Recently there has been a large frequency of news focusing on the GOP’s supposed “Woman Problem,” but it’s time to set the story straight and really analyze the mass media’s seemingly triumphant “You Go Girl!” message and why this framework isn’t always accurate. In the article “Conservative women on ‘breadwinner’ moms and the GOP’s ‘woman problem’” by the Washington Post they discuss a recent report by the Pew Research Center discussing Breadwinner Moms. The report documents that 40 percent of mothers in households with children under 18 are now the primary breadwinners but the way media framed this report displays two different trends. When reading a report like the Pew Research Center data that reads 40 percent of women in America are now breadwinners, the media takes off with this percentage and says “wow! women are finally gaining equality this is exactly what we dreamed of evolving from all the prejudices.” The message being displayed is that gender doesn’t matter and that women can have it all but this isn’t the main message behind “Breadwinning Mothers.” The main take away that is being totally forgotten is a major social problem in this country: the unbalanced breakdown of the American Family.
What we are forgetting to focus on when we see that 40 percent of breadwinners in this country are women is the amount of these women who are single mothers with an average salary of $24,000 a year. 44 percent of these mothers have never been married and one third of them are not working at all which means there is a high possibility they are on welfare. This is not something that should be celebrated. Capitalizing on this “You Go Girl” framework like in the Pew Research report is wrong, especially when the facts remain that a single breadwinning mother heads 25 percent of American households with children under the age of 18. According to the article in the Washington Post, both conservative and libertarian women argue that the media wrongly focuses on the former congratulatory trend of married mothers on the way up and that they largely ignore the latter trend of the growing number of single mothers who are more likely to stay down, struggling in a life of poverty.
This is just one of many social issues but the fact that the media is framing it as a positive and a great achievement for women is overshadowing a very real problem. Feminists and the media are portraying these types of reports as liberating but how can this be the case? Traditional life scripts have broken down and in 2014 conservative women and the GOP are looked down upon for wanting to preserve the American Family. It’s hard to be a conservative woman simply because feminists and liberals don’t feel as though we are cheerleaders for women when this is not the case. The “You Go Girl” framework is misconstruing the facts.
Why must the success of women and even men be centered and judged on their careers? We need to challenge these ideas that are poisoning feminism. What if we spent more time teaching young women how to capitalize on their individual talents and goals in order to achieve them? A policy needs to be put in place that is dedicated to improving the lives and educational opportunities for young girls and women that we can all stand behind. This new type of feminism would focus on an individual’s progress and achievements. Not just simply praising empty slogans like “You Go Girl” that doesn’t apply to many women’s lives. It’s time for a new conversation one that believes and empowers women not divides us against one another.