While I'm legally obligated to mention in every post about the upcoming election that it will be very close and polls are saying all kinds of things that should keep people of all political stripes glued to cable news outlets during this, the political media's quadrennial Christmas shopping season, there's something terrible happening before our very eyes that we're overlooking. We're witnessing the deadliest portmanteau war in recent history. In attempting to coin a kicky, pundit-friendly name for the low education, low income female swing voter, hundreds of sweeping generalities have perished, sweeping generalities that had families and hopes and dreams. The latest attempt to fit an entire swath of women, many of whom are neither waitresses nor moms, into an easily regurgitated phrase: WAITRESS MOMS.
The New York Times ran another one of its "idiot poverty tourism" stories today, so that the apartment-dwelling latte sipping Wesleyan grads that read that paper on the regular can get a gawk at how the other 95% lives. Here's the scoop, you guys: the seventeen remaining undecided voters who will decide this election are all women who didn't go to college. They live in Ohio and their names are all Linda. And the Times have decided that this growing demographic of "blue collar white women who did not attend college" are not Wal Mart Moms or Hockey Moms or Mama Grizzlies or even Rock of Love: Bus moms. They're not necessarily mothers or waitresses, but let's call them WAITRESS MOMS, anyway, because they're about to serve the electorate up with a steaming hot plate of the ELECTION HOTDISH SURPRISE.
The Times explains the WAITRESS MOMS name by explaining that in the 90's, there were a lot more middle class women with children, and they had spunky 90's haircuts and chunky highlights and boot cut jeans and were constantly driving their kids around to soccer practice in their Ford Windstars. But nowadays, there are a lot more poor people. They can't afford to send their kids to soccer practice anymore, and they've sold the Windstar so they can buy computer classes at DeVry University. The kids are playing stickball now, or hole dig, or Sit N Look with the television. And the moms are undecided.
I understand that part of the job of the news media is to create a narrative, and also that there are some women in Ohio and Florida who don't know who they're going to vote for. But can we please stop categorizing voting blocs of women by whom they're supposedly servicing and by whether or not they're moms? Waitress moms? Really? Let's permanently move away from the "____ MOM" label. Either that, or start referring to men by whether or not they reproduced, and for whom they run errands. Perhaps "Tampon Run Husbands" for men who may not be married and also only purchase small items at a time. "Strip Club Dads" for aging men — some of whom are neither dads nor strip club frequenters — whose cars smell like cigarettes and gas station coffee cups and armpits.