It's taken Fox News' resident pseudoscientist Keith Ablow less than twenty-four hours to come up with a diagnosis for Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, whose comments about Ann Romney's work experience sparked controversy Wednesday night.
His expert opinion: Rosen is an "anti-gender" "hater" who despises femininity and stay-at-home moms.
In an April 12 column for FoxNews.com, Ablow wrote:
Top Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen provided a clear psychological window on women who despise other women when she showed gut-level contempt for Ann Romney -- describing her as "never having worked a day in her life."
These "anti-gender" women have it in for anyone who embraces her femininity, maternal instincts and capacity to nurture as their highest priority -- postponing or passing up other laudable opportunities to work at, say, a law firm or as a marketing executive. They despise the notion that some women may indeed be drawn -- instinctively and happily -- toward creating special and loving environments in which to raise their children, while spending all their available time sustaining and enriching those environments and those children.
Women who are happy raising families don't have much "cred" with Rosen or, for that matter, President Obama, because Rosen and Obama resonate only with those who carry the flag of the disenfranchised and abused. Anyone who thrives in an American company or American home, while proud and happy with any element of traditional American values, must be a hopeless automaton or relic of the oppressive past. [emphasis added]
At first glance, the column bears all the marks of a typical piece of Ablow pop-psychology:
- Violating professional ethics standards by diagnosing a public figure without permission or a formal examination
- Peddling unscientific and sexist stereotypes about how men and women are supposed to behave
- Using any excuse to take an unprovoked potshot at the Obama administration
His column takes a turn for the worse once he decides to bring up Rosen's sexual orientation. According to Ablow, Rosen's comments are "ironic" since she – as a lesbian raising twins with her partner – should be supportive of women raising children:
Hilary Rosen vilifying women who choose to be stay-at-home wives and mothers is particularly ironic, given that she has chosen an alternative lifestyle raising twins with a female partner, meaning no father-figure is present in her home. To enjoy the benefits of her alternative lifestyle while denigrating the lifestyle of Ann Romney shows that her seemingly infinite bandwidth for alternative lifestyles flows in one direction: only alternative. [emphasis added]
The real irony is that Ablow's (barely coherent) argument undermines the premise of the rest of his column – that Rosen despises femininity and the "feminine role." In fact, Ablow himself has frequently (and inaccurately) theorized that lesbian parents have a "discomfort with masculinity," even encouraging their male children to identify as transgender in order to be "like both of them." If Ablow's ridiculous theories about lesbians are true, it seems unlikely that Rosen's comments were motivated by a hatred of femininity.
The reality, of course, is that none of Ablow's theories are based on any kind of accepted or legitimate psychological research. As usual, his column amounts to little more than a right-wing diatribe disguised as credible medical expertise.