Why Do So Many Politicians Point With Their Thumbs For Emphasis?

Anyone have any idea which politician started this practice? Is it relatively new? Or has it been around for ages?


Do they? I hadn’t really noticed.

Just a wild guess, but possibly it’s something they’re trained to do by their PR consultants. Perhaps its considered less confrontational/rude than pointing with a finger. I remember seeing a documentary ages ago which mentioned that from Thatcher onwards a lot of British politicians went to classes on what gestures to make when giving speeches etc.

Pointing with a single finger is considered a “weak” gesture. I’ve noticed public speakers using a doubled-fingered point instead. I’ve not noticed the thumb thing, does GW do it?

Is it because using a thumb to point means you can simultaneously make a fist? You are signaling purpose and direction (the pointing) and strength (the fist).

Of course, the whole pointing thing is riddled with phallic symbolism. :slight_smile:

I deny the premise. Please demonstrate that more than oh… a half-dozen politicans do this regularly.

I read an article several years ago that said this was the reason. Pointing the pointer finger at the crowd is interpreted as confrontational/aggressive/rude so they point with thumbs which give emphasis without turning off the crowd.

I read the same thing Zoff did I guess. Pointing is confrontational;pure fist is aggressive; thumb pointing is tempered assertiveness and optimism.