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Hillary and Misogyny

May 15, 2008

Marie Cocco has written an essay, called Misogyny I Won’t Miss.(HT to Ann+ for pointing out the essay!) The essay echoes some things I was reading in a Salon article a few weeks ago about Hillary Clinton and blatant misogyny.

I don’t like Hillary. I have a visceral dislike toward her.

This frustrates me. I consider myself to be a feminist – Clinton is a woman, and she’s running for president, and I want to be able to back her campaign. But I can’t. (ETA: In the comments below, Tandaina does make the very good point that Hillary is riding Bill’s coattails, and that real feminists don’t vote for women, just because. Which is, of course, TRUE.  Klady points out that part of the issue is that Hillary is a SUCKY politician, in general..which is also TRUE.)

She’s too much of slick, self-promoting politican for my taste.

But what exactly, am I expecting of ANYONE who would run for president? Like Obama ISN’T a slick, self-promoting politician? Like McCain isn’t? Like ANY of the other men who had their hat in the ring at the start of the primaries weren’t?

So, why exactly is it that I dislike Hillary so? Because she behaves like a man? like a politician? Because she has learned how to play the big boy’s game and isn’t afraid to do so?

And what about all the sexist side swipes being taken at her? The Hillary Nutcracker? The “Bros before Hos” t-shirts. Comparing her to the psycho Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction, or you know, this lovely quote from DumbAss -erm, I mean FoxNews’ William Kristol, “White women are a problem, that’s — you know, we all live with that”

We have a problem, alright. We are living with it, alright. It’s further proof that sexism is alive and well.

And stay tuned…because, when Clinton finally bows out, and the race heats up between McCain and Obama, you can bet racism will show it’s ugly face to the party, too. Because red-neck America is waiting.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2008 4:10 pm

    No, what I don’t like about Hillary is she got where she did by riding her husband’s coat tails. She was elected senator based on his history and the only reason she’s a viable candidate now is because of his history. If her last name weren’t Clinton, if she weren’t married to a former president her past record would have gotten her to neither of those two places. She was a failure as an attorney, and her biggest accomplishment has been (perhaps, based on what you believe) being the power behind a president.

    It is EXACTLY the feminist in me who dislikes her. I want a woman president. But I want that woman to be like our own PB who was elected because of who she was, not who she was married to. I’d our first woman president to get there on her own merit as her sisters in Great Britain, Germany, Sweden (Or is it Finland), etc have done.

  2. May 15, 2008 4:20 pm

    Yes, as you know, this has bothered me all along. But if one is going to be a true feminist, that means being will to oppose a woman the same one would a man. Right?

    I’m not sure it even bothers me even more that she is slick. Or maybe I wouldn’t use that word. She not only panders, but she is so BAD at it. I’m not sure what’s the line between trying to attract a majority of voters and substantial campaign funds and “selling out” or being tied to “special interest” (i.e. those with cash) groups. Not sure it is possible to get elected anywhere and be pure. But Hillary has long been pretty tone-deaf. Yes, she tries the old political schmooze and she’s gotten more comfortable with it, but it’s always like some kind of fake strip-tease. She’s just not the populist has been trained to try to sound like.

    Anyway, if I read correctly (and who knows what is accurate or not), the other day she said something about Obama not drawing support from “hardworking” “white” people, or something to that effect. Now, she may well have been partly quoted out of context, but why on earth would she be STUPID enough to use the word “white” in a public statement? Set aside the issue of whether she or her handlers are racist and just consider how such a remark could really serve her well in the long-run? What kind of vision does she really have for the Democratic party and the nation as a whole? Yes, everyone gets dirty in politics, but she has been consumed by the muck. Makes it darned difficult to turn around and criticize her attackers, even if they’re slinging the worst misogynist mud themselves.

    Unfortunately, while I am truly celebrating the California court decision, I predict we’re going to see the gay thing now enter presidential politics and, even if the biggest ruckus is in California, a lot of misogyny to go with it, no matter who stands up in support of the decision. I don’t have much stomach for it, but the SF crowd is already howling about the horrors of what will happen to all the poor children in California who will be doomed to having two mommies “just because” their moms find men disgusting. Those poor, poor little boys without any big macho daddy figures. [insert expletives of choice]

    it’s all the fault of those quazy wimmin (and those wimmin-like men) you know.

    Lord have mercy.

  3. episcopalifem permalink*
    May 15, 2008 4:40 pm

    Tandaina – I agree, with you regarding her riding in on Bill’s coattail. It is irksome. Plus, the whole feeling, that her entire life has been staged for this moment, including putting up with her husband claiming he didn’t have sex with Monica Lewinski (Well..the same thing was argued between college students in the movie Clerks, right?)

    What bugs me, though, is that most women have been pretty quiet about the misogyny, because, they don’t like Hillary, and so, they don’t know what to do with the commentary.

    Ok..so you don’t like Hillary! Should that make Bros before Hos tshirt ok? Should it be ok for Chris Matthews to spout off his dumbass mouth about her being a she-devil or a bitch? So, in our female psyche, do we accept the misogyny, even IF the woman in question isn’t easily liked? To me, its beside the point. NO woman deserves to be treated like that in public. We should have a ZERO tolerance toward that kind of behavior. PERIOD. The End.

    And yet, women, me included, stand around scratching our heads, because, we’re like…”Well…I don’t really like her either.”

    Maybe that’s what I’m reacting to? Because, if it’s ok to call a woman I don’t like a bitch, or to turn the other cheek when it happens…

    It just makes me feel not so good.

  4. May 15, 2008 4:40 pm

    I thought feminism was about equity and equality. The fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman shouldn’t matter. As feminists we shouldn’t want “the woman” to be elected, we should want the person who will do the most for women. That is by no means necessarily the woman (think Germany’s Angela Merkel).

    I don’t believe that Hillary Clinton is the most appropriate/best candidate for the presidency- and that has nothing to do with her sex/gender. I actually find people who are voting for her because she is a woman to be counter productive to the feminist movement.

    If you agree with her policy and previous record vote for her, if you agree with someone else more, vote for them.

    As a feminist voting for someone BECAUSE of his or her gender is just as counter-productive as not voting for them because of it (with the possible exception of two candidates being completely equal)

    FWIW,
    allie

  5. episcopalifem permalink*
    May 15, 2008 4:59 pm

    I just wonder how many people out there aren’t really aware of her voting record or her politics, and yet still hate her. Because she’s a bitch..she’s a she-devil..she’s a Nutcracker….Buying into the misogynist rhetoric. As a feminist, that grieves me. Tremendously.

    That’s the part of I’m really reacting to here, because you are right, Aliie, you must vote for the best candidate, the one who will do the most for women, regardless of their gender. That is very true.

    I haven’t seen a “best” candidate yet – to me, they are all the same person with different color bows on top. That includes across party lines.

    I’m just MORE afraid of McCain, than I am of Obama. That doesn’t mean I’m not afraid. Between Obama and Clinton, I’m not terribly sure, but, I strongly DISLIKE Clinton, and maybe for not totally political reasons….

    That just disturbs me..but, of course, that could just be me.

  6. May 15, 2008 5:32 pm

    I was not particularly posting that in favor of Obama… I tended towards Edwards and McKinney. But I do agree that I am less afraid of Obama than McCain – Obama isn’t talking about bombing Iran. On the flip side he has gotten more campeign contributions from nuclear related corporations than any other candidate in history.

    Clinton’s political and professional history also frightens me more than a bit.

  7. May 16, 2008 10:50 am

    The point for me is the all out hatred that is not based in anything but misogyny and our reluctance to name that as a big problem because Hillary is not attractive. I agree Eileen – it is bad.

  8. May 16, 2008 12:07 pm

    The reluctance to condemn the vicious and pervasive misogynism in this campaign because the female candidate isn’t in any way ideal or perfect–why, she’s no better than the male candidates!–has made this election year very difficult to watch. Though I rank the candidates slightly differently, there’s still the conflict of needing more women at every level, and not wanting to vote for the one selected by the process.

    The postwar Republican Triumph made it impossible for me to vote for their presidential candidates, and, only once to my memory, at any other level. (It was 1966, and the Democratic nominee was openly racist). As to the Democrats, they have used this to indulge in dull and meaningless candidates over and again: dumb and dumber.

    I also think the wider political context–other officials and pundits, policy, the history of government action for the last seventy years or so–makes this unlikely to change. I do not believe an candidate who even began to approach what I think to be sensible policies, even in only a few major areas, could govern effectively even if elected.

  9. May 16, 2008 12:27 pm

    Just as long as we don’t pull political punches because we are afraid of being labeled a racist, misogynist, or “agist.” There are many reasons to not vote for all three current candidates, and they don’t include race, gender or age.

  10. susankay permalink
    May 16, 2008 5:27 pm

    For sure: Hillary wouldn’t be Senator or running for President if it weren’t for Bill. JFK wouldn’t have been President if Daddy Joe hadn’t pulled a lot of strings. Bobby wouldn’t have been Attorney Gerneral or Senator if it weren’t for JFK. Teddy wouldn’t be Senator if it weren’t for all of them. GHWBush wouldn’t have been US Rep, VP and President if it weren’t for his father, Senator Prescott Bush — and we know that Jeb and W didn’t make it on their own. And our here in the West we have the Udalls. — lots and lots of Udalls. Mitt Romney’s daddy paved the way for Mitt. Sons and brothers have ridden coattails for centuries (John and John Quincy Adams, anyone). I don’t think it is a betrayal of feminism for a woman to do so. I’d rather family ties were not so important in politics but as long as it goes on, I don’t see why women have to be so extra pure as to not take what advantages thay can get. Do you think we should disavow Nancy Pelosi because her father was mayor of Baltimore and a Congressman? Oh — and I am inclined to Obama.

  11. May 17, 2008 3:07 pm

    This is not about HIllary — it is about hatred of women -you don’t have to vote or support her — but people need to say – this is wrong and evil – just like the lynching comments were wrong and evil. Here is another commentary on the subject.

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