Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hillary's lyin' eyes

CNN has an article examining the body language during her speech at the convention last night. I don't know if I've seen a more egregious example of directing people to look at a professional, powerful woman's body in preference to listening to what she says. She says x, but she acts like she means ____.

What did Hillary Clinton's body language give away at the Democratic National Convention?

Dan Hill, a body language expert and author of "Face Time," told CNN that even while the words Clinton delivered offered an unequivocal endorsement of Barack Obama, her body language was much less affirmative.

It's entirely possible -- I think probable -- that Clinton isn't as gung-ho about Obama's candidacy as her speech says. I've long been an Obama supporter talking back to angry Clinton supporters I hear on the radio, but this "She's crying on the inside" story strikes me as intended to rub salt in Democratic Party wounds, especially Clinton supporters' wounds. Having gotten quite sick of the Clinton campaign months ago, I still think this is really uncool.

I don't think I've ever read an article that tries to triangulate a male politician's real feelings about a subject over which he must have conflicting emotions.

I'm reminded of a time when at work someone had posted a list of things women/men say vs. what they mean. I took it down, thinking propaganda encouraging the idea that women and men are so drastically different that they can't - or won't - use the same language to communicate is not very productive at all. Humorless feminist me, getting sick of the kind of sexist humor that people like to think is harmless, even as it buttresses sexism. In a workplace that includes both men and women who need to negotiate the power differential that they bring from the outside world into their jobs, this is quite counterproductive - encouraging people to think they are so clever they know what their coworker of the opposite sex is really saying, without needing to explicitly communicate their understanding of what's been said. According to jokes like these, you don't need to actually say what you mean, as long as everyone's got the decoder ring.

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