In my earlier post about charisma, I mentioned that fewer women seemed to have charisma than men. I can think of three charismatic women:
- Diana, Princess of Wales
- Sarah Palin
- Margaret Thatcher
I’m sure there are others but these are the only ones that spring readily to mind. (And Thatcher only came to mind because she’s on the Wikipedia list) In addition, one might claim numerous actresses and singers as charismatic, but I’m not going to include them because I suspect that such people are capable of “faking” charisma by carefully controlling the concerts they perform at, and the films in which they appear. Politicians and Royalty have no such luxuries.
Now, I offered one explanation for why women don’t seem to be, on average, as charismatic as men. The explanations of sexism is a good one, but there are several variants even on that one explanation:
- Women are not accepted by men in the role of leaders, even if they are charismatic. This might be true, but charisma has a way of overriding many other complaints one might make about a person. This is the reason charisma is such an asset. I fail to see why it shouldn’t also override gender roles.
- Physical attractiveness, an important element of charisma, is more rigidly defined for women than for men. In other words, a woman must be prettier than the average woman to be charismatic than a man must be more handsome than the average man. The simplest way of phrasing this is: men, as a group, are shallow.
- Charismatic tendencies are discouraged in girls from a young age. Related to first point.
- Biological differences. I can’t imagine what these would be, but I can’t rule out the possibility.
I’m sure there are other explanations. I encourage readers to post other explanations in the comments. Also, if anybody can provide examples of non-actress, non-singer women who are/were charismatic, I would appreciate it.