The problem with A Female President

Caperton in Feministe:

ClintonWhen I was a little kid, I eagerly awaited 2016 so I could have my chance at being the first female president. I don’t begrudge Hillary Clinton the fact that she may end up beating me to it — my political ambition has faded over time. But the prospect of Madame President still makes me smile. I haven’t seen anyone — anyone of real influence, at least — say that voters should support Hillary Clinton solely because she’s a woman. But the concept of A Female President — not specifically President Hillary Clinton, but simply a female president, as in The Importance Of A Female President, or how It’s Time For A Female President — has come up numerous times throughout election season in support of Clinton’s candidacy, and that’s just not a good choice of selling points. From a marketing standpoint. I say all of this not as someone with a specific political preference (I do have a candidate of choice, and it’s hardly a secret, but it’s inconsequential for current purposes) but as someone who deals in message strategy for a living, and who can tell when a value proposition isn’t going to get the job done. Here’s where the weakness comes in:

Too many counterexamples. Once upon a time, when the Democratic Party was the only party of the Big Two to have the oves to try to run a woman for president, this could have been a more compelling argument. But with the past few years bringing us the specters of Vice President Sarah Palin, President Michele Bachmann, and President Carly Fiorina, “We need a woman in the White House” requires a little more qualification, and an asterisk and fine print really take a lot of impact out of a marketing message.

More here.