Senator Warren is an accomplished woman with the rare ability to explain complicated economic issues of interest to both progressives and populists. But all anyone can talk about is whether she’s likable — or why it shouldn’t matter, should matter, or definitely will. Politico published a story about Senator Warren’s “coldness” and “aloofness,” two words that are not likable.
Never mind her qualifications or her policy positions. Forget the fact that she is smart and funny and feisty, a real fighter. “Likability” has become an important modern-day measurement for political success. Many of us — men in particular — still define a likable candidate as someone a man would want to “sit down and have a beer with.”
In a way, Sen. Warren’s Instabeer was a bit of blasphemy against the patriarchy.
According to a study by Kantar Public, 45 percent of American men would be “very comfortable” with a female president. I think I may know some of those dudes. It doesn’t matter how “comfortable” they say they are — they’re still hung up on likability. I heard the phrase “I’m not sexist, I just don’t like Hillary Clinton” more than a couple of times during the 2016 election. So it doesn’t surprise me that there are men who also dislike Elizabeth Warren. It’s as if these two politicians have something in common.
In a way, Senator Warren’s Instabeer was a bit of blasphemy against the patriarchy. Beer is a man’s drink. Or at least that’s the stereotype (a tired trope that cheap beer marketers love to exploit in their advertisements). This is the stuff of bad stand-up comedy: “Men love beer, women love white wine. What’s the deal with that?” “A couple of guys sharing a beer” is another one of male culture’s reinforced stereotypes.
A beer between two men is a sacred ritual, apparently. A safe space. At a bar, in the garage, watching baseball. When one man needs advice from another, they crack open cold ones. A blow-out with the girlfriend? Pick-up a six-pack. Career advice? Get thee to happy hour.
It’s one of the few social activities where men are allowed to voice their hidden thoughts. Drunk, men can admit their fears and hopes to one another without being accused of weakness. Men are not allowed to express pain unless they’re chugging watery anesthetic. We are, after all, the strong sex, built Ford tough. I have admitted truths to friends of mine — insecurities about relationships, frustrations with finances — that I would never have brought up sober. It’s a modern variation on the Latin phrase “in wine lies truth,” only it’s in Miller Light veritas.
I have never seen a sober man cry when his team loses the big game. But beer drunk? Sure. He’s allowed to be vulnerable so long as he’s sucking on a bottle of Bud. In the morning, hungover, he can say “I was drunk!” That’s the deal.
Women in American politics are accused of not being “likable” because that word is a not-so-clever code for “not to be trusted.” How can you trust a woman who isn’t a man you can knock back a couple of brewskis with?
But you know who is fit to rule? Literally any dude drinking at a pub.