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Not to blow the little incident between Bush and Merkel out of proportion, but the reason I’m somewhat stuck on it is that for me it not only brings into focus what bugs me about Bush but it also, once again, shows up an underlying inequality in the way women are viewed and treated by society. Somehow I cannot quite see Bush being that cavalier with another man’s body, disrespecting a fellow male head of state in quite that manner.

So, to me this little interaction signals forcefully that women are still not equal. They may occasionally be elected chancellor or prime minister but even that does not guarantee they will be fully respected. We still obsess over their clothing and their hair style, something we almost never do with leading men unless it is to discuss the symbolic meaning of the color of their tie. And in that discussion, their ability to perform their duties does not hang on their choice of wardrobe.

Behaviors lauded in a man are often derided in women, and a strong woman is still a thing to wonder at apparently, something to fear and ridicule. Why is that?

In thinking about these things, I’d like to direct you to a speech by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy and Firefly among other things, and someone who routinely writes strong women as characters in his shows. He makes an excellent point and he makes it eloquently.

Thank you, Joss.


One Response

  1. I finally got a chance to see the video of the chancellor and, yeah, it is utterly disappointing that this is our president.

    Even ignoring the glaring gender issues, the cavalier attitude that this leader, this _decider_, has about other world leaders is ugly and uneducated. He’s just one of the guys (gender!).

    Which seems to point to a particularly American aversion to education in our leaders, a country-wide fear of intellectuals — a word that is spit out with as much anger as “feminist” or “liberal”. I want President smarter than me. Bush is probably an excellent guy to have a chat with at a bar, but as the “leader of the free world”… bah.

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