In the final presidential debate, Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton “a nasty woman.” The comment was made after heated exchanges on a variety of topics. Secretary Clinton was forceful and fearless throughout the debate. She didn’t appear cowed; she never backed down. In fact, the consensus was that she won the debate, the third in a row that she has won.
What is the definition of “nasty?” What makes someone “nasty?” Clinton was talking about Medicare and Social Security when Trump tried to discount her and her ideas with that label. In a previous debate, Trump called Clinton “a devil.” Are these taunts useful? Is the tactic effective?
The main question is, are strong women “nasty?” Do they have to be nasty to be strong? Are women who speak forcefully “nasty?” Are women who act like men “nasty?”
We know that there are some documented differences in the leadership style of men and women. Generally, woman emphasize cooperation over competition, use intuition as well as rational thinking in problem solving, encourage teamwork and participative decision making, and have interpersonal competence.
These characteristics of the feminine leadership style are not mandated or set in stone. They don’t preclude strength, aggressiveness, directness, or even anger.
People seem surprised when a woman uses a more masculine style of leadership — when she acts more like a man. I think we should be surprised when a grown man acts more like a child and resorts to name calling to try and undermine his opponent.