Likeability v. electability: Different word, same sexism

Editorial / Opinion Piece / Blog Post

August 23, 2019

Likeability v. electability: Different word, same sexism


By Nicole Carlsburg,

The influence of the #MeToo movement. The historic number of diverse women elected in 2018. The fact that multiple women have been on the last two presidential debate stages – and will be on the next one. All of these factors make the 2020 presidential race feel incredibly different from the 2016 one. But, you know what they say: the more things change, the more things stay the same. And one thing’s that definitely stayed the same: sexism. In 2016, we called it “likeability.” In 2018, we’re calling it “electability.”

This is not to say that men don’t get the electability question thrown at them. The problem is when electability is the word used to cover up prejudice, in any form. John F. Kennedy was seen as “unelectable” because he was Catholic. Barack Obama was seen as “unelectable” because he is African American. Six current nominees for president are seen as “unelectable” because they’re women.

Click here to read the full article published by Gender on the ballot on 22 August 2019.

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