Ellen Goodman had an interesting column last Friday ("The Female Style -- Modeled By a Man") in which she notes that Hillary Clinton has become "the tough guy in the race" and Barack Obama "the Oprah candidate."
As Goodman explains, "He was the quality circle man, the uniter-not-divider, the person who believes we can talk to anyone, even our enemies. He finely honed a language usually associated with women's voices." She quotes political science professor Kathleen Dolan, who sees Obama as "the embodiment of the gentle, collaborative style without threatening his masculine side." Dolan adds, "He's being more feminine than she can be. She is in a much tighter box."
Goodman offers a brief history of leadership studies and concludes with a provocative question: "So, has the women's movement made life easier? For another man?"
I spoke to Goodman for her piece but she didn't end up quoting me. I wish I could have referred her to both Renee Cramer and J.K. Gayle, who were having a similar conversation here on GWP, while I was off feeding sheep!
In his astute response to Renee's post, J.K. Gayle shares some great links, which I wanted to share with everyone here. Comments J.K.:
Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, the world’s greatest scholar on womanly discourse and on presidential rhetoric, has conceded (to some of us at a conference recently) that Barack Obama is using feminist rhetoric. Kohrs Campbell is the one who wrote that famous “Hating Hillary” article a while back, in which she looked at the rhetorics of hate around Clinton. (I asked if she thought Toni Morrison, who endorses Obama, could fairly call him, if elected, “our first woman president.” Kohrs Campbell, who likes the idea of a true woman president sooner rather than later, replies: “yes, you could call him a ‘womanly’ presidential candidate.”)
In a related post, Hugo Schwyzer offers "A few notes on feminism, symbols, and youthful Obamophilia."
(Ellen, ask me again, and I will refer you to GWP readers!)