Leading from the Left

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Gender & Race

Thoughtful quote of the day: "If pundits ever tried to understand what some female voters know about the complexity of women's lives, they might begin to comprehend the appeal of a female candidate whose ethic of caring and whose posture of femininity derive from responsibilities beyond the maternal."

The above quote is from an extraordinarily thoughtful and thought-provoking editorial in the LA Times. More, and the link, are below.

It's fascinating, really, to watch how gender and race are playing out in the Democratic primary. And I'm not referring to the horse race aspect, ie "How big a percentage of women voters is Hillary (or Barack) getting?" or "Is what is the African-American turnout going to be in South Carolina?"

Instead, I mean the perceptions, pre-conceptions, and stereotypes that are being applied and misapplied in this election. This being the first election in which a female candidate and/or an African-American candidate have had a real chance of winning, perceptions and stereotypes are being exposed as never before. The candidates are maneuvering through a minefield that no one's had to tip-toe through previously. While the candidates are doing so with varying degrees of sensitivity, the media seems downright oblivious, particularly with regard to gender.

Susan Faludi's op-ed in the LA Times is one of the most perceptive analyses I've yet seen about what's going on in this race with regard to gender. It's worth a read.