A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women & Politics: Why Aren’t Women Voting for Women?

Women & Politics: Why Aren’t Women Voting for Women?

Women & Politics: Why Aren’t Women Voting for Women?

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Dr. Peggy Drexler

Author, research psychologist and gender scholar

Many reports still show that female voters remain reluctant to vote for a woman. In an AP analysis of data from the 2006 American National Election Study Pilot Test, researchers found that when it came to selecting a candidate for president, gender matters more for women than for men. And that while women are more likely to vote for a candidate because she is female, they are also more likely to dismiss her for that very same reason.

Back in August, the ever-charming Fox News suggested this was because women voters “want a Daddy figure.” Others point to a resistance against feminism, and a sense that women are themselves holding fast to the paternalistic view that they are not as good as men. Sherrye Henry wrote The Deep Divide after her own unsuccessful bid for a New York senate seat. In it, she argues that women won’t support female political candidates because of the disparity between what women believe and their willingness to act on those beliefs — the “deep divide.” That is, women say they want equality, but do they really?

The truth is that double standards still exist between women and men in positions of power, and female candidates are often asked to be not only as qualified and appealing as their male counterparts, but far more so. Tiffany Dufu, president of the White House Project, a nonprofit organization committed to increasing female leadership in politics and elsewhere, has said that female voters are indeed tougher on female candidates and that, in fact, “any individual who does not fit the leadership status quo — a man, and usually a privileged, white one has to meet a higher bar.” The same divergent expectations for women versus men show up in other fields, such as medicine, where a male surgeon may be the preferred choice unless, of course, his female counterpart graduated the top of her Ivy League class, has an impeccable track record and selective patient list, and is otherwise unimpeachable.

Women, still judge other women — simply put, continue to be judged against the standards initiated and maintained by men. And because many women therefore know quite well what it’s like to feel judged, they then turn that judgment back on one another. Women are notoriously harsh towards other women, especially in the professional sense. According to a recent study by the Workplace Bullying Institute, women bully other women at work — verbal abuse, job sabotage, misuse of authority, and destroying of relationships — more than 70 percent of the time. Another study by Business Environment found 72 percent of women judged female coworkers based on what they wore to the office.

None of this is helped by Hollywood, which continues to perpetuate the notion of the “career” (ever hear of the “career” man) woman as a bitchy, unwomanly, Prada-wearing devil. Many of these movies, marketed largely to women, depict powerful women as, at best, something to be wary of, and at worst, something to disdain. Women want to like their female candidates. In the voting booths, do they want to support the tough, demanding boss lady they’d never invite over for dinner? Or the nurturing, motherly softy who’d get creamed on the Senate floor? Can a woman ever be both? Can she be neither? Unfortunately it’s been hard to convince voters that women aren’t necessarily one or the other: good at their jobs or likable.

Of course, women’s resistance to female candidates could also be owing to how she looks. It’s pointless to argue that looks don’t matter. In her groundbreaking 1999 book, Survival of the Prettiest, Harvard Medical School psychologist Nancy Etcoff argued that good-looking people get better jobs, are better paid, and have an easier time in life. Evolutionarily speaking, pretty people win. Science confirms this as it relates to politics: A 2006 study from the University of Helsinki looked at the role of beauty in politics and found that the better-looking the candidate, the more competent, trustworthy, and likeable he or she was perceived to be.

The study also looked at male candidates, but again, the stakes are higher for women, who are judged if they’re unattractive and then judged if they do something about it. Just look at Nancy Pelosi: Bright-eyed in her early 70s, the “glamorous grandma” — as the press have dubbed her in articles that continue to focus nearly as much on her face as on her politics — has endured ridicule for preternaturally dewy skin and eyebrows that seem ever on the rise. Oh, and that she wears too much makeup. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has hair watchdogs monitoring her every straightening. She is one of the most accomplished politicians of the century, but her choice of hair accessories — scrunchie or headband? –is still hotly debated. Her longtime hair stylist even got a book deal.

The good news is that Americans — men and women — are becoming more conditioned to the notion of female power, from the victories of Election 2012 to the Pentagon’s recently-lifted ban on women in combat. With every move toward equality, women in charge will no longer be seen as an aberration, a fluke, rarities to be examined and analyzed like specimens.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peggy-drexler/why-arent-women-voting-fo_b_2556788.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

A Woman’s Story: What Could Have Saved My Brother From His Mental Illness

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Rachel Hollis

MyChicLife.com, Lifestyle Blogger, Mom, Wife, Wine Drinker

My big brother Ryan was funny and unfailingly kind. He was one of the most talented musicians you might encounter, and had a prodigious ability to pick up any instrument and play it by ear within the span of a single day. He was handsome. I didn’t know it then, because I was younger than he was and not inclined to think about it. But when I look back at photos now and see him with his cocky grin and his startling blue eyes, I realize that he would have been quite the catch.

When I was a young girl, he was my best friend, my constant playmate. I can still see the two of us vividly in my memory, staying up late in our room playing the alphabet game: “My name is Carla and I’m going to Cincinnati to sell Crabapples. My name is David and I’m going to Delaware to sell Dogs…” 

As an adolescent, he was my protector. He advised me on how to handle a bully, how to throw a punch and how to thread a ramen noodle in through my nose and pull it out through my mouth. He wasn’t necessarily better or worse than anyone else’s big brother, but he was mine and I loved him.

He was my big brother until I was about 12 years old, and then his mental illness took over almost completely.

He would take his own life before I turned 15.

It’s heavy, I know, the reality of that sentence. But here I am, admitting the worst of the worst, the ugly truth of my brother’s disease and its near-destruction of the family it left behind. I’m talking about it 16 years after his death because when it comes to mental illness, nobody else is. Because people are afraid to talk about it, to admit to its existence in their own lives or in the lives of their loved ones who aren’t getting themselves the help they need.

I spent yesterday afternoon with a friend of mine who has a brother who recently started struggling with mental illness. As with Ryan, these problems didn’t start until her brother was a teenager. It’s like someone simply flipped a switch and turned this bright, charismatic, straight-A student into someone unrecognizable. She feels impotent and frustrated in the face of a disease she has no experience with and beyond me, she doesn’t know anyone else who does. She told me yesterday: “If he had cancer or heart disease, I feel like I could talk about it with other people and find support. But I’m terrified to say anything, I don’t want them to think this is all he’s ever been… he used to be so much more.”

I understand where she’s coming from completely. I grew up in a small town and mental illness wasn’t something anyone talked about. I didn’t want to admit that my brother was “crazy.” It was sad and shameful, and if I’m being honest, embarrassing. Even now, living in Los Angeles, a fairly forward-thinking, self-help kind of place, I don’t think it’s something most people bring up in polite conversation. thirty thousand Americans will commit suicide this year and 1 in 4 adults — that’s fifty-seven million people — suffer from a mental health disorder. It’s terrifying that even I didn’t know those statistics until I looked them up.

57 million people in this country are suffering from variations of the same disease and we’re not talking about it.

Think about the various types of illness and causes that we talk about every day. We’ll chat about cancer, animal cruelty, saving the whales and what Kim Kardashian will name her baby. People will devote whole Facebook status to their political beliefs, religious beliefs, their opinion on illegal substances, abortion or even who they hooked up with last night. We’ve lost the filter, or any fear of oversharing… and yet, this chronic disease that is mental illness is somehow too taboo to discuss?

I don’t know any way to the other side of this conversation without trudging through it. I don’t know any other way to get a discussion going besides starting it myself, and so I will. Not many people go around admitting that their family member was borderline schizophrenic. Or that they were severely depressed, obsessive-compulsive and would go through multiple doctors and various mood-stabilizing medications before they even had their driver’s license. Very few people would tell you that in his worst moment, my brother got access to a gun and left the discovery of his body to his little sister.

It’s horrible and sad and it’s my truth. Mental illness lives all around us everyday. I’ve seen it in other family members, I’ve seen it in friends and I’ve dealt with it myself with my own postpartum depression. The people I know and love, who fight back against their illness even in its bleakest moments, are some of the strongest warriors I’ve ever known. They deserve our support and understanding, our education and our acceptance. More than that, they deserve a dialogue.

Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

This topic matters.

It matters to me, it mattered to my brother, it matters to my friend and her family and the young man they’re trying desperately to help through this. It matters to the millions of people who are battling their inner demons every day with no one to turn to for support.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-hollis/mental-illness-what-could-have-saved-my-brother_b_2546252.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

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