Saturday, September 16, 2017

Pandas and Curiosity about Women


Hilary Clinton's new book, What Happened, includes many insights into her campaign for president and its results.  Tucked into it, you'll also find information about what she was asked most frequently when on the political trail: what she had for breakfast, what she likes to read when relaxing, how she feels about Bill Clinton, what color and styles she likes and why. 

Rachel Maddow, in interviewing Hilary Clinton, found it fascinating that these personal details were the most frequently asked about.  Hilary
Clinton said she had once worried about this trend, but she had discussed it with others and finally concluded that the way people watch pandas is similar.  Pandas are exotic and rare but they don't do much, yet people spend hours watching them at zoos and in the wild.  Somehow, despite their repetitive and somewhat boring doings, people expect that they may do anything, and they try to be there to see it.  She thinks now that the personal inquisition she gets is similar.  Women running for president are rara avis beings, and people want to watch to see if they'll do something surprising and different.

Difference is interesting.  As writers we know that and use it in our writing.  There is a lot of emphasis in writing books on conflict as the basis of story.  I like the somewhat newer idea that a story needs conflict but it relies on building or breaking down relationships for the emotional power of the story.  The panda effect is an attempt at connection.  I did wonder why women but not men are asked these questions, but the focus on the unusual, with an anticipation of a coming surprise, makes a lot of sense to me.

Anyone have experiences or ideas about the panda effect?



Unknown said...

I have just finished reading your memoir and will write a review for you! Love this blog - You know the challenges Hillary faced - mostly from white women! Thanks for the blog.

Lorelei said...

Dear Lois,

So glad you read the memoir and plan to write a review. Much appreciated! Hilary's overt challenges were indeed from women but a lot of the under cover challenges were from men, including Russians!