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The GEM Debate: What Do Ann Romney And Gwyneth Paltrow Have In Common?


Ugh I hate politics. I really do. But I have to get something off my chest, to say something that needs to be said.

Yesterday there was a huge dust-up created when Hilary Rosen, democratic strategist said, in a rather clunky statement, that Ann Romney, the wife of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, had, “never worked a day in her life.” That set off a most interesting set of actions. First the White House went into overdrive, back peddling and trying to put as much distance between it and Hilary Rosen. The Romney camp, pounced, blasting Rosen for her poor choice of words.

I wrote about it yesterday but the upshot is that I get what Rosen was trying to say. I also understand Ann Romney’s decision to choose to stay home with her kids. And no, that is not an easy job.

But here’s the thing. Ann Romney had a choice, something, as I said, a lot of women frankly don’t have.  One of the comments I got from that piece was from someone saying I was trashing the Romney’s for being rich. Okay, deep breath.

No, I am not trashing the Romney’s for being rich,  hell I’m trying to get there my damn self. But what I do fault them for is pretending to be like everyone else. They are not. And frankly, I find that offensive.

It’s called being tone deaf and actress Gwyneth Paltrow is an expert at this. I wrote a post a while back after she started with her Goop newsletter. She interviewed several of her friends, one of whom was a “working mother”. Yes, she was a working mother; working as a partner in a venture capital firm. This woman suggested a weekly blowout so you don’t have to wash your hair everyday. You know how much a weekly blowout costs? Google it. That indulgence is probably a bit more than most working moms can afford.

Those things in and of themselves are not that offensive. But the fact that Paltrow has no idea how it comes off, how she sounds, especially in this economy, is what is such a turn off.

And that’s the problems facing the Romney’s. I don’t care one iota that Ann Romney chose to stay home with her kids. But does she know how lucky she is to be able to make that choice? Does she know that there are a lot of women who would like to do that do, but can’t, even if they cut their budgets to the bone?

You know what would be refreshing? For Mitt Romney to stand up and say, “Yeah, we’re filthy, stinking rich. Yeah, our money afforded us a lifestyle that others can only dream about. But I’d like the opportunity to sit in the Oval office so I can figure out to help get you there.”

Be authentic, don’t apologize for your wealth and please don’t tell me that you’re just like me because you’re not. I don’t hate you because you’re rich but being tone-deaf will earn you the insensitive label every time.

That’s my take. What do you think? Are the Romney’s (and Gwyneth Paltrow) tone deaf? Do they have the ability to get in touch with the life and struggles of the average American? Lemme hear ya!

More from GEM:

My Target Moment: How I Left TV News Behind

The Story of Us: Happy Anniversary Buff

Ask Rene: Is My Daughter Being Abused?

Good Enough Mother Versus Goop


  1. Ada

    April 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    This is something that has been bothering me about Paltrow for a long time. I completely agree with you on this, because these people talk about things that are in no way affordable to the majority of Americans. I do not think they should play their wealth down, but there is a way to address it and not sound like a snob.

  2. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)

    April 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I hear you and I agree.

    I hate this situation being played on either side for political gain b/c it is not a political issue really… it’s not like only Republicans are rich and Democrats aren’t and it’s not like only one party is insensitive and the other isn’t.

    I think it’s like you say… these are extremely wealthy people who are trying to come across as relatable. But that’s not working b/c it’s not the truth. And really do we need to be able to relate to the President or First Lady? NO… we want them to know how to run a country.

    So yes, a big notice to wealthy politicians, just be who you are and don’t try to pretend you’re something you’re not.

  3. Pamela

    April 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    I agree with you about the tone-deaf situation. If they took the time to educate themselves about their constituency, then they could actually relate better. Suggesting a blowout was insensitive. There’s a helluva lot of assuming going on, and no real connection to the people you claim to be like.

  4. Mim Belcher

    April 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I could not agree with you more! Ugh! The arrogance of the “rich and famous” make me sick.

  5. Halimah

    April 14, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Clearly Mitt Romney at least comes off as oblivious to how he sounds to voters when he talks about his Cadillacs, sports team owning friends, etc…The jury is still out on Ann since, to date, her public comments have been mainly centered on backing her hubby, overcoming cancer, living with MS, and domestic tips on Pinterest. I actually have a bigger concern that as a potential presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s female test group is his wife. He’s been on a number of campaign stops. Surely women in Michigan shared their struggles to keep their homes. Didn’t mothers in Ohio tell him about losing jobs? Mothers in Virginia ply him with stories about spouses or kids who are jobless vets? From a messaging standpoint, why not connect us with more of those kinds of examples in his speeches rather than lean on his wife so heavily? I know she’s popular, but sheesh, so’s connecting with the average voter.

  6. Shan

    April 14, 2012 at 7:49 am

    This just goes to show how te wealth are so outta touch the common ppl. It’s a hell of a lot easier to be a stay at home mom when you have a bank account like the theirs…. When you just throw out there that your having an elevator installed in you garage for your vehicles, yeah your should NOT BE OFFENDED wHen folks say she’s never worked….I’d like to see what the stats are for he avg stay at home mom

  7. Linda G

    April 15, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Ann Romney doesn’t hv a clue about the real trials and tribulations of an everyday Mom she and G Palthrow are insulated from hvg to make hard decisions about whether to by food or diapers neither has a clue about the hardships that women face in todays economic environment that statement from Rosen was true and the Romney’s know it they are just using it as a platform to try and convince women that Romney cares and his agenda clearly proves thst he doesn’t

  8. Cassie

    April 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I agree that Paltrow mentions items and products that are a bit on the expensive side. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing though, and I give her credit for not apologizing. She is after all a wealthy woman and these are the places she goes and the products she buys etc… She blatantly admits she has the means and will not apologize for it. Romney on the other hand, would never say such a thing. Why not just suck it up and say it- I am wealthy and I can make a choice. No apologies. It would at least be the truth.

  9. Rene Syler

    April 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    @Cassie: Actually the problem is that Gwyneth does try to pass off much of her stuff as being for the average woman.. which makes her a bit tone deaf IMHO. Agree with you on Romney count. THX for weighing in

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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