This Washington Post editorial, written by Kathleen Parker, is about a week old, but I thought it would be worth bringing up anyway, so as to show an example of barely concealed shaming language. Below, Parker suggests Obama isn’t sufficiently Alpha:
No, I’m not calling Obama a girlie president. But . . . he may be suffering a rhetorical-testosterone deficit when it comes to dealing with crises, with which he has been richly endowed.
It isn’t that he isn’t “cowboy” enough, as others have suggested. Aren’t we done with that? It is that his approach is feminine in a normative sense. That is, we perceive and appraise him according to cultural expectations, and he’s not exactly causing anxiety in Alpha-maledom.
To back up her assertions, she points out that he is verbose and given to consensus-building rather than assuming the role of a commander.
This editorial isn’t all that compelling, because it reads as shaming language rather than true analysis. If anything, it seems to me that Obama is acting like a lot of guys who were raised by dominant women (his grandmother in Obama’s case). Men who grow up in such a situation can develop a habit of evasiveness, because directly confronting women, even when they are the ones who are really in charge, is culturally taboo. In fact, I think this evasiveness, which is characterized by a lot of empty, feel-good talk on Obama’s part, has become fairly typical amongst the post-boomer generation. It is exceedingly common for younger male politicians in the Pacific Northwest – including Republicans – to behave in this manner, and the population in general shares this tendency, which often manifests itself in a kind of passive-aggressiveness.
No, I don’t think Obama is acting like a “woman,” but rather like the kind of man that has been created by a society that is increasingly dominated by females such as Kathleen Parker — those who shame men for being effeminate even as they demand more authority and display aggression and contempt toward those they look down upon.