“People still expect a more traditional thing from female politicians. Calling a man ambitious is seen as a positive thing. With a woman, it’s a negative.”
In a recent New York Times article, Robert Draper explores the life of Texas democrat Wendy Davis who rose to fame after a groundbreaking 11 hour filibuster last June. In “Can Wendy Davis Have It All?” Draper expresses the nuances of being a female candidate, the struggles of living a political life and her narrative for the upcoming campaign for Texas Governor. Not unlike many politicians past and present, it came about that her narrative (one of being a single mother rising from the trailer park all the way through law school), had a few fudged facts within it. Faced with extremely harsh critics, Draper explores the concept that female politicians have stricter and harder-to-meet standards when it comes to their life story and identity. Her campaign narrative, Draper states, “… was … very much the story of a female politician — and was thus fraught with choices for which male candidates are seldom second-guessed by either voters or pundits.” Divorce, raising children — these are things that never come up in a discussion of a male candidate. And so, Draper makes some interesting points while featuring Davis in a “more than just a politician light.” However, the title of Draper’s article, “Can Wendy Davis Have It All?” suggests a different gender lens, simply because we would never ask ourselves if a male politician could have a family and be successful in his career. Read Draper’s full article here and tell me what you think below.