There’s a heated race for the US Rep seat in my district, and I have been both surprised and disgusted to see the challenger referred to consistently as “the little girl”. She’s a Harvard grad in CS/Econ, she worked at MS (for better or worse), she lost her first baby, and is now the mother of one.
Admittedly, she photographs very young. She looks young in person, but not as young as her pics. And like the accomplished, booksmart women who were the oldest in her family whom I know, she comes across as someone who was a “very good girl”, and, for better or worse, didn’t veer far off the “very good” path.
Her opponent is the incumbent, a former sherriff. He looks like a former sherriff. His hair is so thick and perfectly styled, he should run for office in Texas. He was a career law enforcement person, and has the unmistakable stench of blind ambition. He has the bad management 101 habit of taking credit for all that was remarkably good on his watch, and none of the bad.
The opposition refers to her as “The little girl who wants to be…” in the blogosphere. I would love to meet some of these people, especially the men, in person. Are they vexed by the fact that she is young, accomplished, female and unapologetic? Flip the young and female, and you’ve got the camera-chaser that is the incumbent. And as for the women, well, there is the “crabs in the bucket” theory, but I think it’s more than that, and more complicated.
I think there is an enduring lesson here, that many people vote for the man they’d like to share a beer with, rather than the woman who might do a better job, especially if she will let you know it. In order for a woman to get things done, does she really have to flatter every insecure person in the room, and defuse the ominous threat that is self-confidence? (My experience says yes.) Ironically, be a girl, or an explicitly non-threatening woman.
Smart women with political ambitions take heed; only the “girls” survive. Go, girl, go!