Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You Don't Have to Support Hillary to Deplore the Sexism That Brought Her Down

Commenters on this blog have frequently made the claim that there was no anti-woman bias in the Democratic primary. I have provided plenty of evidence of it in the past, but here's some more material I happened upon today.

This video was put out by the Women's Media Center:

In addressing the issue of misogyny in the campaign, WMC President Carol Jenkins wrote this, in part: "Networks - in the year 2008 - still cannot seem to find women to anchor serious political programs. That every lead anchor for every network’s campaign coverage is a white male, suggests the work of inclusion is not being done. That every Sunday morning talk show—where what is news is decided—is hosted by men; that every late night show that gives us clever interpretation of the news is hosted by men; and where women behind the scenes still seldom hold veto power over blatant sexist behavior— it means that we have a media that is dysfunctional."

Here's a really good summary of one woman's reaction to the campaign: Misogyny I Won't Miss by Marie Cocco. It concludes, "There are many reasons Clinton is losing the nomination contest, some having to do with her strategic mistakes, others with the groundswell for "change." But for all Clinton's political blemishes, the darker stain that has been exposed is the hatred of women that is accepted as a part of our culture."

And a perspective from Andrew Stephens in the New Statesman: Hating Hillary: "History, I suspect, will look back on the past six months as an example of America going through one of its collectively deranged episodes - rather like Prohibition from 1920-33, or McCarthyism some 30 years later. This time it is gloating, unshackled sexism of the ugliest kind. It has been shamelessly peddled by the US media. ...The danger is that, in their headlong rush to stop the first major female candidate (aka "Hildebeast" and "Hitlery") from becoming president, the punditocracy may have landed the Democrats with perhaps the least qualified presidential nominee ever. But that creeping realisation has probably come too late, and many of the Democratic super-delegates now fear there would be widespread outrage and increased racial tension if they thwart the first biracial presidential hopeful in US history."

Obama supporters like to make the argument that misogyny doesn't matter because Obama has faced racism. To this I say:

(1) Obama has faced nothing like the overt female hatred that Hillary has faced. Find me one example of racism to rival the many examples of misogyny in the video above. And that video is really just the tip of the iceberg. Try reading the comments in any Huffington Post (or Washington Post) article about the campaign.
(2) It is illogical to dismiss a problem by citing the existence of another problem.

Want more proof? Try this video or this video or this one.

So when Paul Krugman says, as I quoted yesterday, that "many grass-roots Clinton supporters feel that she has received unfair, even grotesque treatment. And the lingering bitterness from the primary campaign could cost Mr. Obama the White House," Krugman is saying something serious. The campaign is over. Obama won. But we're left with a fractured and unhappy party heading into the general election. It isn't helping Obama's chances for his supporters to continue with the hate.



KC said...

"You Don't Have to Support Hillary to Deplore the Sexism That Brought Her Down"

You're right. I do deplore sexism including the sexism that Clinton has faced. I just dont agree that it is what brought her down. Gender preference has also assisted her. In fact Clinton's support from women who want to see a woman president is one of the only reasons she is still in this.

It was the fact that she was the less desirable candidate in many respects--ie a lack of vision, Wa ashington insider, not particularly inspirational.

And just because someone really dislikes Clinton doesnt mean they do so because of her gender. She is a dirty politician who speaks out of both sides of her mouth, is unrelenting in her spin, and is a divisive figure vis-a-vis the Republicans. Her race baiting in this campaign also leaves a bad taste. She turns me off much in the same way that other caustic political figures who will do anything and say anything to win have.

"(1) Obama has faced nothing like the overt female hatred that Hillary has faced."

Oh no? What about the 17% of West Virginians who voted against Obama because he was black (and those were just the ones who admit it)? What about the constant harping away at that fact that he is black in the media to the point that he has almost become the "black candidate" despite making every effort to avoid it? As I've said before a white politician with a pastor who said controversial things would not have to wear that half as much as Obama has had to wear the Rev. Wright scenario. And the whole "hes a muslim" thing is totally linked to his skin colour. That accusation would never fly otherwise.

"(2) It is illogical to dismiss a problem by citing the existence of another problem."

No its not but is evidence against the proposition that sexism "brought her down". The sexism against Clinton was balanced out by the racism against Obama. In terms of the actual voting decisions of individuals the latter is actually quite a bit more stark. There have only ever been two black US Senators. I think that says something about the role race plays in peoples voting decisions.

KC said...

I forgot to mention, the fact that people have tried to push her out is NOT proof of rampant sexism as has been suggested. There are lots of reasons why people tried to push her out. Many people saw the fact that the Republicans wrapped things up quickly and were worried about months of inter-party warfare. Others saw the insurmountable math early--partly because a lot of people (not including me) didnt think Fl or Mi would ever count anything. If you exclude those states she has faced tough odds for a long long time. North Carolina was definitely the point where even if you included those states in the most favourable way to her she wasnt going to win.

I saw Clinton say that people have been trying to push her out since Iowa which is simply not true at all. Certainly there was some belief that it was a sign that she was about to implode but no one was trying to get her out. It wasnt until Obama's long string of victories in February that those calls started to really come through. In fact I have a Clinton supporting friend who insisted that OBAMA had to get out after Super Tuesday because he had lost all the big states.

The Mound of Sound said...

It wasn't sexism that brought Hillary down, it was Hillary who did that all by herself. Obama did nothing sexist but she freely indulged in race-baiting. So give her all the whitewash you like, three or four coats if you can, but your contention is utter nonsense.

Northern PoV said...

It was not sexism, nor was it really Hillary herself. It was a positive thing (person) that brought her down: Obama. Or put in the positive context he got more money, support and votes. Had Obama not run this year, Hillary would have spit on the sexists on her way the to the White House.

I for one was looking forward to her winning. Obama ("not only do we need to end this war, we need to change the mind set that got us into the war") simply stole my support, and many others - then Hillary and Bill got ugly.

Stop blaming sexism for a fair political loss.

James Bow said...

I have to agree there was a noticeable amount of racism out there in this campaign here. At least as much as the sort of sexism that Hillary encountered. I wouldn't blame her whole loss on this one item.

In my case, I would have been quite happy to vote for President Clinton, if I could vote in American elections. But in the end, I thought that Obama was a better candidate. He's certainly electrified a large number of supporters, some of whom haven't participated in elections before. That's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether sexism brought her down, but she needed to be taken down. She is a problem.

There are lots of negative things that can fairly be said about any politician. But most people are lazy and don't bother figuring out what actually bothers us. If we don't like her, well, it's probably just because we don't want no wimmen in the white hawse. If we do like her, then her gender hardly crosses them mind. We're really plastic in this way, we can turn discrimination on and off when it suits us.

I'm saying, just cause folks make sexist remarks doesn't mean that they had sexist reasons for choosing their leader. Yeah, they probably had completely irrelevant and downright stupid reasons for choosing their leader, but Hillary's missing chromosome isn't the reason she lost.

Dan said...

Is sexism what causes her to lose touch with reality and the truth all the time?

sa said...