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The Wednesday Five: The Top 5 Articles from Our Election Coverage

Over the past few months, we’ve carefully examined how women have been impacted by the 2016 Presidential Election season. Here are the top five articles you, our readers, told us resonated the most.

 

 

Is Character Destiny?

“The fellow is a catastrophe, but that’s no reason not to find him interesting as a personality and destiny.” So wrote author Thomas Mann, in reference to a new politician on the scene. As Americans grapple with an election in which both candidates have “issues” that have discouraged voters, it is important to understand what character is, and it behooves us to distinguish between flaws vs. issues that define someone on a more fundamental level. Many people lived to regret not examining the man referred to in this quote with a more critical eye.

What is character and how much influence does it play in our lives? Once, it was something frequently referenced, as an important measure of a man — or woman. Now it is a quaint notion, almost out of fashion. New words have been substituted for it — words like “temperament” — that don’t really mean the same thing. What are the meanings of these terms and how are such things actually measured or judged?  Read more . . .

 

In the Locker Room: Talk Matters

Depositphotos_40843519_m-2015But as men mature, and become more comfortable around women and more sure of themselves, they are freer to express not only individual preferences in their attraction for women, but also affection. Yet even rituals surrounding “grown” men, like bachelor parties, are sometimes centered on rough talk and the group objectification of women. One could argue, however, that the groom and his friends are, on the brink of his wedding, helping him bid such “immature” behavior goodbye.

Mature men should be expected to express civil and respectful attitudes toward women, even in private. If they do not, it can be evidence of fixation at an immature level, or even outright misogyny. But in a culture in which such issues as rape on college campus are in the spotlight as a major problem, there should be more pressure on men to be respectful. Instead, standards of behavior have plummeted, even as women have sought to fight back against the objectification that leads to violence. Read more . . .

 

Looksism Takes Center Stage in Presidential Politics

HillaryClintonSept2016Debate640When Clinton is giving a speech in a stern voice, rather than perceiving her as “presidential,” some judge her as cold or angry. A stern or even angry-sounding man is more often thought to be responding appropriately to an outrageous “situation.” And so, with this background in mind, Hillary Clinton was widely expected to have a bigger challenge than her opponent in a debate, despite the certainty that she is more prepared to discuss substantive issues.

Given this research, it seemed to me that a woman’s best gambit in a debate with a man would be to pretend that she was at a “tea party” and smile graciously throughout. Perhaps Mrs. Clinton read about it too, because that seemed to be close to her strategy on Tuesday night. The split screen offered a striking contrast of the two candidates: He was huffing and puffing and scowling while her most expressive look was an ironic smile.

Consider the following: What if their behavior had been reversed, and Clinton has scowled, interrupted, sniffled, and groaned? Given what we know about the different standards that women are held to, I can only imagine the attacks that would be forthcoming. But despite her calm demeanor and pleasant façade, some fear that she will fall short of convincing voters that she is “warm” or “likeable” — a requirement, it seems, for female candidates. Read more . . .

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