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What are some things you don’t say? 

Here are a few that occur to me. 

We say, “He won her.” 

We don’t often say, “She won him.” 

And, when I do hear them, it seems to me it has a definitely different set of connotations. The first statement, “He won her.” Is un-marked. At least for me, I don’t feel I know any more about the person than I did before that statement. But all of the immediate connotations, vague as they are, are positive. He may have won her by a show of strength or competence. Maybe he slew a dragon. Maybe he outwitted all his rivals (notice their implicitly has to be at least one). Maybe he won her by being open and honest or showing how much he cared. It’s all good. 

Now, what stories come to my mind when I see, “She won him.” First, to be honest, there is a bit of a double take. Did I read that right? OK, well, sure, that can happen. Probably far more than men realize. What did she do? Did she use deception? And, what about him? Why didn’t he win her? I’m not saying I can’t overcome these connotations.

Notice, I don’t think she did use deception. I don’t have any evidence about that. And there are many other ways to “win” someone. But why does it come to mind? It did not come to mind when I read the first sentence. Yet, I can think of numerous instances where men have used all kinds of deception, not to mention, cruelty, gaslighting, murder, drugs, kidnapping, rape to “win” someone. 

It is really an upstream swim not to fall for the bull$hit your culture inculcates into you about age, gender, race, etc. 

Do you think there is any practical significance to this? 

Let’s consider one recent example. In the “2016” campaign for US President, you may recall that the democrats chose one of the best-qualified candidate in US History on the basis of her intellect, experience, and character. Yet, her opponent, one of the very least qualified in US history on the basis of what he actually accomplished (mainly losing millions of dollars), his character, or his intellect, called her “Crooked Hillary” and it stuck for many people.

You may notice that in the previous paragraph, I put “2016” in scare quotes. Why? Because both sides began the Hilary (or Anti-Hilary) campaign years before 2016. The Republicans realized early on she was their best candidate and attacked her character mercilessly and with zero evidence. Zero. But it worked.

But what if Hillary would have called Donald Trump “Crooked Donald” first? Would that have helped her? No. About 40 % of America, as we now know, would have simply said, “Yeah, so?” They don’t care that he is a tax-evader. They don’t care that he is a pu$$y grabber. They don’t care that he had a fake university or that he defrauded a kid’s cancer charity. They don’t care. It’s what guys do. There’s winners and losers. And a guy’s gotta do what he’s gotta do to win or he’s not really a man. So if he’s stupid, maybe he has to bend a few rules to win. So what. That just makes him street smart. Since he’s a guy, all that is just fine. It’s fine to be a real crook if you’re a guy, but not okay to be untruthfully branded as a crook if you’re a woman.

Gee. That sounds fair. 

The thing is this. It isn’t just unfair to Hillary. It was unfair to America. And every time our presumptions trump reality, we all lose. We are all the poorer because we have not made the best decision in accordance with reality but merely comforted ourselves with the lie that we were right all along. 


Essays on America: Wednesday

Essays on America: My Cousin Bobby

Essays on America: The Stopping Rule

Essays on America: What about the butter dish?

Essays on America: The Update Problem

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