Todd Akin, the Republican representative from Missouri, has an interesting relationship with his sexism. He just can't stop picking at it, the way a teenager picks at a zit. As background, he's the guy who told us that women's bodies have a way of shutting down the whole conceiving business in the case of rape.
Now he has criticized his opponent in the Senate race, Claire MCCaskill, for being insufficiently ladylike:
“I think we have a very clear path to victory, and, apparently, Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin told the Kansas City Star on Thursday. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike [in 2006], but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”
Akin might well be the choice of Missouri voters, which makes me weep a little, in a very ladylike fashion.
Never mind. The more important point is that the "traditional" gender norms really make it hard for a woman in politics. If she is ladylike and demure she comes across as weak. If she "comes out swinging" she is emotional. There's always a way to criticize her performance.