Not that long ago, there was an expression, “behind every great man, there is a woman.” That expression has been all but modernized out of existence and replaced with a more equitable version. Even Eve, the proverbial first woman, stood beside her man, not behind him. For John Kasich, the Republican Governor of Ohio, his wife doesn’t even stand quietly behind him. She’s stuck in the laundry room.
From Huffington Post:
“You know, Jane Portman, Karen Kasich, and Janna Ryan, they operate an awful lot of the time in the shadows,” he said, speaking of his wife and those of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
“It’s not easy to be a spouse of an elected official,” he said. “You know, they’re at home, doing the laundry and doing so many things while we’re up here on the stage getting a little bit of applause, right? They don’t often share in it. And it is hard for the spouse to hear the criticism and to put up with the travel schedule and to have to be at home taking care of the kids. And where is the politician? Out on the road!”
The Twitter reactions were swift and almost universally critical of Kasich’s botched attempt at sympathizing with the plight of women in this country. While his words might have resonated in the time of Lucy desperately trying to grab a portion of Ricky Ricardo’s spotlight; in 2012, when most women struggle with balancing multiple roles, including that of working outside the home, his words come across as sexist and anything but sympathetic. Instead of relegating her to towel duty, Governor Kasich, hire a maid and let your wife carve her own life. If housewife is the role she wants, then there’s really no sympathy to be had, is there? She is living her chosen profession.
Kasich’s words did little but highlight the difference between his family and the majority of families across the country. His wife is free not to work without worrying whether the heat bill will get paid. She is not forced to work two jobs and then come home to her third full-time job as wife and mother. She, unlike most American women, can afford the luxury of staying home to fold laundry.
Of course, should Kasich continue to put his foot in his mouth, he always has his back-up plan of stealing the election.