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Royale and Sarkozy

“…she is looking at him, and he is looking at his audience…”

A friend, a fine writer and translator, Allison Anderson, writes on her blog of her tristesse in the aftermath of the Royal – Sarkozy debate.

What I realized—the reason for my storm-cloud—is that this young man, like other, older men with whom I’d discussed the debate, didn’t get it. He simply didn’t hear what she was saying, he didn’t understand what she was trying to say. Her discourse was that of a woman; Sarkozy spoke like a typical man, with his list of things to do, his numbers, his frosty Madame. Her discourse, and delivery, ventured over the line into the emotional, and into caring not about business, or purchasing power, but about real people—laid-off teachers, handicapped children, struggling adolescents. And it is true that like many women she talked a lot, perhaps too much to say the same thing (Sarkozy conceded three minutes extra to her in the debate)–this might be nerves, the need to get the point across, to be taken seriously. But many men won’t hear the important emotional, and social, let alone political content of her words: it’s not important to them. Or let’s just say that traditionally, throughout history, men have not heard women’s political discourse, when its content differs from theirs. Margaret Thatcher was an honorary man, as we all know; my argument doesn’t apply. I don’t speak German well enough to know what Angela Merkel is about. But the difference between a man’s reception/perception of Madame Royal’s speech and Monsieur Sarkozy’s was absolutely clear to me. And left me with a kind of hopelessness.

Alison Anderson

And track down her books there, too. Darwin’s Wink is quite a satisfying read….