Columns 2007

The babe factor

Ah yes, the “babe” factor.  Our governor has it and yours doesn’t.  Our governor has it to such a degree that even Barack Obama could stand to take a few lessons from her.  Anyone doubting the power of the babe factor need only look at her approval ratings.  More than three months into her administration and her numbers hover in the 70% favorable.  Now that’s a babe factor and a half.

There are some who might argue that Palin has those huge numbers as a direct result of the unbelievably low numbers registered by our former head of state – a kind of rebound effect.  We disliked him so much by the end of his administration that we simply have to like her just to prove to ourselves we can like the person we elected.

Some might argue that she generates those numbers because she is a fresh new face that doesn’t travel with a posse and still looks like the person who could be standing in line next to you at the grocery check out stand sneaking a look at the latest pics from Anna Nicole’s funeral in some gossip rag no one ever actually admits to buying.

But the truth is, despite this being 2007, despite all the years of women’s lib, despite all the fights to be taken on an equal footing with men, to be respected for what is in our heads and hearts and not for the shape of what covers them, women still possess that one great advantage.  Most men can’t resist a babe. And once we, as women, get over viewing that as insulting, we might be able to see just how easily we can turn it to our advantage.

Listen…can you hear it? That’s the sound of thousands of women screaming in horror at that last sentence. To all of them I say, with all due respect, get over it.  Babes have always had the advantage and babes, if they have an ounce of brains to go with their looks and body, will use that advantage every chance they get.  If men fall for it, that’s their problem.

I can still hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me, as I entered the dating years, to keep my mouth shut and not let on how smart I was because men didn’t like smart women.  Apparently, it was my duty as a woman to let men think they were brighter and better than me because their self-esteem related directly to how much they would like me.  As anyone who knows me will tell you, I failed miserably in that womanly duty.

I never could play the cute young thing very well. I didn’t improve when it was time to be the pretty young lady. And I certainly blew it completely as a flirtatious adult female.  Those of us who never could be the babe sometimes resented those for whom babedom came so easily.  But now I have to wonder.  Was mother right all along? Should women take advantage wherever they can find it? Because playing dumb and flattering a man into thinking he is smarter and better is nothing more than taking advantage of the sometimes frail male ego, isn’t it?

I’m not saying this is what our governor is doing.  On the other hand, if her dazzling smile and beauty queen looks gets her agenda passed because it blinds some male legislators, then who’s to say she is wrong to use that.  Isn’t that a male problem more than a female problem? And I feel safe in saying a man would use it to his advantage if he could without a second thought.

We’ve had male governors who came close to the babe factor. Tony Knowles, despite his puzzling hair style choice, was somewhat of a babe. Steve Cowper certainly had that going for him.  And Jay Hammond…well, he was the ultimate male babe, every woman’s dream of the tough, tender, real Alaska man. The problem was that these male babes were, for the most part, dealing with all male legislatures that were seemingly resistant to their physical charms and attributes.

I don’t agree with Sarah Palin on a lot of her positions. Being a female, I am not blinded by her babe factor into ignoring our differences.  But for every male who is, I say more power to her.  Pour it on, Governor.  Take every advantage you can.  Vanquish your enemies with your dazzling looks, great body and astounding mind. 

If men still fall for that in this millennium, then they deserve what they get.  Eyes up, gentlemen. A woman’s brains are in her head. You ignore this fact at your own peril.