Kamala Harris Spoke Volumes Last Night Even When She Wasn’t Saying A Word

It was clear who won the vice presidential debate last night: Senator Kamala Harris, who skillfully guided us through the Trump administration's failures, from the abusive treatment of COVID-19 to the billion dollar tax bill, to Trump's refusal to denounce white supremacy . But in second place? Harris' extremely relatable facial expressions that helped us survive the whole ordeal. (We'll refer to the fly that landed on Vice President Mike Pence's head as just under third.)
As Pence told bold lies, Trump will go from "Joe Biden's tax hike" to "hearing the science about climate change" and making outrageous statements that it was Harris and Biden who "played politics" with people's lives, "showed the split screen often, as Harris made an expression of disbelief that many of us recognize from other times when interacting with powerful, double men like Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She also blinked as if in disbelief, laughed and smiled when it was all too outrageous, squeezing out an omniscient sidelong eye and putting a couple of well-placed The Office-esque ones, staring straight at the camera looks.
As a woman and as a black woman, Harris has to walk a fine line to avoid being classified as too aggressive or "angry" - and she knows it. However, unlike Pence's "rockiness," her emotion felt authentic and effective, Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, told Refinery29. While Harris was showing emotional reach, Pence "rushed" through the story of Breonna Taylor, who received no justice after being killed by the police, only showing real emotions regarding "riot and looting". He seemed far more angry at the destruction of property than at the loss of life. “His voice got louder and stronger and he was moving forward. It was the greatest emotion he has shown in the debate so far, ”said Wood.
Wood analyzed some of Harris' most common facial expressions for us.
The squint: "The eye opening naturally narrows when we don't like what we see. So this is a natural reaction to both Pence's deception and his rule violation, which continues over time and interrupts her."
The side eye: “The side eye is something women do more than men. Because women traditionally have less power, they may not be able to resolve conflict directly through attack. Instead, they enter indirectly from the side. People are punished for being garish, but rarely for being sidelong. "
The inimitable expression of disbelief (which could include a sidelong eye and / or a squint): “This is something Harris has been doing for a long time. It's a basic behavior that often involves smiling, shaking your head, and tilting your head. It works for her especially as a woman who has to fight the stereotype that women shouldn't get angry. I've seen men scream and scream, hit their fists on the table, and even cry with her in Congressional hearings, and she will use this technique on them. Her response to her is exactly what we saw tonight: a calm, reserved manner - and it works because it makes the other person look ridiculous. It also shows their sense of humor and can make others laugh at pence. "
The "I speak" smile (which sometimes turns into laughter): "I said in my interviews before the debate to take care of your smile." It's fascinating that she reacts to Pence with a smile when he gives wrong information. Smiling in disbelief and shaking her head is the gentlest way for them to respond. To those viewers who expected her to look angry, she's calm. It's also noteworthy that Pence rarely smiles. "
The hand clasp: "It's a" modified steeple "[with your hands]. It doesn't have the more aggressive little pointed tip of the" church. "It's a way of showing power and control over your opponent. Most of the time you see people who hold the steeple low, but here she holds it higher - she shows her strength in a reserved, professional manner. "
Do you like what you see? How about a little more R29 grade, right here?
"I Speak": How Kamala Harris won the debate
Why it matters that Kamala never changed her name
The fly on Pence's head should be tested as soon as possible
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