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Female Presidential Candidates Judged by Likability over Qualifications

Apr 29, 2019

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By Sage Gundlfinger

As soon as it hit 2019, presidential campaigns for the 2020 election have been popping up left and right.

In comparison to every past presidential election, the democratic field has been predominantly filled by female candidates. This spike in female involvement is most likely a result of many recent events with the biggest contenders being our current administration, the #MeToo movement, and a trickle-down of inspiration from both Hillary Clinton’s courage in the 2017 presidential election and the female wave that has entered our House of Representatives.

Yet, with this paradigm shift our female presidential candidates are being judged and criticized based off of criteria that has no correlation to the qualifications that are actually necessary to run for president.

The conversation of whether or not a candidate has “likable” qualities has always been a part of our election process. The trend has been to judge presidential candidates based off of traits that could be categorized as their “casual weekend appearance” rather than to critique candidates based off either their political knowledge or their public official persona.

Now with a large number of women jumping into the presidential race, the “likability” conversation has quickly transitioned into questioning traits that run parallel to sexist borders that have been placed on women since the dawn of time. Judgement is being placed based off of whether the female candidates seem nice, or uncontroversial in terms of personality, professional yet subdued. People are basically looking for a 1940’s housewife.

Women being judged based off of “likability” is not a new hurdle for any of the women running for president and they are not taking letting it slide this time around. Our female presidential candidates are calling the reporters out, they are pointing out the questions that are directly related to sexism and nipping them in the bud.

These women are shutting down the comments that insist that they are “too angry”, “too controversial”, or “too emotional”. Our female presidential candidates are tired of the sexist bullshit, as they should be.

For many Americans, the 2020 presidential election will be the most important election of their lifetime. So many rights and freedoms are on the line when discussing the 2020 presidency, yet many people seem to only care if the women running seem likable and the type of person you could grab a beer with.

I’m not sure where we as a society have gone wrong, but collectively we need to stop considering our elections as jokes. Growing up, there was never a discussion about women in power.

I am now 20 and in college and there might be the slightest chance I get to have a female president, yet that decision depends upon whether or not she is considered “laid back enough” for the weekend.

The 2020 presidential candidacy matters, this election will make or break the lives of many. Why do so many seem to be on the search for a presidential candidate that has “chilling around the campfire” nature to them?

We shouldn’t want presidential candidates that seem like they’d be a fun time over the weekend. We should want candidates that have strong political stances, that have a positive standing in their community, that are willing to take stances on the problems at hand. We shouldn’t want a candidate that is likable, we should want a candidate that is reliable.

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