A link on Comcast's "news" site reads "Teary Clinton: This is Personal." The article appears if you click on the blog post title, albeit with a different headline: "Emotional Clinton." (There's a big connotative distance between 'teary' and 'emotional,' no?)
The article is a fluff piece but it made me wonder about several things.
Does the media hold women to a different standard than men? Clinton has been repeatedly described as "cold" by major newspapers and television reporters. Do they (do we?) assume that emotions are for women and that the presidency must be reserved for stoical men?
Here's a quick snippet of another article I found on the web. Check out the references to emotions:
Mrs Clinton was asked to explain why voters found her less likable than Mr Obama, a key factor in her third-place finish in Iowa where she picked relatively few second choice votes. “Well, that hurts my feelings - I’ll try to go on,” she said, in a rare public display of humour. “He’s very likable, I agree with that. But I don’t think I’m that bad.”
When Mr Obama responded that she was “likable enough,” Mrs Clinton gave him a frosty, "I appreciate that", before comparing his candidacy to that of George Bush eight years ago.
Pat Schroeder, a Congressperson from CO, ran for president about 20 years ago and cried during a speech about war. Some pundits laughed at this as proof that women couldn't handle the pressure of the office since "they get so emotional so easily." But Schroeder rightly, it seems to me, insisted that sadness and grief were entirely appropriate responses to sad events.
For the record, there have been at least 80 female heads of state since WWII.
[Spoiler Alert!] In Macbeth, Shakespeare's hero Macduff hears that his family has been murdered. His young friend Malcolm says, "Let us put on our manhood and make medicines of our grief." In other words, "Let's get even." But Macduff, instead says, "I will act as a man, but first I must feel it as a man." Once again Shakespeare (Billy Spears to you young hipsters out there) knew: fully developed men feel emotions, too.
Cynically, I also wonder about Clinton's voice "breaking" and "catching" and her eyes "welling" on the eve of the NH primary. Coincidentally, yesterday her pollster, Mark Penn, said she wasn't coming across as a "real person." Does her performance -- yes, friends, she too is a performer -- today establish her as a warm person who seems "real" -- she feels things afterall; her voice broke -- without actually crying, which would feed the stereotypical image of the sobbing woman? We'll know what New Hampshire voters decided by this time tomorrow.