Why women don't win reality shows, or presidential campaigns (maybe)

This morning, I realized that the presidential campaign is basically a big game of Survivor, and that Hillary probably isn't going to win, and that we'll be able to write her political epitaph using basically the same premise as this Twop recap of the show's last season:

Amanda -- in the great tradition of women who play well, feel obligated to either pretend to be sorry or actually try to feel sorry, and who fall into the ravine between "keep it real" reality-show expectations and "don't brag" socialization-of-women expectations as a result -- receives one vote, [despite]having played a smarter strategic game than anyone.

The key difference here is that Hillary isn't playing like she's sorry, and we can't cope with it. Fundamentally, we still don't know how women are supposed to behave in mixed-gender competitions; we have no idea how they are supposed to win while still seeming "nice" and "likable". And that's why, honestly, I think that sexism is a bigger obstacle than racism. I don't mean to trivialize Obama's obstacles, but I honestly think that we, as a country, are more comfortable watching a black man compete than watching a woman, of any ethnicity, do the same. That socialization of women, to be "likable", to be "pleasing", always, always also means learning to be diffident, learning to be non-confrontational, learning to FOLLOW rather than LEAD, at least publicly.

Hence, we have this election, we have Chris Matthew's jaw-dropping sexism, the acceptance of "bitch" in commentary, and this:

Another study, by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, found that 58 per cent of stories on Clinton on the main ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News Channel newscasts from the beginning of October to mid-December were dominated by negative comments. By contrast, 61 per cent of the comments about Barack Obama were positive, and so was 67 per cent of the John Edwards coverage. (AP)

And even tho all of this was covered in the news already, a few weeks ago, and Matthews has since "apologized", that doesn't make it any less true. Hillary may not get elected because she's not likable enough, and she's not likable enough because she's a female leader. It's just so... so... augh. So augh I can't even talk about it anymore. Augh.


Anonymous said...

I don't know. You may be right- but HIllary Clinton has caused herself a lot of problems- been manipulative and distortive; thus, her candidacy may be compromised by her personal flaws and poor decisions, not just this country's chauvinism and our inability to 'cope' with her not being sorry.

She sucks. That's why [I hope] she won't win.

Yoyo said...

I don't get the "manipulative distortive" thing as a charge specific to Hillary. If you look at the articles on factcheck.org from October to December, the same period where she was getting such ridiculously biased coverage in the mainstream media, she doesn't show up as being wrong/distortive significantly more than Obama.

Also: what, really, is the difference between her platform and that of Obama? They are running on virtually all the same planks... (Altho I do prefer H's healthcare plan, which is why she has my vote, really...)

This isn't a race about issues. It's a race about likability, and I don't think, honestly, that it's her strategic mistakes that people find so off-putting. I think it's her manner, and I think that manner is a problem because she's female. I'm not at all convinced that those personal "flaws" wld register so tellingly for a male candidate...

Ok, long response to a short comment. Also, tho: Hi Rafael! Thanks for commenting! GO HILLARY!