Ann Romney's Dangerous World for Women

When Ann Romney gave her speech to the Republican National Convention a few weeks ago, her purpose was to "humanize" her husband. To make him more likable...particularly to women voters.

I don't know how well she did in achieving that particular goal, but I do know that she presented an image of a world for women that was downright dangerous.

How? By presenting a limited and limiting picture of who women are and what they can be.

The picture that Mrs. Romney painted for and about women was one of no aspiration beyond hearth and home. In fact, she stated - twice - that the primary goal of women who work outside the home is to lessen their time at work. Not to achieve.

She gave no quarter nor showed any interest in women having goals beyond taking care of husband and family. Of being "helpmeet" and the keeper of all the important phone the emergency doctor and 24-hour pharmacy.

Ultimately, by ignoring the idea that women can be - or, worse, want - more, Mrs. Romney very prettily put women back by decades. And that's unforgivable.

But what's most distressing, by far, is when women turn on women - as Mrs. Romney did in her speech.

By purposefully lowering aspirations, she disempowers women from living the lives they want - which can and does include happy family lives with and without career. She makes women less and, for that, she should be ashamed.

My father died when I was 13 years old. About a year later, my mother told me, in passing, that she had never wanted to get married and never wanted children but was forced to do so by family and societal pressure.

She assured me that she had loved my father and loved us kids - but, because the only thing women were supposed to achieve was to be married, she had been forced to turn away both scholarships and career opportunities that would have given her the satisfaction that society told her was not to be hers. Simply because she was a woman.

That's the world that Mrs. Romney portrayed in her speech. A world that necessitates death or divorce for a woman to have the freedom to fulfill herself.

I'm glad that Mrs. Romney has lived a life that fulfills her. But it is absolutely not her business to impose her life choices on anyone else.

It's our lives and we have the right to live them as we choose.