Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks - Body Politics: The Obama-Clinton Relationship, Pt. 1

An interesting post by Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks on the body language expressed between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. This is part of an on-going series of posts they have done at Huffington Post on body language and politicians.

Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks

Posted December 2, 2008 | 02:45 PM (EST)

Body Politics: The Obama-Clinton Relationship, Pt. 1 (PHOTOS)

One of the striking features of the relationship between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama is how much they touch each other. As can be seen in the accompanying pictures, they touch each other in a number of different ways that are typical in ordinary day-to-day communication but not so typical on the political stage.

What does it mean? And is it a good thing?

One thing it means is that they both are comfortable with touch as a means of expression. The Obama/Clinton relationship is full of friendly touch. By contrast, imagine Richard Nixon giving a friendly squeeze to his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Indeed, if you look at pictures of Hilary and Bill together during the past year, there's much more touch visible in Hilary's relationship with Obama than in her relationship with her husband.

Hilary also allows her face to be much more relaxed and vulnerable with Obama than in other situations she's been in lately. Those who know Hilary Clinton often speak of her inner sweetness, humor and openness. These are qualities that often do not come through in the "public" Hilary. In the accompanying pictures, note the play of open expressions on her face. It's very refreshing to see her bringing forth this side of her personality. She will need to stay in touch with that aspect of herself as she travels the world.

There's a bigger lesson we can learn from watching the ease with which Obama and Clinton make touch contact with each other. Touch has become a controversial issue in nearly every area of life. While there are good reasons for scrutinizing the role of touch in the workplace, the classroom and other places where it can be laden with hidden motives, the resulting touch-phobia that pervades current society has taken something natural and deeply human out of life. By showing two people at ease with touch, Barack and Hilary give us permission again to find easygoing and appropriate ways to touch each other in public.

In an upcoming post, we'll look at an important bit of body language we see in their faces. It holds a key to handling potential conflict between Hilary and Barack.

Interesting. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

It's easy to speculate about negative sentiment that's still there from when they had to campaign against each other.They seem to be friends here. Great marketing strategy.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that her facial expressions were softer and more open, vulnerable.