In this race there's a bit of gender role reversal when it comes to appearance and intelligence. Warren, the Harvard professor, doesn't seem overly concerned with the hair and make-up aspect of politics. while Brown has been celebrated for his good looks and is reportedly sensitive about being taken seriously by his Senate colleagues or any suggestion that he's a lightweight.
Voters who already like Scott Brown and plan to vote for him no doubt appreciated his pugnacity in the debate.
But a recent Boston Globe poll shows Warren with a slight lead in the race and 18 percent of voters undecided, almost all of whom plan to vote for Barack Obama. According to the poll, Obama has a 27 point lead in Massachusetts. Brown will have to convince these voters to split their ticket -- hence his emphasis on trying to portray himself as an independent voice in the Senate who can work with Democrats.
Probably Warren's most persuasive argument is that Brown could be a decisive vote in giving the Republicans a Senate majority. But at the same time he was touting his bipartisan record he was punching away at Warren as if he was in a boxing ring.
Warren more than kept her cool but did show amusement when Brown, asked to name his favorite Supreme Court justice, first named conservative icon Antonin Scalia. After negative reaction from the crowd, Brown recited a laundry list of what sounded like every justice he could think of, across the ideological spectrum.
Women in political debates are often in a no-win situation. They can't look passive, but if they fight back they are accused of being "unladylike," as GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin referred to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. Akin, who clearly has problems with women on many levels, also rather oddly referred to McCaskill as a "wildcat."
But it's not just a far-right conservative who doesn't seem to know how women get pregnant that is guilty of such sexism.
In 2002 when Mitt Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts he referred to his Democratic opponent Shannon O'Brien as "unbecoming" because she kept challenging the inconsistencies of his positions in a debate.
And Barack Obama's somewhat sarcastic retort to Hillary Clinton during a 2008 debate that she is "likeable enough" wasn't quite as bad but still illustrates the problem for women candidates.
Warren is the woman trying to break the streak of female candidates not being able to get elected to the governor's office or to the U.S. Senate from overwhelmingly Democratic, liberal Massachusetts. In its entire history, the state has only elected four women to Congress.
Far more conservative states like North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas, Texas, and Arizona have elected women from both parties as governor. New Hampshire and Maine both currently have two women senators -- only one of whom is a Democrat.