The Bull's Eye

Double standards at highest levels

Cindy Liu, Staff Writer

There is no doubt that being a politician, especially one running for president, is a difficult job. In addition to the massive headache of managing their campaign and having their every move scrutinized by the public eye, male and female politicians have to deal with blatant double standards that affect the public’s images of them.

Double standards, the idea that some standards or rules apply differently to one group than another, is something that is engrained in our society, especially in the world of politics.

While some may cling onto their mistaken ideals of gender equality, the inequality between male and female politicians cannot be denied; gender differences play a heavy role in the way that politicians are viewed and the standards they are held to.

After the long presidential campaign, one can’t help but be aware of the issue of double standards among politicians. With Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential candidate nominated by a major party, battling for the presidency with Republican candidate Donald Trump, voters indicate that they tend to be naturally uncomfortable with the idea of a woman  outside her stereotypical role as a nurturing mother.

Although most  people claim to not to have made sexist or biased judgements about the two candidates, social psychology says it’s not up to them—subconscious bias may make them feel it’s wrong when Clinton acts in a masculine manner in contrast to naturally accepting Trump’s attitude. However, recognizing and acknowledging natural biases can be a solution to making a more informed judgement about a candidate.

While the claims that Trump made inappropriate statements to women and his calling Clinton “a nasty woman” might have dampened his likeability factor with voters,  according to the executive director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, it doesn’t matter for Trump as much as it does for Hillary. A woman is judged both on her likeability factor and her qualifications while men are generally only judged on the quality of their performance.

Men and women’s mannerism are also perceived differently. An assertive woman is described as aggressive while a man is described as steadfast. An angry woman is emotionally unstable while an angry man is powerful.

The double standard among male and female politicians is everywhere. Just take a look at the media, which holds women up to feminine stereotypes by judging them more harshly than men on appearance, personality and actions.

Media comments about politicians differ on each gender’s physical appearance and clothes. Women are generally judged more on their attractiveness and choice of clothing than men are. If a woman is overweight, she is seen as less of a leader in comparison to an overweight man, according to Business Insider.

        Additionally, men who express a family commitment are generally applauded by the public while women with children or expecting children are considered emotionally uncontrollable and less suitable for their jobs.

When House Speaker Paul Ryan ran for vice president, he was rarely questioned about his ability to both carry out his duties and care for his children. In contrast, Sarah Palin, a GOP vice presidential nominee, faced harsh criticism about whether she was capable of taking on her duties while continuing to care  for her five children.

However, women are generally given the benefit of doubt when it comes to being honest and sympathetic to the needs of the middle class, according to research by the Barbara Lee Family Foundation.

Women and men politicians are not treated with equal standards; unless we consciously move to take action against the gender inequalities, double standards will continue to wrongly influence us.

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