Just having written about Nancy Pelosi and read the latest NY Times piece on Elizabeth Warren, I’m struck by how very far the second sex has come since we started agitating again in the 60s. Yes, I know. Much still remains to be done. But seeing how Nancy Pelosi, acclaimed by colleagues, pundits and opponents as “arguably the most powerful woman in American history,” draws upon and even emphasizes her femininity to wage her extraordinary power is nothing short of amazing. Not only does she not feel obliged to deny who she is by emulating men, she makes frequent reference to her children and grandchildren and what she’s learned from being a mother.
Elizabeth Warren is cut from a different cloth, but like Pelosi, she is driven by a “feminine” desire to help people and alleviate their suffering. In Warren’s case, she has witnessed at first hand the vulnerability of people crippled by foreclosure and debt.
I’m not saying that either of these women is motivated exclusively by altruism, especially not Pelosi, but neither are they striving for the pinnacle just for the sake of being king of the mountain, the guy with the most toys, as so many alpha males do, elbowing past their rivals. They collaborate with men by treating them as fellow human beings with similar needs, and that’s what earns their respect.