Obama – the first female president?
February 16, 2011 1 Comment
By Zai of Take Charge Ladies
For the past few months, I’ve made it a routine to come into the newsroom before sunrise. I sit at my desk, turn on the local news, go through my email, and browse the web for gasp-worthy news. Truth is, not much can get a gasp out of me. Today, though, I spotted something worth at least an eyebrow raise.
A Google search for “female president” (President’s Day is creeping up on us and I was looking for inspirational stories) resulted in some interesting headlines. Mostly, it was news of Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, who was elected last year (Bravo, Brazil!). Then, toward the bottom of the search engine page, a Washington Post op-ed headline read “Kathleen Parker – Obama: Our first female president.”
What? Now that’s just silly, I thought. I had to click on it to make sense of it. And now, after reading the terribly distasteful piece, it’s safe to say I’m still at a loss for sense.
In her column, Kathleen Parker makes her stereotypical and poorly written case by stating that “Obama displays many tropes of femaleness.” Apparently, he possesses traits that are inherently and strictly female (I didn’t know those existed).
“Obama may prove to be our first male president who pays a political price for acting too much like a woman,” Parker writes. “His lack of immediate, commanding action” during the BP oil spill “was perceived as a lack of leadership.”
In my opinion, if you’re going to criticize the president for not taking the correct measures or for irrationally dealing with crises, then say just that.
But to perpetuate gender stereotypes that give out a message that those bad traits, such as weakness, pertain to only women, that good politicians must be “manly” or that “women wouldn’t make good presidents,” well, that’s just stupid.
Parker needs to take a second to realize that she is in a male-dominated profession that years ago faced significant gender discrimination because females supposedly possessed the same traits she labels as “too womanly.”
The reason she gets to sit at her desk and write her opinions is because female journalists worked hard to prove women could be aggressive watchdogs and effective leaders.
Unfortunately and in a way ironically, Parker seems to be doing quite the opposite.