Three Coins in a Fountain

I was wondering this morning after last night’s Presidential Debate if the winsome office-girl image from the 1954 movie, Three Coins in a Fountain is still influencing the ideals of the boomer generation today?

Three Coins in A Fountain

Three Coins in a Fountain, 1954

Prior to the debate last night, a South Carolina internet news outlet pronounced the three things Hillary had to get right:

  • Tell voters why they should vote for her
  • Appear trustworthy
  • Show some warmth

As for Donald, he must:

  • Appear Presidential
  • Press the case that he’s in charge
  • Inform everyone that things are bad

Can we imagine Hillary’s list being swapped out for Donald’s, or vise versa? Meaning, would we ever ask a male candidate to ‘show some warmth’ and ‘appear trustworthy’? After all, Trump’s speech from a week prior was tabulated to reveal a mistruth delivered every three minutes, five seconds according to fact-checkers from several news sources.

A commentator from the 1950’s could have offered the following testimony as a debate recap: “Trump came out head strong, interrupting Hillary forty times to her seventeen, while Hillary donned a cheery red suit, a brightened blonde ‘do, and smiled pleasingly to finesse Donald’s commanding reproach.”

In Gail Evan’s seminal book on gender and leadership Play Like A Man, Win Like A Woman, women play the game so that everyone has a chance to play and win. Men play the game to win. So what does that look like for political, corporate, and educational systems? Role-playing must then become necessary to leverage power at the top.

But how do we characterize a role?

  • A part that someone has been assigned to play
  • A set of duties with high expectation of adherence to rules and values
  • A pre-defined specific set of skills typically prone to gender stereotypes
  • Hierarchical

The gender identity in role-playing then fits into the overall scheme of the hierarchical organization.

Today, many enterprising businesses set out to solve a problem, add value, and enhance lifestyle or personal interests. This collaborative emphasis tends toward a more feminine ‘everyone gets a chance to play and win’ functional approach.

How then do we characterize function?

  • To work or operate in a way that is natural or innate; purpose
  • To provide a service to foster the success of the project or company
  • A large promotional or celebratory event
  • Non-hierarchical

The assignment of meaning on this is open to interpretation. But it may explain why a 2012 U.S. census bureau survey on small business reports “women own 36% of all new businesses,” up 30% from 2007, and Forbes declares in 2016 that the “Golden Age for women entrepreneurs has begun.”

–Playing the game functionally so everyone has an opportunity to win just might be the defining attribute of the infrastructure of the future.

“Judy, it’s Betty, please tell Mr. Busby that I’ll be punching out. I just had a marvelous idea for a widget of my own. –You say it’s about time, do you? …Well don’t I know it, girl!”


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