Comments like, “If you look hard enough for sexism, you’ll find it” or that any sense that the media critiques of Clinton are infused with sexist undertones are mere propaganda, abound in the comments section here and at MOMocrats.
I didn’t start out being a Hillary supporter, but ended up being one after John Edwards dropped out of the race. I suppose some people think my opinions on the gender discussion are because I support “the woman” candidate and I’m upset about any attacks on her. It’s not the case — I’m a feminist from way back. But trying to convince people otherwise has been a futile act.
So for the naysayers, I wanted to link to this piece by Jessica Wakeman at The Huffington Post, On Sexist Media Coverage of Hillary Clinton. Jessica, a supporter of Barack Obama, attended an event at The Paley Center for Media in New York (I am so bummed I missed it!), where the discussion, “From Bella to Hillary: Women, Media and Politics” was a lively one.
There is no absence of “sexist male punditry” in the media today. But a lot of people don’t want to see it, because if they do, they’d have to take some responsibility.
This isn’t just about Hillary. This is about the rest of us, too. This is about any women who want to have a voice in the political conversation and a place at the table. Because if the media can get us to believe that we don’t have to take Clinton seriously because she’s a shrew and the word that rhymes with “witch” or that she should be taken into a room and beaten up so Obama can get on with the race, they won’t have to pay attention to any of us down the road.
Wakeman writes in her post:
Most of the panelists seemed to be saying that if more women were in positions of power — mayors, senators, representatives, presidents, heads of media companies, TV pundits, op-ed columnists, radio show hosts — then the discourse would de-frat boy, bullying of females and ridicule of serious issues would cease and sexist commentary would be met with shock and embarrassment, rather than naughty smiles. That may or may not be true, but I’m inclined to believe it is mostly true. I can’t be the only one having those frustrating conversations where I feel protective of Hillary Clinton.
Pretending that the ongoing and relentless negative comments made about Hillary are only specific to her and that they don’t negatively impact other women – or our daughters – is naive at best. Those of us who have lived that brand of gender discrimination know it and understand that it will continue if we fail to put a name on it or to talk about it.
Some of it may be more subtle than it was when married women reporters (read: me) got paid less than their male counterparts because there was a husband’s salary in the picture, but it’s still there and the Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermanns of the world don’t seem to
care. Sometimes it may not be as blatant as using the words we hope noone will ever say to our daughters. But it’s there.
Even some non-Hillary supporters see it.
Cross-posted from MOMocrats.