Hillary Clinton and the gender issue

Now that Obama is predicted to win the nomination, writers such as Jodi Kantor, Peggy Orenstein and Kate Zernike are reflecting on the role that gender has played throughout Hillary Clinton’s campaign. While there are many reasons why Hillary Clinton is no longer the front runner, I think it is important to acknowledge that sexism has been present in this campaign. This video does a great job of showing some of the gender discrimination that Clinton has faced from the media.

In an interview with Lois Romano at the Washington Post, Clinton addressed this issue and stated that sexism is often tolerated by the media:

The manifestation of some of the sexism that has gone on in this campaign is somehow more respectable, or at least more accepted, and…there should be equal rejection of the sexism and the racism when it raises its ugly head,” she said. “It does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments by people who are nothing but misogynists.”

The entire transcript of the interview is available here.

Sexism is often “shrugged off,” as Clinton says it has been during this campaign. However, I think it’s important to recognize that both candidates have faced unfair attacks. RJ Eskow at the Huffington Post argues that sexism and racism are interrelated issues that must be addressed and fought at the same time.

Jodi Kantor asks how the issue of sexism will affect the voting decisions of Clinton’s supporters:

If many of Mrs. Clinton’s legions of female supporters believe she was undone even in part by gender discrimination, how eagerly will they embrace Senator Barack Obama, the man who beat her?

RJ Eskow offers this response:

Here’s some food for thought: More than 100 American service women have died in Iraq. Tens of thousands of Iraqi women – possibly hundreds of thousands – have also died. American women will lose control over their own reproductive rights under a McCain Supreme Court. How can any feminist remain neutral – or vote for McCain – in 2008?

While Obama may need to work on appealing to female voters and addressing the concerns of Clinton supporters, would anyone who cares about these issues really be ok with supporting McCain?


This video from The Women’s Media Center also illustrates the sexism demonstrated by the media during Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Frank Rich of The New York Times wrote an article debunking the myth that mobs of angry women Clinton supporters will be voting for McCain.


May 20, 2008 - Posted by | politics, Sexism | , ,

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