Women everywhere are bracing for a barrage of sexist and thinly veiled racist attacks likely to head her way, whoever she is. We’ve seen it all before. Women who dare to have ambition, who want to lead at the highest levels and ask others to support them in their do so are expected to become an impossible combination of kind, warm, modest, tough but not too tough, hardworking but not driven, pretty but not too sexy, smart but not a know it all. These pervasive double standards are so impossible no wonder we’ve not yet elected a woman president. Who could meet these impossible standards?
It should be obvious to everyone how ridiculous the ambition trope is. How is anyone expected to rise to high office or high achievement without it? And yet for women, the undercurrent is one of cold, ruthless calculation. None of these subtle and destructive implications apply to ambitious men. They are rewarded for their ambition. In the case of Harris, the implication that her ambition makes her disloyal to Biden because she would dare to seek the Presidency herself encapsulates centuries of sexism that continue to hold all women back. Vice President Biden should call it out and shut it down immediately. Regardless of if he decides to pick Harris, the narrative sets women back.