Woman is Ever Fickle and Changeable

I wrote earlier this week that the Obama campaign is using the “War on Women” mantra to shore up single women – a key constituency for the president.

This is his base, and this is the basis for Sandra Fluke and “The Life of Julia,” the president’s message for how his set of cradle-to-grave government policies will support women throughout their lives. 

The message behind all of this ought to make single women cringe. Today, women are outperforming men educationally (women today received 57% or Bachelor’s degrees, 59% of Master’s, and more than 50% of PhDs), women make up nearly half the workforce (47%), and in many cities young women are out-earning their male counterparts.

In addition to the idea that women are a victim class in constant need of special government protection, the Democrats add insult upon insult with the notion that women are also indecisive. Throughout history we have witnessed a pejorative view of women as unable to make up their mind. Consider Virgil in The Aeneid: “Woman is ever fickle and changeable.” Or Shakespeare in Hamlet: “Frailty, thy name is woman!” Or famed Oscar Wilde, “Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.”

Now women are inconstant damsels in distress in need of a knight on a white horse (read: government). It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a literature class, but I’m pretty sure this is one of those “sexist” ideas our 1960s feminist forbearers were a little upset about. Only now the paternalistic figure is government rather than a prince!

Adam has already talked about the fact that a recent experiment revealed that men – rather than women! – may be the real “swing vote” this year.  In a recent PocketTrial, he found “male viewers were more easily susceptible to persuasion than female ones, shifting their opinion in response to both ads while women remained relatively stable.”  

Still the message from the Obama campaign and the punditry is that women are more persuadable – “thoughtful” perhaps. What do you think? Ultimately are persuadable and fickle really just two sides of the same coin?

  1. Trace

    Now why do you want to go and worry your pretty little head about something like that? Would you like a condom? They’re free!

  2. DocJay

    “Still the message from the Obama campaign and the punditry is that women are more persuadable – “thoughtful” perhaps. What do you think? Ultimately are persuadable and fickle really just two sides of the same coin?”

    I always tried to date the persuadable type.  It turns out everything was always their idea anyway.  Sigh.

    This war on women crap is degrading to women.  As if one could pigeon hole an entire sex.  

  3. genferei

    If we have no idea why people vote the way they do – and, in particular, why women and men tend to vote differently – how can we possibly answer a question about tendencies to change voting preferences?

  4. Misthiocracy

    I once had a heated argument with a really left-wing cousin about political campaign tactics at the local level.

    I talked about how a skilled campaigner canvasses the electorate in order to identify every single voter as a supporter, a supporter of the competition, or an undecided/accessible.

    Then, the skilled campaigner:

    1. ignores those who support the competition (since they are not persuadable), 

    2. puts less emphasis on supporters except for fundraising or recruiting volunteers (since they’ve already been persuaded), and 
    3. focuses almost all his/her resources on reaching out to the undecided/accessible.

    For example, I recommend to candidates that they participate in as few all-candidates meetings as possible, unless they are televised. There is not a SINGLE undecided voter at an all-candidates meeting. The crowd is made up ENTIRELY of each candidate’s supporters.

    My cousin was aghast!  ”But, but, that’s so cynical!  It’s undemocratic!!!”

    My point is that I’m not sure liberals understand the need to target “persuadable” voters. They target the voters they WANT to support them.

    After all, “undecided” means the voter is OPEN to voting Republican. Ew. Icky. Why would a liberal want THAT person’s vote?

  5. Essgee
    DocJay: “Still the message from the Obama campaign and the punditry is that women are more persuadable – “thoughtful” perhaps. What do you think? Ultimately are persuadable and fickle really just two sides of the same coin?”

    I always tried to date the persuadable type.  It turns out everything was always their idea anyway.  Sigh.

    This war on women crap is degrading to women.  As if one could pigeon hole an entire sex.   · 33 minutes ago

    The WoW has pigeon holed an entire sex….only it is men.

  6. Indaba

    Women can be easier to pursuade, depending on the topic. There is a famous test where women stand next the CN Tower and are asked to estimate the height. Then a man is asked and gives a different answer. The female usually switches to the male answer possibly because spatial skills are not a top female skill. 

    They are as pursuasive as men in social settings, work or home. As a cheesy example, the top player of the reality show, Survivor, was a woman. She won twice! 

     With politics and this war on woman, my single and divorced friends who are in the work world adore Obama. There is knee jerk reaction to right wing males talking morality, birth control, abortion. These women see white men trying to take away their work position and diminish their careers and tell them they should be at home having kids. They go into high threat alert at the mention of these topics and assume the right wants them back into chastity belts. 

    I have tried but these women will not be pursuaded to think differently. They are entrenched left wing voters.

  7. Misthiocracy
    Indaba: Women can be easier to pursuade, depending on the topic. There is a famous test where women stand next the CN Tower and are asked to estimate the height. Then a man is asked and gives a different answer. The female usually switches to the male answer possibly because spatial skills are not a top female skill. 

    I would wager (though I have absolutely no data to back this idea up) that if you changed the experiment by including one woman as test subject, and then get one man to offer an opinion and then get two or more other women to agree on a third opinion, the test subject would change her opinion to agree with the group of women.

    It seems to me (gut instinct again – I have no data) that it’s not that the female test subject is more likely to defer to a man, but that the female test subject would be more likely to “go along with the crowd”.

    If you had a male test subject, (lacking data to back it up) I wager that he’d be more likely to argue with the opinions of the others, regardless of their genders.

  8. Chris Johnson

    I know no persuadable gal-folks.  They are either hunkered on conservative principles, or hunkered otherwise.  In the latter case, it always seems to be the abortion issue.

    The guys I know are the most confused.  There are conservatives and socialists, but also a mushy middle of confusion that make(s) little sense, to me.

    I see a bunch of guys in the middle that are not being coherent, leading, types.  And my primary theory about that is that it is entirely predicatable.  Some guys will say and do whatever they have to, to go home with the gal.

  9. Astonishing
    Sabrina Schaeffer . . . Throughout history we have witnessed a pejorative view of women as unable to make up their mind. Consider Virgil inThe Aeneid: “Woman is ever fickle and changeable.” Or Shakespeare inHamlet: “Frailty, thy name is woman!” Or famed Oscar Wilde, “Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.” . . .

    In a post that purports to seek to understand women . . .

     . . .  what nonsense to suggest that Shakespeare asserted the truth of a line he gave to Hamlet, that Wilde subscribed to the offhand opinion of a single fictional character who narrates one short story, or even that Virgil believed any particular cry of the many distressed and contradictory cries of Aeneas.

    Shakespeare is not Hamlet. Virgil is not Aeneas.

    Why do I complain about the obvious?

    Because such careless treatment spreads the feminist dismissal of great writers as “a buncha dead white guys.” That’s a sad loss for women, because they understood women, men, and human beings better than any of us ever will. We can learn from them. But such careless treatment contributes to the prejudice, based on nonsensical evidence, that we should not read these writers seriously because they espoused a ”pejorative view of women.”

  10. Keith Rice

    Only male responses thus far … interesting.

    I don’t agree with most feminist beliefs, I do believe that women will tend more to let themselves be cared for. But this is about options, women more than men like to keep their options open (which may appear to be indecisiveness).

    The cradle-to-grave benefits that Obama promises don’t prevent o women making every effort to live without such benefits, they just provide a socially acceptable alternative (also more important to women). Survival, or the inclination to thrive will always trump ideology and will usually trump good character.

  11. Astonishing
    Adam Schaeffer, Guest Contributor

    Astonishing

    Sabrina Schaeffer . . . Throughout history we have witnessed a pejorative view of women as unable to make up their mind. Consider Virgil inThe Aeneid: “Woman is ever fickle and changeable.” Or Shakespeare inHamlet: “Frailty, thy name is woman!” Or famed Oscar Wilde, “Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.” . . .

    In a post that purports to seek to understand women . . .

     . . .  what nonsense to suggest that Shakespeare asserted the truth of a line he gave to Hamlet, that Wilde subscribed to the offhand opinion of a single fictional character who narrates one short story, or even that Virgil believed any particular cry of the many distressed and contradictory cries of Aeneas.

    Astonishing . . . I think you know that wasn’t her point. She was just identifying the source of the writing and using some famous quotes to give color to what we all know are stereotypes about women. . . .

    Yes, I know that wasn’t her point. That’s why “careless,” not  “intentional.” But speaking of stereotypes, the stereotype that the Western Canon mistreats women is so insidious, convenient, and damaging, that one must consciously resist it. (Thanks for not taking my usual grumpiness too personally.)

  12. Adam Schaeffer
    C
    Astonishing

    Sabrina Schaeffer . . . Throughout history we have witnessed a pejorative view of women as unable to make up their mind. Consider Virgil inThe Aeneid: “Woman is ever fickle and changeable.” Or Shakespeare inHamlet: “Frailty, thy name is woman!” Or famed Oscar Wilde, “Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.” . . .

    In a post that purports to seek to understand women . . .

     . . .  what nonsense to suggest that Shakespeare asserted the truth of a line he gave to Hamlet, that Wilde subscribed to the offhand opinion of a single fictional character who narrates one short story, or even that Virgil believed any particular cry of the many distressed and contradictory cries of Aeneas.

    Astonishing . . . I think you know that wasn’t her point. She was just identifying the source of the writing and using some famous quotes to give color to what we all know are stereotypes about women. I don’t think this kind of thing is why these authors are dismissed by Lefties . . . 

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