A few days ago I was the unwilling witness to a conversation between two men. They were talking about the upcoming presidential elections. One of them said “I am not sexist, but…” At this point I already knew that there is a sexist comment about to be made. It is like the times when people say “I don’t mean to be rude, but…” – you know that what that person is about to say is going to be rude.
Back to the conversation they had, he continued with “a woman cannot be the God dammed president of the United States. There is no way.”
“A woman could be the president,” the other one replied, “but not Hillary Clinton. She is just not president material.”
“Nah, man, if the Arabs find out we elected a woman to be the president, they will just start bombing us,” was the comment.
I was so shocked by the multitude of stereotypes that can fit in one person’s head, that I didn’t say anything. A lot of times it is senseless to try to convince people of things they don’t even consider.
Leaving aside the obvious misrepresentation of Arabs, that are not even all Muslims and the fact that most Muslims are not terrorists, I started wondering what are the chances of a woman becoming president of the United States? It would be nice to have an experiment where a man and a woman compete for the same position, have similar political programs, and pool the US population to see who has more chances. Since such an experiment is impossible, I tried to look for clues online.
First, I found this video.
Here, referring to a previous presidential campaign, Marc Rudov says “When Barack Obama speaks, men hear, ‘Take off for the future.’ And when Hillary Clinton speaks, men hear, ‘Take out the garbage.’” I don’t think it gets anymore sexist than that.
Next, I looked at Hillary Clinton’s campaign video. It had everybody there: gardeners, children, immigrants, moms going back to work after raising the children for a few year, new families being created, including gay families, children (again), retired people, pet owners and more children. She stresses the fact that she’s like everybody else and has made plans to become the next U.S. president.
Far from being a feminist, I would only vote for a woman if I actually liked her program and I thought she would make a good president. I would not vote for the idea of having a woman-president, even if her sex doesn’t influence my decision on any level. I am curious about the next presidential elections.