Confessions · Public Relations · Women in the Workplace

Winning and Losing the Debate

Did you hear there was a debate this week? With U.S. Presidential candidates? The first female presidential candidate?

YES, THAT DEBATE.

84 million of us tuned in to hear from our candidates but the biggest takeaways weren’t talking points or campaign themes. These messages had nothing to do with a candidate’s stance on Russian aggression and everything to do with the struggle to make two people of different genders stand on a stage and look like peers.

So let’s be honest. Monday night was largely about the question on everyone’s mind: How will a woman fit into a man’s world? 

Speculation began weeks ago about the most frivolous of details: What would Hillary wear? How would her voice sound? Can she tone-down the ‘woman card’?

But this is an election where frivolous, superficial details seem to matter. For decades we have known men and women are held to different standards, but never before have they been going head-to-head for the highest office.

Most women – regardless of their political affiliations – can agree, watching Hillary was equal part excitement and depression.

Finally, a female on the stage. A woman contender for Oval Office.

She was smart, she was prepared and she was fighting… kind of.

She was careful.

And that’s what made me, and so many others, completely cringe. Because I can relate to how it feels to walk that tight-rope:

  • Be assertive. But not overly so because no one likes a “bossy” woman!
  • If he interrupts you, keep talking. But don’t raise your voice or you’ll look like a stubborn child.
  • Keep a small smile and attractive demeanor at all times. Beware the curse of Resting Bitch Face. Or ugly face… (Get your brows done and highlights renewed!)

It was not easy. In fact, at times it was painful to watch. Hillary spit out facts, data points and research until she had nothing left, and Donald was able to completely wash away her authority by simply uttering “No, you are wrong.” 

Boom. Power shift.

It was unfair and uncommon – and completely relatable.

Monday’s debate was a Master Class in maintaining composure and focus in the blatant face of misogyny.

So who came out the winner? I’m not sure there was one.

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