Monday, March 3, 2008

Obama: The First Woman President

Although I agree with most of what the article says, I must admit that my instinctual reaction to Newsweek's story was anger. I was outraged at two things:

1. Even with a female in the race, the MALE receives credit for being the "first woman president."

2. Just because Obama expresses optimism, modesty, collaboration, etc. these values somehow make him automatically "feminine." We as a nation have to realize that these qualities make us strong and possessing them, especially in combination with "masculine" values, is what will make a strong leader: male OR female.

Check out the article, it's interesting. Frankly, this line sums it up: "Elections aren't about leadership. They are about winning"If Clinton used Obama's tactics she would not have made it past the first caucus. Likewise, Obama's more "feminine" approach is congruent with his platform of "change" (it is a big change for a male candidate to express some of the qualities and values that Obama expresses). Is Clinton really as cold and authoritarian as she makes us believe? Is Obama really as warm and fuzzy? I doubt it. But these are the roles they both play in order to get elected.

Does Obama's platform of conversation and collaboration make him "the first woman president" (similar to Bill Clinton being the first black president)? What are your thoughts?


Sarah J said...

I commented on this article because I have noted from the beginning Hillary Clinton's very testosterone-heavy rhetoric vs. Obama's compromise and compassion talk. It's interesting to think about male vs. female rhetorical styles--and to note that of course, gendered speech is not necessarily tied to biological sex.

Dave said...

The double-standard rides again. So much of national politics relies on "feelings" about a candidate; whether the candidate seems trustworthy, or in this election, stands for change. What really bugs me is that gender and sex are interrelated in inappropriate combinations. Obama speaks "like a woman" and therefore has the bonus of appealing to voters because of his sex and his supposedly appropriated gender. Clinton speaks "like a man", but loses voters because her attitude doesn't match her genitalia. So, being a man and acting "like a woman" is acceptable, even lovable, but being a woman and "acting like a man" is despicable?

Kandee said...

Yes! Great post! I had so much to say I posted a semi-reply instead of leaving it here.