Ann Romney also took a punch. It was delivered by Katey Sagal, the actress who played chronically disinterested mom Peg Bundy on “Married With Children.” Sagal quipped:
Roseanne, I feel honored that you and I broke new ground as TV moms who didn’t cook, didn’t clean, and didn’t make any money. In the ’90s that made you a bad mom, but today it makes you Mitt Romney’s wife.
It’s a clever joke, and as someone who appreciates what Roseanne has done for feminist, working-class comedy, I think it’s funny. But poking fun at Ann Romney for being a stay-at-home mom leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Even if it’s an absurd joke — I doubt either Katey Sagal or Roseanne Barr seriously believe that a “good mom” is one who cooks and cleans like a 1950s’ housewives — her quip is just going to end up as more kindling for the fires of the “mommy wars.” It’s a legitimate criticism to ask whether multi-millionaires like Mitt Romney and Ann Romney are the best representatives of a country in a recession. That, for example, is what Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen did when she appeared on “Anderson Cooper 360″ and criticized Ann Romney’s lack of paid employment.
But it’s not a legitimate criticism to drag whether she’s a “good” or “bad” mom into it, especially since it is a comment about being a stay-at-home mother, which is in turn a comment on class. I’m no Romney fan, but I don’t think that their family set-up with him working outside the home and her staying at home (even with help) should be fair game for scrutiny. There isn’t one acceptable way to be a mother; wealthy mothers who can afford to stay at home are not naturally better at parenting than middle-class mothers who work, nor is the opposite true.
Alas, the election is still three months away. This won’t be the last we’ll be hearing of Ann Romney, I’m sure.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com.