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

  • UPDATE: Retired Arkansas Arts Center director Townsend Wolfe dies at 81

    Townsend Durant Wolfe, III, retired director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center, has died at 81.
  • Subpoenas identify names of federal interest in kickback probe

    The Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District today provided me with the subpoena it received from federal investigators in a probe that led to former Republican Rep. Micah Neal's guilty plea to taking kickbacks from money he guided to a nonprofit agency and a private college in Springdale, apparently Ecclesia College.
  • Human Services says it's eliminated Medicaid application backlog

    The state Human Services Department has informed Gov. Asa Hutchinson that it has all but eliminated a backlog in applications for Medicaid coverage.
  • Praising Asa

    Let us now praise the governor for a starkly moderate record, at least in comparison with other red-state executives.
  • Glass houses

    Having gotten a deep security briefing and probably a confidential glimpse of our own vast cyberspying operation, Donald Trump is no longer pretty sure that the Kremlin didn't hack Democratic computers or employ other tactics to help his election.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Praising Asa

    Let us now praise the governor for a starkly moderate record, at least in comparison with other red-state executives.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More on LRSD tax

    When the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and a Walton Foundation-paid lobbyist, long devoted critics of the Little Rock School District, lead the messaging for a quarter-billion dollars in new tax debt for the district, it is cause for caution.
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • Little Rock school tax? No deal.

    The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce is busy back-room politicking and — again — supporters of democratic public schools should be wary.
    • Dec 22, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived

Event Calendar

« »

January

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
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Hillbillies

    • One last thought - oh, Nanc, do try not to refer to your children, adorable…

    • on January 14, 2017
  • Re: Hillbillies

    • Dearest Nanc - My, my - showing a good bit of hatred yourself, Look into…

    • on January 14, 2017
  • Re: Hillbillies

    • I'm with you all the way, Nanc.

    • on January 14, 2017
 

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