Looking for sexism in the coverage of women candidates for office? Try a mirror.

Editor and Publisher of The Nation Katrina vanden Heuvel writes that the U.S. needs more women in elective office:

Will shattering the Oval Office’s glass ceiling and electing a madam president be an inspiring achievement for this country? Of course. Do we also need madam mayors, madam senators, madam councilwomen, madam sheriffs, madam governors and madam congresswomen all across the nation? You betcha.

.       .       .       .       .       .

Unfortunately, women running for elected office confront greater barriers than their male counterparts. Their appearance, qualifications — even psychology — are subjected to intense, often crass, scrutiny.

You don’t say!  Have you glanced at the archives of The Nation from 2007-08 lately?  No?  Need a refresher?  Look here.  And here.  And here, where notorious d!ckbag Tom Hayden calls Hillary Clinton a “screech on the blackboard. From First Lady to Lady Macbeth,” and in a very manly rhetorical maneuver, blames his Clinton Derangement Syndrome on his wife’s influence.  (She “is inspired by Barack Obama’s transformational appeal,” he wrote.)  Clinton didn’t run a primary campaign.  No.  Hayden claims that it was a “path of destruction.”

Who was the editor who published that sack of $hit?  Hmm?

(How about this masterpiece?  How’s that “most progressive President in more than half a century” thing working out for you, with its war on leakers and whistleblowers and its  NSA wiretaps and all?  Just imagine if these revelations came out under a President Hillary Clinton or a President George W. Bush.  How’re liking that “transformational appeal” now?)

Until “the left” reckons with its own misogyny, it’s really not credible to say that the “War on Women” is being prosecuted only by Republicans and right-wingers.

10 thoughts on “Looking for sexism in the coverage of women candidates for office? Try a mirror.

  1. The Nation is not liberal or progressive; it’s Stalinist. As you said, they were wrong across the board. They used Pravda language against Hillary and they failed to read Obama which actually wasn’t that difficult.


  2. And the Hayden thing was published in May of 2008, too, when the Bam Team was doing its end zone victory dance and apoplectic that they couldn’t get a formal surrender on the battleship deck statement and delivery of all those electoral votes won in Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, etc. etc.

    I was looking at an Amtrak map this morning and my eye fell on Port Huron, MI. I wondered for whatever reason what the world looked like through the eyes of someone for whom that word was not a dot on a railroad map or a tricky question on an SAT exam, but rather an actual event that you had to remember to send in the hotel reservation for. I guess this is part of the answer. I googled the text of the Port Huron Statement (1962), and the word “women” appears there twice, “men” “over one hundred times. No “female,” no “sex.” There are 25 hits for “she,” but every one of them embedded in another word, such as “abolished” (10+), “established” (4+), “brushed aside” (5), “flushes” (4), shell, shed, usher, diminished, even Chiang Kai Shek. In some ways, you pretty much end up where you started out, and indeed, the 1960s left was wedded to the established order of social hierarchies and relationships. There should be a wikisourcing of recollections to document that from the various fronts, before everyone is gone.


  3. Speaking of Hilalry, have you read Camille “Gaglia’s” hit piece in Salon, another so-called progressive read?
    I didn’t it, I’ve read enough of that toxic idiot’s opinions to last me through several incarnations.


  4. Just posting to say that I love your phrase “Clinton Derangement Syndrome.” Also, I guess the “Unfortunately” in that sentence is a rhetorical move sort of like “I don’t mean to offend you, but.” If you have to say the first part, maybe you shouldn’t say what follows.


  5. I haven’t read it, but there is a new book out on the topic, Deborah Jordan Brooks, “He Runs, She Runs:
    Why Gender Stereotypes Do Not Harm Women Candidates” (Princeton Univ. Press). The blurb from the website:

    With rich contextual background and a wealth of findings, Deborah Jordan Brooks examines whether various behaviors–such as crying, acting tough, displays of anger, or knowledge gaffes–by male and female political candidates are regarded differently by the public. Refuting the idea of double standards in campaigns, Brooks’s overall analysis indicates that female candidates do not get penalized disproportionately for various behaviors, nor do they face any double bind regarding femininity and toughness. Brooks also reveals that before campaigning begins, women do not start out at a disadvantage due to gender stereotypes. In fact, Brooks shows that people only make gendered assumptions about candidates who are new to politics, and those stereotypes benefit, rather than hurt, women candidates.

    I guess I’ll have to read it to see what the alternative explanations are….


  6. I was struck that even in the blurb, “stereotypes” has a doubled meaning, viz., the behaviors listed as such, and whether performing them “are regarded differently,” on the one hand, and the cloud of cultural assumptions that surrounds the very idea of those behaviors, which can come into play “[even] before campaigning begins,” on the other. Nothing wrong with this, analytically both are relevant to understanding the phenomena in question, but the blurb (as perhaps blurbs do and need to do) seems to assume an alignment between them on the ground out there in reality, which may be empirically true and maybe not. I wonder if the book is based on substantial aggregate or systematic data research or mostly on anecdota and pithy subject interview quotations, or perhaps both?

    Even for a blurb, it packs a lot of complex reality into half of a sentence to say “shows that people only make gendered assumptions about candidates who are new to politics…” I’m blanking on the guy whose presidential campaign fizzled when he teared-up in the snow in New Hampshire at cruel media treatment of his wife, but Michael Dukakis got shredded for being too cold and analytical, also about a question relating to his wife. The story last week about Barbara Mikulski, in her capacity as a committee chair, sending her colleague from across the aisle, McCain, back to his office to “read the bill” before voting on it was funny. But if she jumped into a presidential race, even say as a vice presidential candidate, would she be advised to rebuild the persona before hitting the trail?


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