Freelance writer confession: I have this habit of sending pitches at night. Late at night. Like, really late at night — we’re talking well after midnight here. If I get an idea (or if there’s a timely op-ed that I just need to write about), then you can usually find me curled up in my bed, dashing off pitches, the bright light of my iPhone guiding me ever onward. That’s exactly how this piece for The Independent came to fruition. The subjects of the piece? Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris…
I got to write about the differences in media coverage between male and female candidates in the 2020 election. Why do we continue to insist that women politicians must be likeable above all else while not holding men to those same standards? It frustrates me to no end, especially when it comes to Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris.
Frankly, there are too many sexist assumptions to count when it comes to the upcoming election. Too. Many. To. Count. Honestly, if I think about it too much, my head starts to hurt and I become, umm, one big ball of rage!
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, in which I question some of the messages we’re sending when we cover male and female candidates so differently and how female candidates seem to be up against something far more sinister than politics itself: the relatability factor…
When women are used merely to bolster a man’s ticket or ignored entirely when a man hits the stage, there is no progress. After rumors abounded this week about the possibility of Biden “balancing his ticket” with Harris, I was glad to see her tell voters in New Hampshire that her male counterpart “would be a great running-mate. As vice president, he’s shown he can do the job.” I hope the sentiment goes beyond a soundbite.
That future just might be the one where women can come out ahead. Let’s hope America is listening.
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo