Friday, January 11, 2008

The Paradox of Girl Power, redux

Back when I was in college and at my most cynical, I wrote a bitchy piece called "The Paradox of Girl Power", scorning the concept of gender equality and the futility of the feminist movement. I remembered it while I was having a conversation with my sister regarding Hillary Clinton (whom we both dislike), and how her "breakdown" might have helped her win the New Hampshire primary. To me, this incident clearly illustrated the points I presented in my angry little article (I wish I still had a copy), which posited the idea that there are just some things women aren't good at/for... like being president.

I'm of the opinion that regardless of whether Hillary's tears were genuine or crocodile, they a) won her sympathy votes, primarily from female voters, and b) showed her to be weak. If the crying was for real, then it shows she cracks under pressure, and isn't strong enough to lead the most powerful nation in the world. If the crying was for show, then it shows she has to resort to cheap tactics, and isn't strong enough to stick to her principles. And I'm not buying the argument that it revealed Hillary's "humanity". That's simply another way of saying she's flawed, and I don't know about the typical American citizen, but as much as possible I wouldn't put my trust in a flawed leader (at least, one who is starting to show the chinks in her armor even before the actual elections).

The female voters' sympathy also supports my belief that women are by nature more emotional, and hence, more irrational. Hillary chokes up, and suddenly she's likable, poor thing. There, there, dry your eyes, I'll vote for you. Hillary's feminist supporters, the ones who would just love to see a woman do more in the White House than plan the Christmas decorations (as early as March, so Laura Bush said in a CNN interview... but I digress), these women should actually be upset with Mrs. Clinton for setting them back in their fight for gender equality, because she just proved-- with her tears AND with the female voters' response-- that women are indeed the weaker sex.

Before anyone castigates me for being such a sexist (and a traitor to my own gender), I would like to clarify that I do believe women are good at and in some cases better than men at many other things: excelling in academics, nurturing relationships, managing a household, running a small business, even. But running a huge corporation, much less an entire country? Sorry girls, but let's face it, we're not cut out to handle that much power. On a larger scale of things, men are more decisive, more objective, more logical, and generally made of tougher, sterner stuff. They worry less, nitpick less, are not as dramatic or moody, and tend to take things not as personally as women would. And most critically, they don't get PMS or menopause (anyone who tells me that's not a factor is obviously male, or a pre-adolescent female).

But what about the Margaret Thatchers and Tessie Sy-Cosons of the world, you may point out. I would then ask you to consider that the few women who do succeed in government and the corporate world possess inherently male characteristics more than female ones. Heck, most of them even sport short hair. It's a man's world, honey, and to play with the big boys, you gotta be a big boy. Unfair? Yes. But as my favorite rhetorical refrain goes, life is unfair. Take it like a man.

Admittedly, Hanks and I are firmly for Obama (you rock, Barack!), and Hillary reminds me too much of GMA for me to ever look at her without fighting the urge to gag, but personal bias aside, I would not want to see a woman as POTUS. I realize I'm not even American, and my opinion isn't going to be included in any polls, nor do I get to participate in the next primary or caucus (can anyone explain to me the difference please??). But Hillary's campaign for the Democratic presidential candidacy
reminds me too strongly of why women are, and probably always will be, at a disadvantage, even if she does end up winning the nomination AND the election.


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