How Sexism is Masquerading as Analysis Against Hillary Clinton
President Obama addressed it this week. Starting with his interview with Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, the President pointed to disparate treatment of Hillary Clinton because she is a woman. While ambition, daring, and risk taking are seen as virtues in men, the same qualities are used to critique women.
The President is correct. When Donald Trump guns for the presidency and wins a major party nomination despite the fact that his only experience with government seems to come from cheating the IRS, he is a "movement leader", he's "expressing the frustration" of "working class whites." When Hillary Clinton aims for the same office after having proven herself with a life of service both in private and public life, she is craven, greedy, self-serving.
When Donald Trump uses offensive language against his opponents, he's "telling like it is." When Hillary Clinton challenges her opponent on his taxes, she's a "nasty woman."
Let's face it. Hillary Clinton's critic isn't really that she is a "craven, power hungry, greedy, self-serving" woman seeking the office of president. Her critic is that that her pursuit of the office is in and of itself what makes her all those things.
But if you really want an example of just how sexist a media, political and unfortunately popular culture we live in, just refer back to the tapes that were released in which Donald Trump brags about sexually assaulting women because of his position of power and fame.
While Trump was given much deserved scrutiny from much of the media for these horrifying confessions, half of that time was spent trying to discuss whether or not bragging about sexual assault was simply "locker room talk" or something as innocuous as two men flaunting their manly bravado to each other.
The sexism isn't simply in the coverage of Trump's assaults as a "boys will be boys" metaphor. The sexism is in the "boys will be boys" metaphor itself. The sexism is in allowing a culture that permits the view of cheating men as studs but sees assaulted women as sluts. The sexism is in the metaphor of "boys will be boys", implying that when men commit sexual assault, they are at least partially justified by their nature.
The sexism is in how quickly and easily the media switched over to covering James Comey's and emails even though there was nothing concrete to report, and how quickly the media navigated away from the substantive coverage of a sexual predator with multiple public accusers and who is going to trial on rape after the election.
The sexism is in the belief that Hillary Clinton has to answer for her email management ad infinitum regardless of multiple investigations - Congressional, internal and legal - having concluded and finding nothing wrong and yet Donald Trump being granted reprieve from a ballooning sexual assault scandal after a mere week.
Because "boys will be boys" but women are not allowed to make a mistake, admit it and move past it.
Pernicious, systemic sexism will not go away with the election of the first female president, much the same way racism did not go away with the election of Barack Obama. But after President Obama's call, we must all look inside ourselves and ask just how we are allowing ourselves to be affected by the sexism masquerading as anti-Hillary Clinton analysis and commentary on our TV screens, newspapers and Twitter feeds.
Because we cannot afford to take our eyes of the prize. We cannot allow a sexist media, a political FBI boss, or even our own internal biases to keep us from making history and shattering that glass ceiling.
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