20080108

Women Are Never Front-Runners - New York Times

This showed up over and over again in my del.icio.us subscriptions today:
Women Are Never Front-Runners - New York Times:
"But what worries me is that he is seen as unifying by his race while she is seen as divisive by her sex.

What worries me is that she is accused of “playing the gender card” when citing the old boys’ club, while he is seen as unifying by citing civil rights confrontations.

What worries me is that male Iowa voters were seen as gender-free when supporting their own, while female voters were seen as biased if they did and disloyal if they didn’t."


Previously, I had saved this other tidbit to blog about, also from the New York Times.

Social psychologists have found that women in leadership roles are typically seen as either warm, likable and incompetent, or cold, distant and competent. To be a strong, competent woman is to be something culturally unattractive, which probably says something about why few American women even aspire to political office. Worldwide, even popular female politicians — Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Angela Merkel — are slapped with the moniker “iron lady.”


CNN keeps talking about the women's vote and Hillary Clinton. On Facebook, I see people taking debate positions like "the gender of a presidential candidate does not matter, only the candidate's experience and record." I disagree with both. A candidate's gender does matter, and not just in terms of electability. A woman as president will be received differently throughout her entire presidency. She will have to work a lot harder to overcome the points mentioned above by the writers in the nytimes. Many of the things she says and does will be trivialized as the hysterical reactions of an emotional woman.

Perhaps the better question to ask is not "can this woman be a good president" or even "can this candidate be a good president" but instead "can this candidate be a good woman president in our culture?"

Finally, I have one more point to add to the end of the second article I quoted. That essay ended with the statement, " The best way to convince voters that women leaders are fully human — likable and competent at times, unlikable and incompetent at others — is to fill the world with more of them." Currently, I find women and girls too often asked to keep the peace without ever speaking out. I feel it necessary to add that in order to raise these leaders that will let the world know women leaders are fully human is to let our daughters know that while the feminine role is often seen as a peacemaker role, respectable in its own right, it's ok to rock the boat too.

1 comment:

  1. Shelece1:02 PM

    Great post. You might want to check out http://feministing.com; they've recently started a series of blog posts entitled "24-Hour Hillary Sexism Watch" that explores these issues.

    Let's talk / correspond soon!

    ReplyDelete