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Screen grab of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy video.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign: will gender matter?

By Ann C McGinley
The Conversation

Screen grab of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy video.

Screen grab of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy video.

Now that Hillary Clinton has announced that she will, indeed, run for the presidency, will her gender matter?

After Barack Obama, one might argue that gender may no longer be an issue. Not only has he broken the barriers for African American men, but his presidency has also made it less remarkable that a woman could become president of the United States.

That said, there is no question that gender is already an issue and may become even more important in Clinton’s campaign.

For example, a group of volunteers supporting Clinton put out a list of 13 words that the media and other candidates should not use when referring to her candidacy. On that listwere words such as “calculating,” “insincere,” and “ambitious.”

In response, talk show host Rush Limbaugh gleefully noted that the word “cankles” did not appear on the list so he assumed that he and others can use that word to refer to her. For the uninitiated, Rush defines a “cankle” as an “unusually thick or stout ankle.” The word – from the combination of “calf” and “ankle” – means in this instance that Clinton has heavy lower legs.

It is hard to imagine that a male candidate’s legs would receive the same attention.

But, in general, will gender hurt or help Hillary Clinton?

Perhaps both.

While Barack Obama has to deal with the stereotype of “angry black man,” a label that he negates with his “cool” demeanor, Hillary Clinton must walk a razor-thin line to perform her gender in a way that is acceptable to the American public.

But, what is acceptable to the American public? The answer, as I discovered when I studied the 2008 election, is tricky.

A gendered White House

First, most jobs have genders and the presidency is no exception.

Not only are presidents men, but they are also a certain kind of man. There are many forms of masculinity and presidents represent one type.

Presidents are upper middle class, well-educated, middle-aged, relatively fit, heterosexual, and good-looking men; they are forceful leaders. They are masculine, but not overly aggressive or bullying. Not like Chris Christie, whose image arguably is too earthy and rough, too lower middle-class.

Presidents may be black or white (and perhaps even Latino or Asian in the future), but they are men who conform to our ideal of what male leaders should be: well-dressed and articulate. But not effete!
The president cannot have “feminine” interests. He should drink beer, not wine. Certainly not champagne. He should prefer football or basketball, not sailing. Remember when John Kerry was ridiculed for windsurfing? Conservatives mocked him as too elite, too effeminate, an out-of-touch, Ivy-league educated, rich man who can’t get his hands dirty. Who would want to have a beer with that man?

Given that the presidency is gendered male, what should Hillary do?

2008: the ‘manly’ campaign

One would think that a female candidate should present herself as masculine.

In the 2008 campaign, Hillary emphasized her “manly” characteristics – her experience as a lawyer and senator, her willingness to go to war when necessary, her ability and readiness to make tough choices at 3 AM when the phone rings in the White House.

Clinton contrasted her “manly” traits with the soft qualities she attributed to her opponent. But none of this posturing was successful because America does not like masculine women.

In fact, it was only after Hillary demonstrated her vulnerability by welling up in New Hampshire that she enjoyed more success.

Many empirical studies demonstrate that women in leadership positions are judged more harshly than their male peers. Because the stereotype is that women are followers, not leaders, there is a contradiction between our view of what a woman is and what a leader is.

Women in leadership roles are judged incompetent for job performances that are comparable to those of their male colleagues who are praised for their leadership. But even when a female leader is considered competent, her peers judge her as unlikable.

In essence, female leaders can’t be both competent and likable, but to win an election, they must be both.

This is Hillary Clinton’s dilemma. She must walk a fine line between demonstrating competency and the conclusion that she is a “dragon lady” who suffers from a failed femininity. She must demonstrate feminine characteristics without harming her reputation as an able, intelligent leader.

2015: more comfortable in her gender

Hillary Clinton has struggled with this line since she walked onto the public stage.

She began as the candidate Bill Clinton’s wife who, because of her Yale Law School education and career as a high-powered lawyer, was different from any other President’s wife before her.

At first, she emphasized her independence, stating that she could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but that she had instead followed her career; on another occasion, she asserted that she was not a little woman like Tammy Wynette, standing by her man. All hell broke loose and Hillary had to apologize for both of these comments. She even submitted a cookie recipe to a bake-off competition to show how contrite she was. Hillary was too masculine and independent, and definitely not sufficiently house-broken for the American public.

This week it appears that Hillary Clinton is performing her gender in a more confident way.

Having achieved considerable success as Senator and Secretary of State, she seems to have less to prove. In fact, she is emphasizing that she is a grandmother in an effort to make her and her candidacy more approachable.

We have at least nine months to see if this new “feminine” Hillary Clinton will play well with the public.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on TheConversation.com and is reprinted here with permission. All views expressed here are solely those of the author.

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Pakistan Cricket Head Replaced–Butt Removed

Compiled by Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

IjazButtAPKMChaudary1The controversial reign of Ijaz Butt as head of Pakistani cricket has come to an end. The Pakistani government has decided not to retain Butt as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and has appointed Zaka Ashraf in his place.

Ashraf, a senior banker, will take over as PCB chairman immediately, as was announced by Pakistan’s Presidency. Butt recently completed his three-year tenure on October 8th. His term began in October of 2008, and it was plagued by controversy, including last year’s spot-fixing scandal in England which led to player bans involving Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir. In addition, Butt was also head of the PCB when the Sri Lanka team was attacked in Lahore in 2009.

Butt returned home on Monday from Dubai after attending the executive board meeting of the International Cricket Council. It is unknown at this time as to what position he will return to. But millions of passionate Pakistani cricket fans will probably be happy to see him fade into oblivion after an embarrassing three years on and off the pitch.

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Bosnia, Serbia Pledge to Mend Ties, Lure Investors

By Maja Zuvela

2010-04-24T172727Z_1899635507_GM1E64P023V01_RTRMADP_3_BOSNIA

A Bosnian Muslim woman stands next to graves during a funeral in Vlasenica, in the Serb part of Bosnia, April 24, 2010. The remains of 34 Bosnian Muslims, killed by Serb forces during the country’s 1992-95 war, were exhumed from the Ogradice i Pelemis mass graves near Vlasenica and buried.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Bosnia and Serbia have agreed to make a fresh start in their relationship, soured over the past few years, and reassure investors concerned about regional stability, the Bosnian presidency chairman said on Sunday.

“We have to change the image of the Western Balkan region,” Haris Silajdzic said on his return from an Istanbul summit between the presidents of the two former Yugoslav republics and their host, Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Saturday.

Relations between Bosnia and Serbia have worsened since 2006, mainly because of Serbia’s arrest and trial of a Bosnian official for war crimes committed during the 1992-95 war, and other similar arrest warrants.

As part of its policy to heal relations between countries in the region, Turkey has intensified efforts to improve ties between the two Balkan neighbors.

While the three foreign ministers have met several times over the past six months, the Istanbul summit brought together their presidents for the first time.

“We have had different opinions about some issues but the meeting with Serbia’s President Boris Tadic was constructive… I believe it will yield good results,” said Silajdzic.

“Badly needed investments will come only if there is security and stability.”

Bosnia and Serbia signed a declaration pledging to settle the dispute over unresolved borders, property and debt, and discuss a joint approach toward international markets at a planned meeting in Belgrade.

Until now, Silajdzic, a Muslim member of Bosnia’s tripartite rotating presidency, has ignored invitations to visit Belgrade.

He said the Serbian parliament’s March resolution, apologizing for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which Bosnian Serb forces killed 8,000 Muslim men and boys, has paved the way for such a visit.

“I am ready to go there now,” Silajdzic said, adding that the Serbian pro-Western president has also promised to attend the 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, seen as Europe’s worst atrocity since World War Two.

Tadic had said pre-occupation with war topics was counter-productive for the two countries which both aspired to join the European Union.

Bosnia’s presidency Serb member Nebojsa Radmanovic reacted angrily to Silajdzic’s meeting with Tadic, saying he did not have the consent of the other two presidency members to sign the Istanbul declaration and that he may dispute it.

“That is not in line with the constitution,” Radmanovic told reporters in Banja Luka, the capital of the Serb Republic which, with the Muslim-Croat federation, makes up Bosnia. Silajdzic said he had informed the presidency about his plans.

Endless ethnic and political quarrels in the past three years have led Bosnia to a state of permanent political crisis, stalling any hope of joining the EU and NATO.

(Additional reporting by Olja Stanic in Banja Luka; Editing by Daria Sito-Sucic and Louise Ireland)

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