Sunday, September 09, 2007

Advice for alpha-female Hilary Clinton

Frans de Waal, primate ethologist and author of “Our Inner Ape” (2006) decides to weigh in with some recommendations for Hilary Clinton in "Alpha Females I Have Known" (The Huffington Post, 06 Sep 2007). Its based on primate behaviour which may just be what it takes to unravel politics in Washington.

His sugggestions:

1. It'll only get better with age. So far, the typical alpha female is post-reproductive, e.g. Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel. Younger females will distract the process by arousing competition among males.

2. Since males respect power more than age and personality, lead a large coalition by promoting female solidarity. So the earlier point, being sexually non-threatening helps, and be a champion of female causes.

3. Dismiss any inclination to be extremely loyal to friends; reach out beyond the inner circle to build bridges and even groom rivals. Impartiality is tough but sorely needed since the men don't get it (a reference to Bush).

4. Don't listen to clueless designers - don;t emphasise attractiveness or femininity - that's a hat tip to sexual power which won't build a broad coalition (again point 1). Since you have high status, the men are turned off anyway.

Read "Alpha Females I Have Known."

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