01/25/2013 05:33 EST | Updated 03/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Why a Man Can't Act Like Hillary Clinton


Supriya Dwivedi wrote an interesting column titled, "Why Hillary Clinton Can't Act Like a Man." In it she complained, as such columns do, of the prejudicial treatment women endure at the hands of a sexist media and of course other injustices like income inequality or the overwhelmingly maleness of our legislatures.

This is all of course at least partially true, but in an attempt to be different, let's consider:  Why a Man Can't Act Like Hillary Clinton. Imagine Joe Biden was Secretary of State and he began to tear up while giving testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the murder of American's in Benghazi.  Certainly, some would be touched, with many sympathetic to a man expressing his deep feelings of sorrow -- but folks would publicly and privately be unimpressed. Women crying elicits sympathy; men crying elicits ridicule -- and not only from other men, but from women too.

I don't know a single man who cares, at all, what Michelle Obama is wearing each week. I don't know a man who cares about her hair, her clothes, or for that matter the clothes and hairstyle of any female politician -- it seems to me as though it's women who drive interest in the personal attire and effects of female politicians -- and I do not blame them for it. Largely because the sexes are different and most people, regardless their political inclinations, surreptitiously acknowledge it.

When a ship is sinking who gets on the lifeboats first? Women and children. If a house is burning down and a firefighter has to choose between saving the life of a woman trapped in a room or a man, who do they choose?  Women, we know, have priority for very natural reasons. The expectation that both sexes should be equal in every regard is a slightly obtuse one. There are explanations for our differences that extend beyond the malevolence of sexism. Double standards swing both ways.

Hillary Clinton Benghazi Testimony - The Faces