the president's teachable moment on interacting with female colleagues

Mr. Obama created a minor stir last week--particularly among a lot of his core constituencies--by noting that California Attorney General Kamala Harris "...happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general,” in public remarks.

A few thoughts.

1. That was a dumb thing to say. Lindy West does an admirable job of pointing out why, with typical good humor.

2. When a man works 80-hour weeks and has every public utterance recorded, transcribed, and scrutinized, it is inevitable that he will occasionally say dumb things, and we will know about it. Mr. Obama is one of the least gaffe-prone public figures in recent memory; I think he can be forgiven a momentary lapse of judgement without also dismissing what he said as "no big deal."

3. If you, as a man, find this confusing or frustrating, please allow me to offer a bit of friendly advice. I'm no expert on gender relations, nor a dedicated student of feminist theory--but seriously, this isn't rocket surgery. Here's a very handy rule of thumb: if it would be weird to say it to one of your male colleagues, it most likely isn't appropriate to say it to one of your female colleagues. Stick to that, and you will rarely, if ever, go wrong.

1 comment:

Bike Bubba said...

I personally found it humorous that the same day Mr. Obama expressed his admiration for the AG, his wife described herself as a single mom. Count me surprised the tabloids didn't run with THAT one. :^)