The Third Sex

I don’t want this journal to turn in to all politics, all the time. Nevertheless, you might be interested in the GOP Platform approved in Tampa. There’s much that can be said, but I will spare you that and let you think for yourself.


Last night after a very busy night of being teachers, Bryon and I made it home. We whisked through our Tuesday night chores, and then I sat down on the couch and turned on the television in time to catch Ann Romney and Chris Christie do their thing.

Let’s imagine, for a moment, that you are like me…a woman that didn’t have children. I am not anti-children. I just didn’t have them. Or, if you prefer, I have 50 a semester. Bryon has a 150 a semester.

Okay, so, no children. I have dedicated my life to teaching other people’s children.

Here are some excerpts from Ann’s speech.

I want to talk to you about that love so deep only a mother can fathom it — the love we have for our children and our children’s children. (because women like me can’t fathom that deep a love because we aren’t mothers?)

And the working moms who love their jobs but would like to work just a little less to spend more time with the kids, but that’s just out of the question with this economy. (Ann is speaking to a sub-set of working moms, but there is no balance in this speech to focus on working moms who don’t want less of their career, or even might want more.)

And if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It’s how it is, isn’t it? (Men, you just don’t give enough of a damn, do you?)

It’s the moms of this nation — single, married, widowed — who really hold this country together. (Not me! Coincidentally, also not my mom.)

We’re the mothers, we’re the wives, we’re the grandmothers, we’re the big sisters, we’re the little sisters, we’re the daughters. (Women are always defined in relation to men, children, and family, not as individuals.)

You know it’s true, don’t you?/You’re the ones who always have to do a little more. (Women are martyrs to the cause of family. This is the norm. While selfishness is not spelled out, could it be implied?)

You know what it’s like to work a little harder during the day to earn the respect you deserve at work and then come home to help with that book report which just has to be done.

You know what those late night phone calls with an elderly parent are like and the long weekend drives just to see how they’re doing.

You know the fastest route to the local emergency room and which doctors actually answer the phone when you call at night.

You know what it’s like to sit in that graduation ceremony and wonder how it was that so many long days turned into years that went by so quickly.

You are the best of America.

You are the hope of America.

(These women are great examples of nurturers and caregivers. Nothing in here for women like me, though. I don’t diminish their accomplishments. But honestly, this isn’t reaching me. With the possible exception of the graduation ceremony because of my profession.)

I’m not sure if men really understand this, but I don’t think there’s a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better! (Because why? Should men have easy lives and not me, because I am, you know, gender-challenged?)

And that’s fine. We don’t want easy. (Sure we do! Don’t you, Ann? Everyone prefers easy! This statement is just silly.)

… and I can tell you, probably like every other girl who finds herself in a new life far from family and friends, with a new baby and a new husband, that it dawned on me that I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. (Ann, you aren’t a girl here. You are a woman. You may be using “girl” in the way that older women do, to prefer to a woman who has a lack of experience, but you might question that use in an important political speech designed to reach women.)

And the rest of the speech is about Mitt, which is to be expected. She closes with an appeal to women (and the rest of us listening) to trust Mitt with the futures of our children and grandchildren (which I can’t, because I don’t have them.)


Clearly, then, I am not a woman in Ann Romney’s mind. This much-touted speech is designed to get women interested in Republicanism and Mitt Romney. And it may reach the wedge of women in this speech. But it doesn’t reach:

Women who don’t have children
Women who have kids and like their careers equally or more
Women who do not define themselves in relation to their family
Women who aren’t particularly nurturing

That’s a lot of women. But since Ann stated at the beginning of the speech that she was talking to “you women” I guess I am not a woman, and I must be some third sex, as yet undetermined.

Thanks, Ann, for the effort. There was no doubt about my choice. But you have made it EVEN clearer than before. I would like to be represented not necessarily by a woman like me, but I would like to be represented by a woman who knows I exist.


Chris Christie made me laugh. He made Bryon angry, but I thought he was sort of interesting, with Orwellian features of double speak. I can’t watch Paul Ryan tonight. I’m afraid that the absurdity of his conversation about his personal journey, rather than his policies (VP nom? Hello?) might make me ROTFLMAO.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

3 thoughts on “The Third Sex”

  1. I’m so sick of this gendered expectation nonsense. I guess all we can do is keep on being individuals. As I walked down the sidewalk yesterday watching the people I passed, I wondered if one of them was a man or a woman. Why did it matter? It didn’t; I’m not going to mate with them. So many other things about them matter, but there it was at the front of my mind. I have a lot of work to do.

    Thanks for writing this.

  2. That’s okay, according to their credentialing committee I don’t believe I would qualify as a man in their eyes either. Because, you know, I believe that women have just as much right as I do, and there’s nothing wrong with two guys loving each other even if it isn’t my cup of tea.

    But, yeah, I was going to make the comment about listening to the convention (I was coming home from work after a 12 hour day, listening to how only conservatives work hard) I was struck by just how much your could learn about writing alternative history by watching what goes on in Tampa this week.

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