I didn’t say it—Kathleen Parker did.
And she thinks it may not be a bad thing:
It isn’t that [Obama] isn’t “cowboy” enough, as others have suggested. Aren’t we done with that? It is that his approach is feminine in a normative sense…Obama displays many tropes of femaleness. I say this in the nicest possible way. I don’t think that doing things a woman’s way is evidence of deficiency but, rather, suggests an evolutionary achievement.
Funny thing, though—Parker doesn’t give many details about her basis for calling Obama womanish, although she does offer the idea that he’s used the passive voice a lot in his recent speeches, and also:
Women tend to be coalition builders rather than mavericks (with the occasional rogue exception). While men seek ways to measure themselves against others, for reasons requiring no elaboration, women form circles and talk it out.
(Parker links to research that’s supposedly about this, but all I could find at the link was a fairly interesting (but irrelevant) article about the differences in how men and women navigate spatially and give directions.)
What’s more, Parker fails to differentiate between actually working to achieve compromise, and pretending to be a coalition builder while effectively shutting out and demonizing the opposition, as Obama has done. In addition, anyone who asserts, as Parker seems to, that women don’t “measure themselves” against other women (or even against men) has just not been paying attention.
It’s a funny thing, too, that a great many women in public life today appear more macho than many of the men, and yet they have retained their femininity at the same time. I think, of course, of Sarah Palin or Arizona Governor Brewer. Decisiveness and clarity, as well as the ability to compromise, are neither masculine nor feminine traits. But a good leader—and a good president—must exhibit the real deals, and not just rhetorical simulacrums thereof.