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  • Reverend James Squire

If You Don’t Want Me To Hurt Him Then You Are In the Wrong Place

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

Whether you are a Republican or Democrat you have to recognize the tough road for women seeking political office. I have had the opportunity to work with strong women and have learned that the comfort level that I have with powerful women was modeled by a tough as nails mother who could care less if you liked her or not.

I had a parent come to see me because she was having a difficult time dealing with a verbally abusive husband during a messy divorce. She had an attorney but wanted another lawyer who may be able to help her more, but she really didn’t know what that “more” should be. I guess her lawyer was not as assertive as she felt necessary. We sat down across from a lawyer friend of mine and she poured out her heart to him. Suffice it to say that this woman would be the opposite of my mother. Finally, my friend the lawyer said, “Listen, if you don’t want me to hurt him, you are in the wrong place.” I personally believe as was true for my lawyer friend that love and empathy are stronger forces than “hurting” another. However, certain circumstances such as running for office requires a real toughness as measured by the masses. “You have to be perceived as “tough as a man” but not too much for “you need to be liked”. What a classic double bind that men don’t have to navigate.

I have been studying gender issues for some time. I particularly have found the work of Deborah Tannen, a linguistic professor at Georgetown University, to be most helpful to me. I have read everything that she has written starting with her important work described in You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men In Conversation. Women like to be liked much more than men. Men don’t want conversation which is the way that women develop intimacy. Men want closure with “a let’s just get it done attitude” which is interpreted as decisive. These are culturally formed characteristics. You could find another culture where the reverse is true. They are not biological in nature.

Keep in mind the following during the Republican and Democratic Convention and throughout the final stretch of this campaign. Here is what gender studies and social psychology tell us. Simply people will vote for a woman if they FIRST like her and then they will look at her leadership skills, political positions, and what she believes. They must like her FIRST.

People will vote for a man if they agree with his political positions, leadership skills, and what he believes. That is FIRST! They don’t need to like him at all.

It was stated frequently that Hilary Clinton was the “most qualified person” to be president in the history of the presidency. It was also known in post-election interviews that people did not like her. People gave little regard for her history. (I know that it was stated that she didn’t get elected because of her views and a need for change. Deborah Tannen and I would not buy that.)

Donald Trump was not liked by many. Everyone thought that his locker room talk recorded by Billy Bush would be his end. He even thought that it was over and post-election interviews reflected that he didn’t think he would be elected at all. The people who voted for him overlooked his personal flaws and likability and voted for the “change” that they thought was necessary.

No one has noticed that gender issues and social psychology may determine the election more than we want to acknowledge. “If you don’t want me to hurt him, you are in the wrong place.” Watch how likeability issues expressed as weakness get carefully balanced with raw power in the days and months ahead. The males only have to win one half of the deal based on the issues. Kamala will have to pass both the issues and likability test. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Never has been!

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