How many female creative partnerships can you name?
McFey and Pohler
Stanton and Anthony
Laverne and Shirley
Thelma and Louise
Cagney and Lacey
Romy and Michele
How about five famous male partnerships?
Lennon and McCartney
Jobs and Wozniak
Batman and Robin
Simon and Garfunkel
Key and Peale
Laurel and Hardy
Holmes and Watson
Woodward and Bernstein
Jeeves and Wooster
Ben and Jerry
Mick and Keith
Tom and Jerry
Romulus and Remus
Nixon and Kissinger
And the list goes on. Even the children’s television show Sesame Street has a male partnership – Bert and Ernie.
Historically women struggled for lives outside of the domestic sphere which may be the lack of creative partnerships; yet in our age of technology, the partnerships are still primarily male. Our lack of creative partnership seems to be related to our imbalances in political power, even though we’ve made progress.
Even writing “Hillary Clinton” I can feel people cringe. The election is over, I know. In the back of my mind the question is still there – why do people hate her so much?
In questioning the hatred, I’m not suggesting she was the best candidate or deserved to be president; however, what was chosen in contrast to me represents a visceral undercurrent of our culture which came to light in many ways.
Having watched Clinton for her 22 years on the public stage, I know she was hated from the very earliest days. What has continually struck me is that she is disliked for no particular reason.
During the election, two ethical issues were targeted toward Clinton – the Benghazi attack in Libya and the use of a personal email server. The irony of the personal email server is that it appears to be the only email server not hacked by Wikileaks during the 2016 election.
For so many years in politics, there was not much more. But when you heard people react to Clinton both in 2008 and 2016 on why they did not like her, it wasn’t these issues. People just didn’t like her personally. I still recall a 2012 NPR story where a man was asked why he was voting for candidate Romney. “Obama is a socialist,” he said. “And Hillary is . . . Hillary.”
Did he not like Hillary the person or Hillary the woman?
People speak of mistrust of Clinton, dislike, evilness, and other assorted non-specific reasons. But what is it they really don’t like?
In 1992 when Hillary Clinton’s husband was running for president and her mothering was questioned, she replied, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in public life.”
That comment increased dislike of her and has always led me to believe that Clinton’s evil persona was due to engaging in law and politics rather than traditional female pursuits. During the 2012 election, Clinton won some points by shedding tears. That cemented the idea for me that Clinton’s issue was lack of feminine vulnerability.
What finally crystallized for me recently is that dislike for no reason is simply that – not a reason but a feeling. Clinton evoked FEELING, something very much associated with females.
What feelings did she evoke?
She evoked all the ugliness, nastiness and egotism of modern politics. We felt through her the ugly, the evil, calculated coldness of politicians. Hillary, the female, was the receptacle for a host of negative back-splash. While she tried to be “good” by planning, preparing, smiling (something the female candidates were asked to do from viewer feedback) and wearing light colors, she carried all the bad feelings we have toward politics.
In contrast, the male candidates latched into different energies to make segments of the population feel good about themselves. Hillary made people feel bad; the male candidates, including her main nemesis Bernie Sanders, made people feel good.
Digging into my own psyche, I relate by thinking of Tracy Flick in the book and movie Election. Ambitious and calculating, she’s a detestable creature who plays by all the rules, studies hard, has clear goals and ultimately wins.
She’s a winner – why do I hate her?
Like Clinton, she is upset in the high school election by a planted male contender, a popular football hero (Sound familiar? Although in Flick’s case, she is ultimately deemed the winner.). This male is a kind, sympathetic character who through a turn of events passes the win to Flick. Had he voted for himself, he would have won.
In a third point of contrast to our ambitious female/popular male is a female contender who through a separate turn of events runs against both Flick and her brother the football hero. She’s the lesbian rebel who calls out all the phoniness of the election and tells the truth – the election benefits only the winner.
Had the lesbian not been suspended by the principal for upturning the table, she would have won the election. A female hero! But she was tossed out by the authorities.
The lesbian anti-hero was refreshing and unique while the rule-following Flick was a stomach turner. That’s how people felt about Clinton. I can feel their dislike.
How does this relate to creative partnerships?
Women don’t appear to bond to each other in the sphere of politics and power although they do in the spheres of entertainment and social issues.
When strong, ambitious females meet, they do not like each other. When males see other strong, ambitious males they tend to respond favorably. Men make heroes of other men in all spheres of modern and ancient life including entertainment, sports, politics and religion.
Barack Obama is now a god to some on the left, the voice of peace and reason in a crazy time. Yet Obama, like all of his predecessors, was a politician who did both positive work as well as the dirty work of his role including mass surveillance of his people, drone assassinations and occasionally cavorting with tyrants.
Females in power are faring quite poorly right now. In a Los Angeles Times article on female heads of state, only 33 were calculated to have risen to power through election (rather than family succession). Of the 10 elected in the 2010s, two have been deposed.
If women don’t admire each other and form creative partnerships then we will always struggle for balance in political power. Female political power and holding of power doesn’t have to be male – it doesn’t have to be Hillary Clinton and Tracy Flick – but will be that way if that’s what females admire. While we can say it’s Hillary-the-person and not Hillary-the-female we dislike, I don’t see any other female in this country receiving admiration that would lift her to the role of president.
For women to rise in political power, we have to like what we see in the mirror.