Making use of the “women are grownups” argument

A couple of days back, in the midst of an argument about something else, I started griping about a piece I’d read somewhere by a feminist of the “men and women are just alike and don’t you dare say otherwise” variety (there are all sorts of feminism, and that is but one type), suggesting that there’s nothing to the idea that male politicians are inherently more likely to engage in sexual misbehavior than are female politicians.

I begged to differ, citing my oft-asserted belief that, in general, women are more likely than men to be actual grownups. To elaborate:

You know me; I hate Identity Politics. I don’t care whether our legislative bodies are all male, or all female, or all white or all black, as long as we get the best candidates (which we don’t, but don’t stop me; I’m on a roll). I’m not for electing women qua women. But there’s a side benefit apart from the IP one: Elect more women, you get more grownups.

Yes there are exceptions. And we could have a debate, if you’d like, about whether the problem with Nikki Haley is that she “governs like a guy.” But in general, the principle holds….

Well, I’m not the only one thinking that way. The Southern Institute for Women in Politics is pushing the same line:

Retrospective on scandal

Lessons learned from the likes of Anthony Weiner

Comedians will regret the loss of great material provided by Anthony Weiner’s denial and later admission of lewd electronic behavior. Weiner’s Congressional colleagues will be relieved by his resignation so they can return to business. But Weiner’s sad tale of self-destructive and testosterone-induced behavior is just one in a growing list of elected men (of both political parties) that tells a bigger story to tell: In 2011, U.S. politics is still a boys’ club.

When we’re all finished clucking our collective tongues, we need to get focused and recognize that this is a call to action for women – including women in South Carolina.

Research points to a substantial gender gap in the way women and men approach running for office. Women have different reasons for running, are more reluctant to do so and, because there are so few of them in politics, are acutely aware of the scrutiny they draw – all of which seems to lead to differences in the way they handle their jobs once elected.

“The shorthand of it is that women run for office to do something, and men run for office to be somebody,” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “Women run because there is some public issue that they care about, some change they want to make, some issue that is a priority for them, and men tend to run for office because they see this as a career path.”

So, it’s time for more of us to step up to the plate.

Not everyone needs to be a candidate, but all women need to be more informed, more involved, in politics at every level. At a minimum, we need to vote – cast a ballot for everything from who runs our children’s schools to who sets the tax rate for our towns – have a say in who gets to make these decisions that affect our lives.

We desperately need good women to run for office. We can’t win the game unless you play, so come on ladies, let’s get moving.

How you can help clean the political house:

So, friends, let’s learn some lessons from Anthony Weiner (and Elliott Spitzer, Mark Sanford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc., etc., etc.) and make 2012 the year we run and elect more women to office in South Carolina than ever before.

Read news that directs our lessons

Weiner Scandal: A Victory for Women Leaders?
The mentality has to change. The world is half men and half women. The government has to >>

In political scandals, girls won’t be boys
“I’m telling you,” said Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., “every time one of these sex scandals goes, we just look at each other, like>>

More Women Needed in Politics
The story of U.S. Rep. Anthony and his Weiner is more disappointing than surprising.Another male>>

Women are better investors, and here’s why
Call it the Weiner principle: men self-destruct. Anthony Weiner has put men in a pickle.Here’s why>>

How about Dan Adams’ new book?
Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else. Read more>>

Welcome to the team, girls. I mean, ladies. I mean — aw, I’d never make a good feminist anyway…

And I take exception to the beer taster thing.

16 thoughts on “Making use of the “women are grownups” argument

  1. Doug Ross

    But when it comes to war, keep the dames out of it, right?

    We don’t want maturity and grownup thinking to infiltrate men’s desire to blow stuff up and measure their genitals.

  2. Brad

    Women are grownups with inferior upper-body strength.

    Seriously, let’s try to talk about the subject at hand. I actually think it’s interesting. Y’all already hijacked my earlier post and made it about gay marriage, so this time let’s try for a moment to talk about a pretty good topic that I brought up, since I took the time to do all that typing. Which, you know, is women’s work…

    Sorry, sorry, sorry. It’s just that Kathryn just called me an insensitive member of the ruling class again, and my sense of the absurd is turned up to 11…

  3. Norm Ivey

    Just a short, personal observation:

    A family member told me years ago (in a fit of frustration)that from now on, I’ll vote for every woman that runs.

    I don’t know if he has kept that vow, but he was perhaps that last member of my family I would have expected it from.

    Research has shown that the female brain matures about 5 years before the male brain, which, as a teacher, I find easy to believe. Of course, by the time anyone is old enough to run for most offices, the differences should have erased themselves. Hmm…

  4. Karen McLeod

    With some exceptions a person who wishes to obtain power must learn to use people, and in fact must practice that skill frequently and successfully. Unfortunately, when you use people, you start to consider them useful objects rather than brothers/sisters in Christ. You begin to see them as the means to obtain what you want, whether it be a changed law or simple satisfaction of lust. I suspect that using people rather than relating to them damages the essential core of the person doing the using more than it damages the person(s) being used. Of course, it doesn’t look that way at the time.

  5. Mark Stewart

    Men cheat when they want to run the risk of getting caught; women cheat when they believe there is little risk of getting caught.

    The same principal applies in politics.

    As humans, we all play the same games – just differently. Yet I have difficulty imagining a political landscape where office-holders are evenly divided by sex.

  6. Brad

    Kathryn will LOVE this! It just happened… I’m in the WWII section of B&N, and a girl of about 12 and her mom were browsing. Thinking to help (this is one subject I’m sort of familiar with, and I am seldom called upon to USE that knowledge), I said, “Y’all shopping for Father’s Day?” After all, that’s why I’m here. My Dad’s as into the topic as I am.

    “No, says the Mom. “It’s for her. We already got Father’s Day.” She holds up a DVD.

    “Well, that’s great,” said I. “Not many people your age are interested in history.” (Which is true.)

    “It’s ALL I’m interested in,” she declared.

    So there’s hope for some knowledge of the past being carried into the future…

  7. Maude Lebowski

    Thanks for sharing that story Brad. It’ll give me something to smile about for the rest of the day.

  8. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    I voraciously read every biography of a woman I could get my hands on when I was in junior high–Edith Clavell, anyone? Lots of girls are interested in history and always have been. Same as boys.

  9. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Frankly, America needs more engineers, math & science teacher, computer scientists–not seeing a huge shortfall in liberal arts types….

  10. Maude Lebowski

    This reminds me of something my dad told me when I was a kid: “Little girls grow up to be women; little boys grow up to be big boys.”

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