Because in our American patriarchy, when accomplished, outspoken women pursue positions of power, they are routinely painted as unreliable and unlikable — snakes in human form.
And so we are, once again, being asked to question whether a woman is “electable,” by which we really mean whether all of her qualifications for the job can outweigh the fact that she is a woman.
…We talked about Brett Kavanaugh, and the gut-punch of his confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court. About watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford speaking of humiliations and violations that rang incredibly true to all of us, her words landing on indifferent ears. Watching her throw herself in front of the train, knowing that it would make no difference, that she would be disbelieved and dismissed, that he would be confirmed anyway. Knowing that he now sits on the highest court of the land, for life, making precedent-setting decisions on how and whether women are allowed the rights to our own bodies.
…About how much it hurts to hear about the specter of “ruined” male lives, while so many men accused of misconduct have in fact remained in the public eye, and even begun resuming elements of their former careers, while the women who spoke out are forever defined by having done so.
And yes, we talked about “electability.” About how a man like Bernie Sanders can be as prickly and rumpled as he likes in public, relying on the substance of his politics and the strength of his convictions to impress. How a woman like Elizabeth Warren must always follow a moving target, presenting the perfect (impossible) combination of feminine softness and political edge. How we never hear men being called “likable,” because for men, being liked is not a prerequisite for being successful.