REJECTING CODPIECE POLITICS.

Like Dana, I've been pleased with how Barack Obama has refused to play the gender card. And looking at the growing support
for Obama among women, it's clear that I'm not the only woman who is
comfortable voting for a male politician who doesn't conform to gender
stereotypes.

A few commenters
are worried that Obama's refusal to hew to gender norms plays
into the Republican playbook -- meaning certain electoral death. And in her Times op-ed, Susan Faludi warns
that 9/11 may still be too fresh in our national psyche for us to feel
comfortable electing a non-swaggering president. But I'd argue: Look how well masculinity politics worked for John Kerry. It wasn't just that Kerry didn't make a believable duck hunter or certified manly man. It was that he was playing a Republican game. And Democrats are bound to lose when they start thinking that the only way to appeal to voters is by meeting a set of criteria established by Republicans. I'm relieved Obama isn't playing that game.

--Ann Friedman

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