Favorite

Still a man’s world 

Barack Obama's inroads among white voters are explained, in part, by a gender divide. Given the choice between him and Hillary Clinton, a majority of white men in many states have voted for Obama.

The numbers suggest to me that some gender bias is at work. Others argue that it's less about Hillary Clinton's gender than it is about Hillary Clinton.

But forget the specific example and consider a bigger picture. How often have you heard a male candidate for public office described as a bitch? When's the last time you heard a male candidate derided for his “cackle.” How many comments do you hear about male candidates' clothing, weight, cleavage and hairstyle relative to those about women? Have you ever heard Chris Matthews suggest a male candidate was a threat to the genitals of a woman?

America hasn't erased racial divisions, but Obama's success lends evidence to the belief that gender barriers are sometimes even more daunting.

Elsewhere in the Times, we've recounted the recent resignation of a female state editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. She wrote an intemperate resignation note, circulated to all on the staff (and beyond), about what she believed to be a sexist atmosphere at the paper. I have no idea if she's right. I do know that the supervisory ranks at the newspaper are overwhelmingly male, except in the features department.

But the state's largest newspaper is no different than the vast majority of the state's major businesses. Men dominate the top management positions. The publicly traded companies in Arkansas have few female board members. The states' colleges and universities, where females predominate in the classroom, are headed by men. Surveys show that male faculty members tend to make more money. I'd guess that no woman in government employment in Arkansas, except possibly at UAMS, makes as much as the defensive football coach at the University of Arkansas. (I know. Football is really important.) Most school superintendents are men, though most teachers are women.

The state's largest law firms didn't add women partners until the mid-1970s. You needed only a couple of fingers to count the number of female judges in the state until the late-1980s. Women have never led either house of the legislature.

Women who do succeed in business and politics generally continue to shoulder “traditional” household responsibilities — primary child caregiver and house manager. There are some new-age men out there, but a whole lot more men are in the deer woods. Good luck finding a man who does the Christmas shopping and gift wrapping.

Male dominance in business and politics isn't a product of superior intellect nor is it an accident. It's a continuing reflection of the attitude that gave black men the vote decades before women, who didn't achieve full U.S. voting rights until 1920. Times have changed, but I bet you'd still find plenty of men sympathetic — if more quietly today — with the infamous Arkansas legislator who said the proper state of womankind was barefoot and pregnant.

Many men are afraid, or resentful, of strong women. The amateur psychologist might speculate that the men who complain about an air of superiority in female leaders are saying more about their own fragile male egos. In the South, the typical antidote is to call the woman a bitch and go buy a few more guns.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Supremely discredited

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood and her allies continue to discredit the state's highest court.
    • Jul 30, 2015
  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015

Most Shared

  • Constituents go Cotton pickin' at Springdale town hall

    Sen. Tom Cotton, cordial to a fault, appeared before a capacity crowd at the 2,200 seat Pat Walker Performing Arts Center at Springdale High tonight to a mixed chorus of clapping and boos. Other than polite applause when he introduced his mom and dad and a still moment as he led the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance — his night didn't get much better from there.
  • Stand up for Little Rock

    If Little Rock deteriorates because of substandard schools, there will be blame aplenty to share. But some elected leaders deserve special mention.
  • Hating the media

    Presidents, with the exception of George Washington, never found much joy with the media, although Donald Trump is the first to use the scarily freighted words "enemies of the people."
  • What's new and coming soon to Argenta

    A riverfront hotel, new residential development, food, drink and more.
  • Downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock are back in business

    Main Street and beyond bustles.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Stand up for Little Rock

    If Little Rock deteriorates because of substandard schools, there will be blame aplenty to share. But some elected leaders deserve special mention.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Home again

    The plan, formulated months ago, was this: Ellen and I were going to go to Washington for inauguration festivities, then fly out the morning after the balls for Panama City and a long planned cruise to begin with a Panama Canal passage.
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Arkansas voters know what they want

    • Oh, they're doing the jobs they are paid to do. But first we must ask…

    • on February 26, 2017
  • Re: Stand up for Little Rock

    • Just tell us the whole deal like we were little children with no understanding. I…

    • on February 26, 2017
  • Re: Arkansas voters know what they want

    • It is inappropriate for disgruntled legislators to take revenge upon the citizens of the state…

    • on February 25, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation