The power of women, particularly mothers, has become one of the themes in the Presidential Campaign this year. However, it hasn’t been as much a talking point for the candidates as it has been for their wives, the two potential First Ladies for 2012 to 2016. Public motherhood is becoming prominent, and the ways in which it is being addressed are varied.
Michelle Obama has pronounced and made clear that motherhood is important, not only to Barack’s campaign, but also to the entire nation. In Mrs. Obama’s Convention speech — to match one of the themes for the Democratic Convention, fighting the “war on women” — Mrs. Obama spoke about the President’s knowledge on the power women hold, mostly based on the example his grandmother was to him. She is one of the main reasons why he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, “to help women get equal pay for equal work.”
However, playing the role of “mom-in-chief” for her two daughters was the main point Mrs. Obama wanted to drive home, over the importance of being a strong woman in the role of First Lady.
Ann Romney, wife of the GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has held a working, stay-at-home mother stance throughout the 2012 campaign.
“I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work,” read Mrs. Romney’s first ever tweet, after Hilary Rosen, a Democratic strategist and long-time lobbyist, publicly commented that Mrs. Romney had never worked a day in her life.
In her speech at the GOP National Convention, Mrs. Romney strongly emphasized the importance of women, and specifically mothers, to the nation’s growth and prosperity.
“It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right. It’s the moms of this nation — single, married, widowed — who really hold this country together,” she said. “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.”
Though there has been criticism on the implications of her speech — that those who aren’t mothers are less important than those who are — Mrs. Romney raised her popularity specifically among women in the Rebuplican party, and continues to increase her importance in her husband’s campaign.
Recently, she has been a guest host on Good Morning America, been on the Fox News Channel and written a blog for BlogHer to defend attacks on her husband’s campaign.
In contrast to the wholesome promotion by Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Romney throughout this year’s campaign, motherhood and parenthood have been sensationalized by much of the media in recent years, due to the growing industry of celebrity parenthood. The flaunting of the infamous “baby bump” by celebrities on the front of many weekly magazines began the new fad.
Parenthood has given many celebrities the chance to increase their popularity and market, no matter when or how they originally gained celebrity status. Jessica Simpson, after over a decade since gaining popularity through some of her songs, regained serious popularity quickly because of her pregnancy. Pictures appeared on the front of Elle magazine of the star, nude, in a Demi Moore-esque pose, much like numerous female celebrities have in the past few years.
According to Peter Grossman, photo editor of Us Weekly, to be a celebrity parent is, literally, paying off these days.
“Being a celebrity mom has more business opportunities than ever before,” Grossman said, in an article from The New York Times about the pay-off celebrities are receiving after flaunting their motherhood. “Now, it’s not just about selling your baby pics. It’s starting a clothing line or endorsing a stroller. The value of a celebrity mom has never been higher.”