Is the United States ready for a female president?

Sara Spritzer

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I’m sure many of you can assume my answer to this question… of course we are! But there are people who are skeptical of having a woman be the primary leader of this country.

I was recently introduced to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk9prKSeFN4

Bill O’Reilly states that there haven’t been very many strong female leaders in this country.  I agree that there has been a lack of leadership by women, but he does not even begin to try to understand why. I have a suggestion; maybe it’s because people like O’Reilly truly believe women do not have the capacity to become president. Does he have evidence to back this up? Maybe circumstantial, but we have never actually had a female president, so where is his reasoning coming from?

And, hello, if you tell someone they cannot be a leader in this country repeatedly, they eventually will believe it. People like O’Reilly keep selling women short and doubting them, which does not make anyone feel empowered to become an amazing leader.

Bill makes a point to say that a woman president would have to deal with ornery male leaders, like Putin. How is that a flaw on the women’s part? Women in politics have been dealing with ornery people – including Bill – for decades now. It’s nothing new, and a woman who has been in politics long enough to run for president will be perfectly capable of dealing with leaders like Putin.

The media has a bias against every woman in a position of power. Actresses, singers, politicians, CEO’s – the media asks them the most ridiculous questions that have absolutely nothing to do with their success or leadership. It’s frustrating to sit and watch a newscast that highlights Hillary Clinton’s outfit, but says nothing about the speech she made.

Women in the media are just icons of beauty.  The words they speak never get acknowledged, but everyone must know what designer they are wearing.  Women are criticized for their bodies, age, clothing, makeup, hair and on top of that, they must remain elegant and poised.  They cannot act too masculine, but they still must find a way to remain strong and portray their power in a correct fashion. It’s exhausting.

This happens everywhere, not just in media. I had a personal experience with this recently. We have guest speakers every Friday in one of my mass media classes. We recently had a very successful woman, who was an environmental journalist living in Washington, D.C.  She was the fifth guest speaker and the only woman so far.  One of my classmates proceeded to ask her about her family life.  She was married and had children.  They then asked her how she balanced such a successful career and a family.  No one had asked any of our other male guest speakers about their family lives. This was the first time the concern about balancing family and career had been brought up in class, and of course, it was directed at a woman. While I was deeply offended by this question, she brushed it off and answered perfectly.  It was clear this was not the first time she had been asked this question, and her answer was well rehearsed. I respected her for that.

It irritates me that we still hold this idea that women cannot have a successful career and support a family. They must choose one or the other – and if they choose their career, they are less of a woman.  This rationale must change because it is evident women can balance a home life and any career they choose, or neither or both. That is what we need to be teaching young women and girls.  They can be whatever they please, as long as they work hard and stay focused.

So, is the world ready for a female president of the United States? I believe we can be, but we are going to have to drastically change how the media portrays women leaders and how our society perceives them.  It’s hard to imagine anyone giving a perfect State of the Union address when they are more concerned about what the press will say about their outfit.

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