Maerose Prizzi for president?

Anjelica Huston is the latest leading lady to play an American president.


Rebecca Traister
April 10, 2006 1:10PM (UTC)

This is a small matter, but I couldn't help but notice an interview this weekend with one of my favorite actors, Anjelica Huston, about her role as president of the United States in the CBS mini-series "Robert Ludlum's Covert One: The Hades Factor." The Oscar-winning Huston, 54, told the New York Post's "TV Week" section, "I have this sort of little hope that the idea of seeing a woman in the White House [on TV] will enter the minds of the American people."

Huston has expanded on this idea elsewhere, explaing that she admires Geena Davis's work in "Commander in Chief" and believes that "these things can influence people." In terms of her performance as president, Huston has said, "one of the more important things was not to defeminize her. There's a sort of public perception that if a woman is feminine, she isn't strong, but that's not true. There are many examples of women who are able to conduct their business in such a way that it's not a strident thing. It comes naturally to them -- Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Hilary Clinton, Angela Merkel. Look back on Margaret Thatcher, a very steely personality, but at the same time, I don't think anyone spoke in more mellifluous tones. She never sacrificed her femininity, and I believe it was to her advantage, actually."

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This is all very interesting, and I have in the past been persuaded that by making fictional female presidents visible on the airwaves, we create a willingness to consider them in real life. But today I'm feeling pretty down, and so this is what I think: years of watching Martin Sheen make his classy way around the West Wing did not trick us into digging up and electing an articulate, left-leaning, curious, erudite leader last time around.


Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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