Sarah Palin: Potential Downsides of Being a Forceful Woman

Consider that tonight Governor Palin was speaking to ‘her people.’
Her people were indeed wowed.
Her talents are obvious.

However, in the larger world, it remains to be seen how Governor Palin’s many talents will play, for it is still sometimes true in our culture, no matter how developed we might be…

that a man who is bold in attack, is often seen as authoritative, manly
Sometimes a woman who is bold is seen only as ballsy, pushy, castrating, not womanly… in essence, not dependable.

–Men have rules of engagement in battle (most of the time) and can thrust and parry; and listeners often remark on ‘the debate’ and on the elegance or inelegance, buffooning or grace of each opponent. And men, whether lawyers or politicians or sport players, or other, are often invited to meet for rematch another day.
A woman who uses smiling thrust-and-parry that draws blood or not, even when she is right and abov-board, is often seen as snide, covertly vicious, a harridan, a scold, trying to start a ‘cat fight,’.. in essence, untrustworthy. Women whom others decide are ‘cat fight starters’ are not seen as heroic as men often are, but as divisive. They are not invited to a gentlewomen’s rematch; they are often marginalized instead.

–Actual satirists who deliver satire seamlessly are often praised and create a following.
Politicians who use sharp-edged satire, as Governor Palin did tonight, risk confusing a good number of ‘undecided’ listeners about whether their intention is comedic or serious, retaliatory or leaderly.
–A woman in politics or business who attempts scathing or skewering humor, is often enough seen as bitter, vengeful, overtly or covertly angry.

when a man is quick to judge and arm a plan, he is often considered decisive, ‘taking care of business.’
–when a smart woman is very fast to be decisive, she is sometimes seen as impulsive, unreliable, in essence… labile.

–Even when a woman is right , when she carries a chronic scornful tone of voice, a rolling-eyes-at-ceiling look that is mocking, many persons react negatively… even those who might agree with her premise… for they know if she will do it to another, the day will come when she may aim same at them.

There is more to say, but this is an article, not a book. lol. Yet, I would say this last about women in general who are in the public eye…

I have written here at TMV before… that women in politics and high-profile positions are sometimes treated in the MSM with highly-unusual attacks on their looks, allusions to their menstrual cycles, their ages, their attractiveness, their sexuality, their wife-liness, or singleness; their children, or their not having children, what they do or don’t do with their families.

Too often, the words used to describe them sometimes seem way, way out there, serving no revelation, devoid of accurate facts, psychologically way more than just simple dislike or different preferences.

Yet, I think we all note that anyone who sticks their neck out publicly for political leadership –male or female– will be barraged by ‘everyone and their mother… and father’ … both pro and con.

Yet, are women in the political public eye treated more scurrilously than men? I honestly don’t know. It appears, however, that women are often treated ‘differently,’ especially when the opinion/analysis–media or otherwise– is purely negative.

Author: DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

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