I’ve been saying for months that the question of Hillary Clinton’s “likability” is unimportant. Why? Because we know that women are always thought less likable (or even unlikable) when we’re asking for a promotion or, even worse, acting as though we deserve it. And what is Clinton’s campaign but a months-long job interview for the biggest promotion of her life? The obsession with whether or not Americans “like” Clinton seems pointless to me.
Just check out the comments at the bottom of the linked article. Collectively, it’s a bunch of paranoid frothing about the prospect of Hillary Clinton in power, but they’re right about one thing: their prescriptions to restore her likability include variations on suicide, dropping out of the presidential contest. They all boil down to their passionate desire that she STFU and go away. That would work! Of course people love women when we no longer hold any power or influence! Of course.
(Ask me how I know! I spent way too long in a job once upon a time wondering why some of my colleagues didn’t like me, even though I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing: publishing articles, winning grants, circulating a book proposal, teaching my classes well, maintaining high standards, etc. I just thought if I worked a little harder or took them out to lunch, then surely, surely, they could not doubt my goodwill. They would get to know the real me.)
But we know in women, likability is inversely correlated with competence. Therefore, I suspect that the less likable Clinton is, the more electable she may be in the minds of the American people. And in the end, what matters is whether or not they’ll vote for her. Duh. Don’t say that you love me. Just tell me that you vote for me!*
*This is for Natalie Elder, who on Twitter asked earlier today if Clinton’s campaign song would be “Rhiannon,” which put me in mind of “Tusk.” For those of you too young to know why we’re talking about Fleetwood Mac in a Democratic National Convention–let’s just say that “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” was a 1970s song repurposed by Bill Clinton’s campaign as the “Happy Days Are Here Again” for the 1990s.
Here’s my prediction for the Inauguration. I hope Sally Field is in the front row on the Captiol steps.