Letter to the Editor: Don’t Talk About My Suburban Mother Like That


Zoe Manzanetti

“The Inevitably Imperfect Political Debate” (published: September 30, 2015) explained concerns about the veracity of statements made during political debates; the author was specifically discussing how candidates “use sound bite lines because they understand that these line up votes more successfully than any dry description of policy.”  While a controversial issue, it was not one that particularly affected me. However, there was a section that did particularly affect me because of the unsupported and sexist nature of the remark:

“A suburban mother is too concerned about taking care of her children and paying the mortgage to learn the difference between the tax policies of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Perhaps that difference does not even really matter to her. Of course, she can still appreciate a politician saying a line that helps justify her beliefs—a line she does not have to think about for very long.”

To the author of the piece: I am sorry if your mother is politically ignorant, but please do not drag my mother or any other “suburban mother” into this. First of all, what is the difference between a suburban mother and, let’s say, a city mother? Are city mothers going to know the different tax policies of the candidates merely because they live in the city; is there something in the water so they learn all about politics through osmosis? What about the country mothers- are the city mothers getting their water from the same well as the country mothers?

Even if “suburban” is being used as a synonym for ordinary, why are you making the generalization that mothers are more politically uninformed than the rest of society? Are you saying the fathers of our nation aren’t concerned about taking care of their children or paying their mortgages? I feel like the fathers should be extra concerned about paying the mortgage because, after all, the math and finance of the household is the man’s job, right?

Let me give you one good reason why this piece is so libelous: my mother.

My mother has spent a lot of time raising kids, she had four kids in the span of six years and so she has had her fair share of rearing; however, we, her children, have had a fair share of NPR. My mother wasn’t “too concerned about taking care of her children” to the point where she couldn’t stayed informed. She admonished her children, me included, when we didn’t “think about [a line] for very long,” if we just digested everything the news and media fed to us.

Also, my mother has her Doctorate’s Degree in Education from the University of Southern California, a school well acclaimed for teaching its students, even those that are mothers, to think long and hard about things. Even further, my mother actually didn’t get her Doctorate’s Degree until just a few years ago; she started her program while I was in the fourth grade. So, she achieved the highest academic degree in four years while she raised four kids, worked full time, taught a class for a Teaching Credential Program, and kept herself politically informed.

Now I do acknowledge that my mother is pretty incredible, however I have no doubt that there are millions of other mothers across the nation that are just as incredible as mine. So how dare you make the harsh generalization that “suburban mothers” aren’t deserving enough to be politically informed. I know it’s an opinion article and you are more than welcome to have your own opinion, however if you’re going to be just as ignorant as you claim the “suburban mothers” to be, then please don’t publish them in the school newspaper. My mother wouldn’t approve.


  1. First of all, I hope this is a joke. If not, below is my critique.

    Zoe, I think you need to take a deep breath and reconsider whether or not you are justified in overreacting. You were clearly offended at the use of “suburban mother”, and thought it to be a generalization of all suburban mothers, so you immediately went to defend your suburban mother. You were wrong. This was not a generalization, it was a fictional anecdote designed to enhance the point of the article. Fiorina made false claims. A suburban mother who is busy with other preoccupations might not be too concerned with the validity of a politicians statement, especially if she is an “evangelical christian”, given that those who are religious are more likely to be pro-life. So, if a politician is pro-life, and the suburban mother is too busy with other things, and happens to be an evangelical christian, then it is extremely plausible for that mother to vote for that candidate. The context, as you clearly did not take notice of, is important. You read way too much into the writers use of a fictional anecdote. Let me say that again, a fictional anecdote. Not real. Not your mother.

    When it comes to your mother, I’m happy that she is a well educated and involved person. Great. Fantastic. Terrific.

    However, don’t you dare call someone ignorant without looking at yourself in the mirror. Your mother wouldn’t approve.

    Now, if you don’t agree with me. Leave the university. This is not a place of nonsensical emotional ranting. It is a place of thought.

    Francisco Olvera (concerned student)