Feature

Hillary: The victim of misogyny?

Hillary Clinton has never let her gender define her presidential candidacy, said Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times. Lately, though, Democrats have been doing that job for her.

Hillary Clinton has never let her gender define her presidential candidacy, said Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times. Lately, though, Democrats have been doing that job for her. “In testy dinner-party conversations, around the water cooler, and in the public forum,” voters have been debating whether Clinton is being mistreated because she’s a woman. “For some women, the rise of Barack Obama rips open a persistent wound: an older, more experienced woman is pushed aside for a younger male colleague.” Instead of engendering pride, said Eli Saslow in The Washington Post, Clinton’s candidacy has only served to embitter many of her most ardent admirers. They are convinced that Clinton has been “mistreated by an opponent who subtly demeans her, by a mainstream media that ridicules her, by young women who no longer feel the urgency of the women’s movement, by African-American women for whom race is more important than gender.”

There’s no denying that much of the anti-Hillary sentiment is “dizzyingly toxic,” said Leslie Bennetts in the Los Angeles Times. She’s been called “a bitch,’’ “a monster,’’ and worse. Some people think it’s funny to wear T-shirts that read: “If only Hillary had married O.J. instead!” Even if the mainstream media isn’t quite so blatant, most pundits now dismiss Clinton as some stubborn relic from the past, and insist that she hand Obama the nomination, get lost, and take her mainly female, mostly over-50 supporters with her. It’s precisely that attitude that has so many women of a certain age rallying to Hillary, said Tina Brown in Newsweek. All over the country, there are millions of “vigorous, independent, self-liberated boomer women’’ with all the myriad skills that come from raising families while holding down demanding jobs. Yet they still find themselves shunted aside by employers, ignored by advertisers, and treated by our society as irrelevant. It’s for these “invisible women” that Hillary should fight on.

Oh, come now, said Kathryn Jean Lopez in National Review Online. If Americans are so misogynistic, then why was Hillary the Democratic front-runner for so long? Now that she’s trailing Obama, throwback feminists like Gloria Steinem are whining that she’s being mistreated and bullied by all those mean men, and insisting that women have a moral obligation to vote for their sister. Please. Clinton has already proved that “a woman can be a major presidential candidate.” Let’s move on and allow “female candidates to run on their own merits, without the heavy servings of identity politics.”

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