Photo Credit: ABC
In an interview on The View, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was asked how she’d respond to the idea that women’s rights are so closely associated with the left despite Republican women like herself working hard for government today. Before she could even get through the second sentence of her answer however, which began, “Women don’t care about contraception, they care about jobs, and the economy, and raising their families, and all of those things. So we should never...” Behar cut in, “But they care about contraception, too!”
“The media wants to talk about contraception,” Governor Haley countered, trying to get back on track, but Behar wasn’t about to let it go. Bringing up Rick Santorum’s threat to “take [contraception] away,” the talk show host known for her crassness brought the conversation back around just before the end of the segment.
Had the Governor been allowed to finish her thoughts, we’d probably be spending less time in horror at the idea that women “don’t care about contraception” and more time in awe of a politician that’s actually in tune with her electorate. The thing is, Nikki Haley is right, women don’t care about contraception. The context here is that there are shades of grey in everything. Of course they care about contraception to a point, but in this election, at this very moment, they don’t care about it like they care about the economy, they don’t care about it like they care about jobs, they don’t care about it like they care about soldiers coming home safe. Women care about contraception, right up to the point that they really don’t. At least not all that much.
Political analysts care about contraception, feminist bloggers care about contraception, liberal talk show hosts care about contraception and because they work in the political media day in and day out they often forget they’re not the majority.
When I’m sitting in my office fielding emails and keeping tabs on the news and scanning social media, the people around me in that space care about contraception, but only because it’s a hot button talking point. When I shut down at the end of the day and rejoin my family, the people around me in that space don’t care about contraception. When we load the kids up and meet a group of other families for dinner the women there aren’t talking about contraception. When I meet a friend for coffee she’s not talking about contraception. When I overhear women in public spaces, they’re not talking about contraception. What these women are talking about is money, jobs, and getting their kids back and forth to extracurricular activities at more than four dollars per gallon.
The thing is, Rick Santorum scooping up all of the country’s birth control and locking it away in a super-secret vault isn’t a real, immediate threat. Paychecks drying up in a time when other jobs are scarce, gas slowly becoming prohibitively expensive to the point it limits our kids’ opportunities, and the neighbor’s son or daughter not coming home from a war-torn desert on the other side of the world--these things are real and immediate, these things occupy precious mental realty in American women’s minds. So no, women don’t care about contraception the way Behar does, but they do care about a whole lot more and Nikki Haley seems to have a handle on precisely what that is.