Political Presentations: Is There a Double Standard for Women?

First there was Sarah Palin. I don't have to review the mistakes she made. They're burned in our brains because she was skewered by the media and the focus of a comedy bit on Saturday Night Live. Enter Michele Bachmann. Her recent flub about the actor John Wayne being from her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa set off the media because it was actually serial killer, John Wayne Gacey who hails from Waterloo. Oops. Yes, politicians must check their facts before speaking to the media and when they're wrong they'll have to answer for it. But is the scrutiny of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann due to their party affiliation? I say no. Hillary Clinton was not spared the media rod. She was criticized for her changing hair styles, her shrill voice, her command and control approach and her outspoken comments. Yet, these women pale compared to the gaffes of Joe Biden. But he seems to get a pass. The media does a quick "boys will be boys" chuckle and moves on to the next story. Like teflon, Joe's many public speaking faux pas including the F word don't seem to stick.Last week, Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday asked Michele, "Are you a flake?" Her response was, "Well, I think that would be insulting, to say something like that, because I'm a serious person." Can you imagine asking a male candidate if he was a flake? He then went on to remind her "that now that you are in the spotlight in a way that you weren't before that you have to be careful and not say what some regard as flaky things." How condescending but not surprising. The experience of political women mirrors the reality of corporate senior women who are not taken as seriously as their male counterparts. Tired of bumping their heads on the glass ceiling many corporate women left to become entrepreneurs and fueled the rapid growth of women owned businesses. But what is the answer for female political leaders? Are they supposed to go off and form their own governments? We need the diversity in both the private and public sector. Women have led England, the Philippines, Nicaragua, Pakistan. It's 2011 and we still don't have a female American president. Is there a double standard for women candidates? Do women have to be perfect presenters? What do you think?