I find Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) incredibly attractive. Like movie star/fashion model attractive. I actually think she’s better looking than many of the actors and models that are famous for being good looking. It’s weird and it makes me uncomfortable.
Harris has been elected Vice President of the United States and I can’t help but be very aware of her looks. It feels sexist, or at least un-feminist. What she looks like and her relative beauty have absolutely nothing to do with the position she holds. She’s intelligent, hard working, knowledgeable, articulate, and a whole bunch on top of that. She’s a real, three-dimensional, fully fledged human being. I know that. And I respect that. But every time I see her. . . wow.
I’ve been beating myself up about this for more than a year now. It’s wrong to objectify other people. I don’t even feel comfortable commenting on a partner’s looks until we’ve been dating for a couple of months. I don’t want to give the impression that looks are the reason we’re dating. Harris has been making great strides for equality. That’s what I should be focused on.
Lately, I’ve started wondering if I’m right to be beating myself up. It’s not like I can exactly help finding someone beautiful. And it’s not like I’m acting differently because of it. (I hate the old sit-com trope about men losing their minds when in the presence of an attractive woman. I see plenty of attractive people without losing my impulse control.) But, that’s not really what has me wondering. Am I maybe being sexist by thinking I shouldn’t find her attractive?
A little while ago, there was a bit of a stir when a shirtless picture of Barak Obama made its way to the internet. And Kennedy was known to be very good looking. Some say the reason George Bush picked Dan Quayle as his running mate was because Quayle was young and handsome. I don’t think people are concerned when someone finds a male politician attractive. Why should it be different for a female politician?
The problem is history. Women have been objectified for centuries. It’s not the same for men. When someone finds a man attractive, it’s taken for granted that there’s more to him than his looks. Women haven’t been so lucky. I very much want things to get better for women. I hate to think that my attitude could be contributing to maintaining the status quo.
I’ll probably remain conflicted for a while. I think the real problem is that it is still so rare to have women in high profile positions of power. It makes me sad that I don’t know exactly how to react. Hopefully, it won’t take long for it to be normal, for me and for everyone else.