Prince Philip an extraordinary man who led an extraordinary life+Kamala Harris

Posté le 10 avril 2021 par elenavagiasaintlouis dans Non classé

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50589065

Opinion - Doug Emhoff and the Second Gentleman Effect By Cindi Leive - Jan. 30, 2021 – NY Times

page2image65481216 page2image65488768 page2image65488576 page2image65507840 page2image33864912 KAMALA HARRIS page2image65503616 page2image33854160

The list of barriers Vice President Kamala Harris has broken is thrillingly long — first Black vice president, first South Asian vice president, first female vice president — and you have to go pretty far down it to get to the fact that, thanks to her, we now have our nation’s first male vice-presidential spouse. So when social media exploded with joy last week at the presence of @SecondGentleman Doug Emhoff, I found myself apprehensive. Are we really going to give Mr. Emhoff, lovely as he seems to be, credit just for doing the support work that wives have been doing forever? (I’ve rolled my eyes too many times as my husband gets fawned over at the playground for that.) Are we really going to make this historic milestone for women even a little bit about a man?Well, sort of.

Turns out that, as feminists have said for years, the world won’t change for women unless men change, too. And as we walk blinking and dazed out of four years of poisonous, if-I-don’t-win-I-lose masculinity, watching a white man step into a supporting role and (gasp!) enjoy it isn’t just a refreshing change of scenery. It’s a sign of progress, if ridiculously overdue.

So what could having a “wife guy,” as some headlines have called Mr. Emhoff, on the national stage get us?
Let’s be clear, first, that flipping the Second Spouse script won’t necessarily be easy. Nothing “where gender roles are inverted” ever is, warns former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. She should know: As the country’s first woman to serve in the role, she saw her own relationship with her partner, Tim Mathieson, dissected constantly in the press. (“Many of them weren’t very kind about it,” Ms. Gillard told me, understating things: She was quizzed about his sexuality in interviews, and the concept of a female leader having a relationship at all was considered so hilarious and unusual that there was even a popular sitcom that fictionalized her love life.)

Ms. Gillard, a co-author of the recent book “Women and Leadership,” sees relationships as just one more thing that women with authority get over-scrutinized for. “Female leaders have to make very nuanced choices every day — from their hair to their tone of voice — to fall into the ‘acceptability zone’ in the imagination of the public,” she said. “And the tightrope continues with the spouse. If he’s too active, people will think he’s telling her what to do. If he isn’t active, people will say, ‘We’re not getting value out of him.’ Every little footfall gets weighed.”

That’s enraging — and as we begin the Vice President Harris era, it’s worth remembering that no one judged Mike Pence by Karen Pence’s comings and goings. But whatever double standards lie ahead, Mr. Emhoff has already embraced his support role, quitting his law-firm job and studying the history of previous second spouses at the Library of Congress. “I’m not overly political,” he said affably in a Marie Claire interview. “I’m overly her husband.”

[...] “We always tell girls, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see,’ but we need to understand that the same is true for boys,” said Liz Plank, who found that when she interviewed hundreds of men for her book “For the Love of Men,” many wanted to upend their fathers’ tired definition of masculinity but could not come up with public examples of men who had done so. “It’s just as important for them to see men in support positions as it is for girls to see women in leading positions,” she said.

[...] “I go back to how Kamala always says she will be first but not last. So what is he going to do to make sure she is not the last?” Supporting the next generation of milestone makers, she said, would be a beautiful thing.

It would. But of course, Mr. Emhoff is not the protagonist here — that would be the vice president, and whatever she needs from him will define his role. “Nobody can do the job of vice president or president without having someone to cry to, vent to, laugh with,” said Kati Marton, whose book “Hidden Power” surveyed 12 presidential marriages. “His main role is to be what so many wives have been over the millennia: a really great support to his spouse.”

Accomplishing that would be enough. Showing other men how it’s done — even better.

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