Too much testosterone

Why we need more estrogen in politics


2018 has been a progressive year for women.

Feminists took an active role in the fight against sexual assault, making the #MeToo movement remain at the forefront of the American public’s attention.

Women have officially reversed the stereotype of not attending higher education, accounting for 57 percent of all college students in the U.S. as of 2018.

Ariana Grande gave a riveting performance at her One Love Concert for Manchester survivors and released songs redefining the way society views girls’ emotions.

All of these events and attitudes point toward the idea that women are gaining equality. But is it really enough? Women seem to be rocking the music industry with many awards going toward female artists. Girls also seem to be rooting in male dominated career fields, shattering the societal view that women are less skilled than men.

However even though many major career paths have an increased number of female participation, one platform seems to continually lack this change: politics.

Now, you might be telling yourself, “a woman won the democratic candidacy just last year, this can’t be true.”

Yes, we as women are glad with the progression that occurred in the 2016 election, but let’s take a step back.

This was the first time a woman has won the primary candidacy in the history of the United States. Dating back to 1872, the first time a woman attempted to run, no other girl, besides Hillary Clinton has been selected as a primary. That is 146 years of men holding arguably the most important and powerful position in America without women even standing a chance.

If you believe this is because no woman has been intelligent or qualified enough to take charge of our country, then let’s not sugarcoat it. You are sexist and this article isn’t going to change your mind. However, if you are one of the many who believe women are skilled enough but simply hold too many “feminine” attributes to possess this political position, please, stick around.

For a long time, women were told they weren’t good enough or strong enough or brave enough to fulfill a four year 4-year presidency with success. Finally, women have started to ask why, and the most common response: “Women are simply too emotional.”

At first thought I was unfazed by the phrase, thinking back to the countless hours I have spent having mental breakdowns over just about everything: school, friends, break-ups, the whole shabang. Then, I realized how each of those mental breakdowns, no matter how stressful, taught me an important lesson that supported my decision-making in the future. I mean, let’s look at the science behind females – and their emotions.

Estrogen, a hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of the body predominantly in females, is found to have direct correlation to women’s emotional well being. When more estrogen is released during a woman’s menstrual cycle, chances are the individual will be more emotional. This can be paralleled to testosterone in men, as increased levels of testosterone affect men’s emotions as well. So, why are women considered more emotional?

This statement comes from the psychology behind how each sex expresses their varying emotions. A study conducted by a research organization called the Scientific American concludes that women have greater emotional expressiveness. This means that while each sex may hold the same emotional levels as a whole, women are more likely to reveal their feelings. This finally brings us to where the controversy lies. Women revealing their thoughts must mean they are “too emotional” to be political, right? Wrong. Emotional vulnerability is exactly what America needs. Politicians have etched the adjectives lying, corrupt and inconsiderate into the job description, but it doesn’t have to be this way. By expressing emotion to the American public, leaders gain a sense of trust and relatability. This can be seen through some of America’s most prominent past leaders.

Example A is former Senator Ted Kennedy who drove his car off a bridge in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts killing Mary Jo Kopechne, his 28-year-old campaign strategist who was sitting in the passenger seat. After fleeing the scene without reporting the instance to the police until 10 hours later,  the accident became a national scandal. Only until Kennedy gave a speech detailing the incident and his emotions surrounding the incident did the American public forgive the Senator. Oh, and did I mention he won the next election by a 62 percent vote in his favor? 

Example B is former President Barack Obama who traveled to South Carolina to speak at Reverend Pinckney’s funeral – a man killed in the Charleston church shooting. However, after pausing in silence for nearly a minute, Obama began singing “Amazing Grace,” too emotional to form a speech. It is known to be one of his most famous presidential moments. 

Example C is former President George H.W. Bush crying in an interview explaining his wife having open heart surgery in 2009. Bush describes how he felt after five different former presidents called him, sending their support. This remains to be one of his most famous interviews. 

Each of these moments stands as a prominent point in history when we saw political leaders as humans. If we, as a society, began recognizing emotional vulnerability as a benefactor rather than a weakness, we would more easily connect with politicians–and maybe even give women a chance at the oval office. Estrogen equals emotion, thus more women in politics will lead to a more expressive country. Women in political power revealing their emotional thoughts surrounding controversial issues or moral dilemmas would lead to politics holding a greater sense of public opinion.