That headline is not from The Onion. In her remarks to a group of conservative women who met last Friday to discuss the Republican response to the "war on women," Representative Renee Ellmers, NC-02, said that men need to bring things down to a woman's level so they don't risk turning us off with complicated data and charts.
Tone matters. How you speak to people matters.
One of the things that I will say and that I want – especially when we’re talking about people, so thank you all for being here – is that, we have a tendency to turn people off right away, depending on what’s being said. Some of that has nothing to do with what we say, it’s the perception – you know, perception becomes reality – and if there’s – if someone knows that you’re a Republican, if someone knows I’m a Republican, I many times don’t even really talk about that, I just start having the conversation.
And people, you know, especially young women, ‘You’re a Republican? I had no idea.” Why? Because of how – yeah – how we are painted. And so, they’re so surprised.
Women, by and large, agree with us on all of the issues. If you go through each issue, they agree. It’s how we are able to articulate ourselves – make sure that we’re getting the point across that we care, before we do anything else. That we relate to them, understand what every woman in this country is dealing with.
Especially moms, you know we balance so many different things, you know. Or school. Think about what many of you are doing, you know, you’re trying to maintain that job, you know, you’ve got to be moving up in your career. All these different things are coming in at the same time.
Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level. You know, one of the things that has always been one of my frustrations and I speak about this all the time – many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and, you know, how the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that.
But by starting off that discussion that way, we’ve already turned people away. Because it’s like ‘that doesn’t affect my life, I don’t understand how that affects my life.’
So one of the things that we have worked with, with our male colleagues – and I have seen a difference, I will tell you I’ve seen a difference – is to again, engaging individuals on their level. Talking about them on a personal level first. Making sure that when we speak to individuals, we’re coming from the perspective that we care about what’s happening in your life. We know that these things – that the agenda of the Obama administration, the Obama economy, has been hurting you and your family consistently. Obamacare is hurting your family.
And then starting to talk about the solutions. One of the things – and you heard this from all of my colleagues – women are wanting commonsense solutions. Stop the ‘no, no, no, we’re against, we’re against, we’re against.’ Tell us what you are for.
That’s what women want to hear. Tell us how you’re going to fix it.
The biggest need that women have is more time. We all want more time in our lives. More time in the morning to get ready. More time in the evening to spend time with our families. All of these things – more time to move up that career path. It’s about time. And we have to make sure that women understand that we understand that.
We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life – that’s the way to go.
Renee Ellmers may have the IQ of a box of rocks, but I think the rest of the female population can handle a few pie charts and bar graphs. Heck, I bet we can handle a little bit of math...maybe even science.
I know sitting in the House and listening to all those men talk about big complicated ideas can make a girl's head spin. Charts and graphs just make our eyes glaze over. Poor Renee. Let's save her from the agony of having to listen to all those men talk on a much higher level. Let's give her some more time to get ready in the morning. Let's see if we can't send Clay Aiken to Congress.