THE BLOG

Martha and Scott: A Gender Blender in the New Internet Order

03/21/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What happened Martha? You were so close. Who could ever have imagined that you weren't going to casually waltz into Teddy's seat for the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts? We can't help but wonder: would everything have been different if you had posed nude for Playboy in your youth?

We bring this up only because, just like you were the last woman in Massachusetts to know that Curt Schilling played for the Red Sox, we were the last to see Scott's sexy Cosmo-in-the-buff-pix.

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We have become serious Facebook stalkers, fascinated by its power ever since the fan page for our new book exploded from 500 nearly a month ago to nearly 30,000 today. We've been following Scott Brown's relentless status updates and tweets driving the voters of the great Commonwealth to meet and greet him in the flesh.

Anyway, it was during our stalking that we found Scott's photo spread right there in all its attractive glory on his Fan page. (If Martha had posed for Playboy, and if she did have a robust fan page, we wonder: what would have happened had she posted her pix?)

And that is the problem. Why didn't Martha have a robust fan page? Where was her noisy twitter campaign? The power of the Internet to create community, stimulate demand and drive action was proved by the Obama campaign. Why did the Coakley camp completely miss this line of action?

Bring on the finger pointing, the Democratic soul searching, Republican rejoicing. We wonder--could something besides anger, frustration, job loss, and healthy care rebellion be going on here? How is it possible that Massachusetts, despite its liberal legacy, cannot find a way to elect a woman?

Gender bending in politics and business is nothing new. It's no easy feat for a woman to make it to the top in either arena. It's a paradox inside a paradox. Women who want to compete in politics and business often find the need to 'out man' the men, to hide the softer side: warmth, kindness, vulnerability. Voters want candidates whom they imagine would join them for tea, who are "real," down-to-earth. Yet paradoxically, a woman who shows too much vulnerability or warmth isn't seen as being up for the job (unless of course she packs a gun and skins her own kill).

Brown trotted out his kids (including the American Idol runner-up local celeb Ayla), he drove around in an old truck, wore a zippered jacket. He bared more than his flesh-- he bared his humanity. In the end, Martha Coakley never was able to peddle the relatability and warmth that Scott Brown mustered for his campaign.

The other paradox of our times played out in this election: the loneliness and alienation of an ever-connected but isolated world. The huge growth of social networking is fueled by this desire to connect. But the Democratic candidate missed the point online and in person--she failed to realize that voters want to reach out and touch someone..