IS BARACK OBAMA A WOMAN?

It's certainly true, as Susan Faludi writes in The New York Times, that Republicans are already using coded language to call Barack Obama effeminate. To his credit, Obama has so far done a good job of refusing to out-swagger McCain on foreign policy. He has also resisted engaging in the other stupid gender role-playing games that are routinely part of American presidential politics (think motorcycle and tank riding, donning flight suits, going duck hunting, and the like). And yes, Obama was raised by a single mom and has a smart, ambitious wife.

But let's not get carried away. All of this doesn't make Obama our "first woman president." Faludi writes:

“In many ways, he really will be the first woman president,” Megan Beyer of Virginia, a charter member of Women for Obama, told reporters. An op-ed essay in The New York Post headlined “Bam: Our 1st Woman Prez?” came to a similar conclusion, if a tad more snidely: “Those shots of Barack and Michelle sitting with Oprah on stools had the feel of a smart, all-women talk panel.”

Remember how disturbing it seemed -- once an actual black person was in reach of the presidency -- that Bill Clinton had so internalized the "first black president" moniker that he was shocked African Americans would flock to Obama instead of to his wife? Well, no sooner is Hillary Clinton out of the race then we're hearing that Obama would be the "first woman president." Utterly ridiculous. It's time to retire this trope.

--Dana Goldstein

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