Women standing over men, symbol of power


After a recent meltdown in the White House, President Trump proceeded to further extend his tantrum by posting a picture of the House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He imagined that sharing an image of Pelosi standing over a room of white men would send the same message to the country that it sent to him. However, it is a narrow, historical perspective that a woman in power appears “unhinged”. It is also a good reminder that men are often able to assert latent and assertive power by their (generally) greater height, so it is often in moments when they are seated and a woman is standing that men feel ‘under’ women and feel ‘small’ and threatened by her power.

In my forthcoming article about women entering elected office after 1920, I find that for 1st 20 yrs of having the vote women generally were only able to enter office if they were widows of male politicians. An image I found captures the power of a woman standing and talking to seated men and it still resonates today.

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