Tuesday, April 04, 2006

... One Giant Leap Backwards For Woman Kind

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin analyzed the speeches of presidential candidates and their running mates in the 2004 election. One of the things their computer program measured was the femininity of the speech loosely described as the "use of words and speech patterns favored by women" in this Post article. Edwards came out sounding the most "girly" with Bush in close second; Cheney, apparently, "sounded most like a man's man." Obviously, Cheney counter-balanced Bush's effeminate tendencies (gag me now!).

(sidenote: I wonder what words the study defined as "words favored by women"? The stereotypical feel? Understand? Love? And what did Bush say... I feel we should go to Iraq without any real proof of WMDs? I understand that most Americans do not support me, but I love the fact that they can't do anything about it!)

I am pissed off that femininity of word choice was something defined and used by the creators of this study. I'll bet you anything that the said variable (as defined by the researchers) in the study's regression analyses was inversely proportional to the candidate's likelihood of winning a political race. Just a guess.

And what does that say about this country? That they judge public leadership ability by how masculine (whatever that means anymore -- in case of Cheney, grunting at the press?) the candidate appears? That, if there indeed exists (if!) a natural linguistic difference between men and women, female candidates are pretty much screwed?

And if so, how can this be changed? How can "feminine" voices be heard as loudly as "masculine"?

How can ideas and, in case of the 2004 election, common sense and decency triumph over warmongering and deceit shrouded in "masculine speak"?