So Hillary’s in. Is she the superior candidate?

She may well be, but I have a hard time believing that’s because of her gender. Or sex.

But Leftover provides us with all kinds of food for thought on Clinton’s declared candidacy for president, including this long, long, looong piece by Melvin Konner with the jaunty title of “The End of Male Supremacy.”

(Boiled down? Prof. Konner says women are superior to men in all important ways.)

Leftover also sent this rejoinder — which, I have to say, I agree with and like a great deal. I really don’t need someone — man or woman — telling me my gender is more excellent than any other gender. That feels like a fairly useless conversation and, as a woman, it feels a tinge patronizing. Thing I’m superior to the average man? Then pay me thus.

Look: It’s impossible to sit comfortably when someone starts a sentence with “Men are better at” so I find it equally uncomfortable to sit still at “Women are better at” sentences, as well. Do I have a whole heap of science backing me up? Yeah. But

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  1. After reading Bovy’s rejoinder I reread Konner’s piece. The patronizing was a little easier for me to see. (Another cup of coffee helped, too.) But I think “mansplaining” is a bit much. And I think there’s more in Konner’s argument to take issue with than patronization.

    For instance: At one point Konner exploits data on women’s post-crash reemployment as seemingly indicative of their superiority. This conveniently ignores significant data on overall post-crash reemployment that points to other reasons women exceeded men in regaining employment. (Unless he thinks paying women significantly less than men in almost all classifications of employment is a sign of superiority.) And, as a male, I think being classified as a “syndrome” likewise ignores other findings in science…and history…that show how men and women working together results in improved problem solving. (There was a post here about that a few months back but I can’t find it now. Curse you WordPress!) That kind of cherry-picking taints his argument overall, even though he does make some excellent points.

    I do think, though, he got off to a good start. If the goal is substantive equality, (as opposed to formal equality), recognizing and accepting difference is necessary. Judgments on superiority or inferiority, however, inhibit acceptance and serve only to reinforce factionalizing that contributes to obstruction that limits progress toward that goal.

    I was disappointed with Clinton’s announcement. I expected a bit more than a slick commercial that more closely resembled an announcement of a new breakfast cereal than a candidacy for President. Have to wait for the “formal” doings, I guess. But hey! If she can get my dog to stop eating the trash, I’ll run right to the store and buy me some Hillary™.

    Wait…I don’t have a dog.
    Left out again!

  2. Why are some people so eager to come up with short cuts for judgment of a person? We are multifaceted beings with individual strengths, weaknesses, and ability to learn and grow into a role. That part is frustrating. Yet, when it comes to breaking down a barrier, (race, gender, religious affiliation, etc), it is a little exciting that doors have been opened.

    Having said that, if Konner’s article had not made the outrageous claim, maybe it would not have attracted attention. I wonder, is it possible for a man to address this topic without sounding patronizing? Or, for a woman to address it without being dismissed as being “too feminist”? The topic, I guess, would be whatever it takes to bring about true gender equality – a blindness to gender when operating in the world unless looking for a mate.

    Do you think Konner’s piece does more harm than good or more good than harm? While I’m not comfortable with the bottom line claim, I appreciate the analysis in that it gets people talking.

  3. The headline question is: “Is [Hillary] the superior candidate?” That question is all about comparisons to alternatives.

    Does it mean is she “the best candidate that could exist chosen from the entire population of technically eligible people?” I’d have to say “probably not” bordering on “I don’t know who would be best, but chances are excellent that Hillary isn’t the best.”

    Does it mean is she “the best candidate that actually is vying for the job at present?” Well, if that is the question I know my answer. Gender has nothing to do with that answer whereas common sense, intelligence, rationality, and some knowledge of history are very important. However, if Tom “a few days of bombing would take care of the Iran problem” Cotton were to run, I guess I’d have to reconsider; wouldn’t you agree?

  4. “Thing I’m superior to the average man? Then pay me thus.”

    And stop mansplaining stuff to me.

  5. She’s got Senate experience and she’s got foreign policy experience. Not to mention being at the elbow of one of the best Presidents of the 20th century. At this point in time, she appears to be the most electable person running as a Democrat. Given that we’re stuck with the same electoral process that we’ve had since before the 2000 election, that’s good enough for me. I love Warren and Sanders, but we need then in the Senate.

    1. That’s an excellent point. It doesn’t look like Warren wants to run, anyway and who wants a legitimately (or so it appears) reluctant candidate? Not sure about Sanders. He’s said he might, but…

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