Monday, April 20, 2015

Are You Ready for a Female President? Depends on In-Group Bias

Are you ready for a female president? I highly doubt you would say no, not because you find it to be the popular answer, but because you are psychologically prone to use in-group bias, especially if you are a woman. Unless of course you are Ayn Rand, who famously said she would never vote for a woman president, but you are not, and in the modern political landscape a statement like that would be viewed as intolerant, sexist, and perhaps even immoral (for what that is worth).

As for the numbers, according to U.S. News out of 800 people polled "75 percent think the country will elect one in 2016," and "49 percent of voters say they would be more engaged in the 2016 election if a woman throws her hat into the ring." 92 percent of people polled in a CBS News poll said they would vote for a woman for president if she was qualified. This fact alone could determine who has the most to gain when pursuing the presidential election, specifically Hillary Clinton.

What is most telling, and what is not being explained, is why do we believe that a woman decidedly entering the presidential arena would actually effect anything? "Anything" for the purposes of this discussion is going to be defined as "issues that effect women." To be fair, I don't believe that there is ever an issue political or moral that effects merely women, but as for most women, they do. Usually they believe that if a woman were to be in political office, this elected official would best represent them. How does anyone in any way know this? President Obama promised many things, such as closing Guantanamo Bay, expand child and dependent care credit, and sign the employee Free Choice Act; promises he broke. What makes us so sure that if Hillary Clinton were to be a crusader for the modern women and women's issues, that she would also make promises she cannot keep? Well, because the Hillary campaign told me so.

I am not here to assume that this is not the case with the Hillary Clinton campaign; I know this is the case for the Hillary Clinton campaign. It works to the campaign's favor that people (especially young people) focus on diversity and the fact that she is a woman, or should I say a champion for women, by women, and about women. Don't believe me? Check out this video:

As much as I would love to dissect the Hillary campaign on policy, it would be more prudent to ask why is it that women (specifically) believe that a woman would best represent them? The answer lies within the biological framework of in-group bias, or the concept of favoring one's in-group members and shunning those who are considered in the out-group. Women are biologically and psychologically more prone to like women than men.  It's the "women are wonderful" effect, and political representation is a clear example of that. A fairly interesting example is a Gallup poll during the 2012 Presidential election, entitled "Women in Swing States Have Gender Specific Priorities." Women were asked, "What do you consider the most important issue for women this election?" and 39% of women stated "abortion." Yes, that is correct, abortion. Not jobs, not the economy, not education, not even equal rights/pay/opportunity. What does this mean?

It means that when you ask a woman to answer a question as a woman they answer the only way they know how, through stereotypes of other women. Notice it is not what they consider to be the most important issue this election (that would have actually been helpful,) but instead decided to ask "as a woman what are other women thinking about issues." As a result we are left with a "women's issue." Although this poll did not indicate what issue the person polled truly important, it is a poll that helps those who want to define women voters by way of merely "women's issues." Which, let's face it, are the most important issues to women (at least if I were to take the Democratic Party's word for it).

The sad part is that women don't make it difficult at all and embrace the idea of "a woman can do no wrong," and if you question that bumper sticker mentality you will end up in the out-group. An out-group that will be ignored, trivialized, and ridiculed by the Hillary Campaign and their allies, and for good reason. I mean, think about it, we need a woman, because... diversity? Forgive me if I don't believe that gender and race are important factors in my personal decision of political representation. I guess I will have do my best to think as a woman from now on.

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