Exactly what is the acceptable way to behave?

Remember back when Hillary Clinton was too cold and calculating to be President?  Well, now she’s too angry.  And too choked up about how she wants to change the country.  And yes, some of this is undoubtedly because the stunningly juvenile press corps just doesn’t like her. But it’s hard not too think about the bind that gender schemas place her in: If she doesn’t show emotion, she is creepily unfeminine. If she does show emotion, she is not to be trusted with power. (See Hegel, 166 Addition.) And even the showing of emotion is viewed and rewarded differently in men and women. The truth is, I’m not actually a big Hillary fan. But I don’t like what’s going on. Though maybe it’s wrong to attribute it too much to gender schemas, remembering what happened to Howard Dean when he showed too much emotion. And to ‘wooden’ Al Gore when he showed too little. What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Exactly what is the acceptable way to behave?

  1. Part of me feels like this is an inevitable consequence of the “celebrity factor” of American politics, or politics in republics more generally. In monarchies, a lot the star power and glurge about politicians’ personal lifes, their public face, and (especially) their spouses, will be focused on the monarch, leaving the Prime Minsterial race to be a bit more policy focused. It’s not perfect, mind – there’s still a lot more about our leaders’ emotional states then I’d like to see, but the US is exceptional in the level of reporting done on politicians’ personal lifes and their emotional states.

  2. I’m wondering if gender schemas explain the emotional accompaniment? Steinem’s op-ed piece that I mention in the post above this one employs the idea that women leaders make men feel like little kids again; I’m not fond of that explanation especially, but it would explain some of the emotion behind it all.

    Indeed, come to think about it, Obama may well be seen as more like ‘the good father,’ to Hillary’s ‘the punishing mother.’ O dear!

Comments are closed.