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

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Downtown bank branch robbed

    A man handed a teller a note demanding money and made off with an undetermined amount in a robbery of the U.S. Bank branch at Capitol Avenue and Broadway about 3:15 p.m. today.
    • Feb 20, 2018
  • SWEPCO announces agreement on wind energy project

    Southwestern Electric Power, which serves customers in Arkansas, has announced an agreement with Arkansas parties for the Wind Catcher Energy Connection to deliver power generated by wind on Oklahoma wind farms to customers in Arkansas.
    • Feb 20, 2018
  • Candidates respond to Little Rock suit to block mayoral fund-raising

    The city of Little Rock's lawsuit aiming at using a city ordinance to limit fund-raising by two men challenging Mayor Mark Stodola gets legal responses from the challengers today.
    • Feb 20, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017
  • Along the civil rights trail

    A convergence of events in recent days signaled again how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in civil rights.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.
    • Jan 18, 2018

Most Shared

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Love, Ark Blog

    Things you might have missed if you don't read the Arkansas Blog.
    • Feb 15, 2018
  • Police problems

    Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner's surprise emergence as a candidate for a higher-paying job in a smaller city (Charleston, S.C.) is a commentary on the fraught relationship of police with the Little Rock community and a city government structure in need of change.
    • Feb 8, 2018
  • Lock him up

    To no one's surprise, Republican state Sen. Jake Files of Fort Smith entered a negotiated guilty plea Monday in federal court to bank and wire fraud and money laundering charges.
    • Feb 1, 2018
  • More »

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: Out of control

    • Never mind all the Hepburn/Tracy movies where the male/female struggle gets physical, and how they…

    • on February 19, 2018
  • Re: Out of control

    • Gene, the all wise one, needs to help us set some new rules. What if…

    • on February 18, 2018
  • Re: Out of control

    • And Olphart - hey, That is a witty reply - good for you!

    • on February 17, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation