Sunday, February 10, 2008

We Shall Overcome...

One day perhaps a woman will be elected president of the United day...

After listening and reading what media pundits and blog elites are saying about the Democratic race, however, the howler is not particuarly sanguine that 2008 will be the year.

Indeed, it's been a long pet peeve of her how female Democratic leaders are serially portrayed as nagging, manipulative, ruthless, pimping, clueless, loony, castrating bitches and "everybody's first wife." In other words, too polarizing for genteel partiarchal America.

Don't believe...? Here are a few words from Nicholas Kristof's thoughtful column in today's New York Times:

[R]esearch ]shows] that promoting their own successes is a helpful strategy for ambitious men. But experiments...demonstrat[e] that when women highlight their accomplishments, that’s a turn-off. And women seem even more offended by self-promoting females than men are.

This creates a huge challenge for ambitious women in politics or business: If they’re self-effacing, people find them unimpressive, but if they talk up their accomplishments, they come across as pushy braggarts.

Every morning, political junkies feeding on morsels of presidential election news tune in to Joe Scarborough only to hear him cut Mika Brzezinski off time and again and then spout some dismissive insult toward Hillary Clinton as his male panel of dignitaries like Mike Barnicle, Chris Matthews, Willie Geist or David Shuster cackle and chuckle and high-five while a dismayed Mika bears and grins their misogynist attacks.

It seems the good ol' boys have lined up against the female presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, to ensure that 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue remains the male bastion of chest-thumpin' real he-men.

This must not stand without pushback.

Unlike previous elections, this 2008 presidential campaign is unique because the Democratic party is offering two exceptional candidates; and no matter who wins, he or she will have broken through the glass ceiling or racial divide that has been such a fundamental ingredient in American politics.

But this post is about over-the-top sexism and ladies, let's not fool ourselves. It took the Nineteeth Amendment to the United States constitution in 1920 before women were even allowed to vote for their leaders.

This likeability issue raised by media pundits when referring to Hillary Clinton is simply a misogynist code word for naked screaming patriarchal bigotry on their part.

Just today Marc Fisher pens an article in the Washington Post framing the Democratic primary straight out of Obama talking points: "Establishment vs. Inspiration," the headline reads. And to add sexist color to his story, Fisher goes and quotes a male high school student who decries Hillary for being "manipulative and underhanded." With her trying to be president, and all.

Well, the howler refuses to allow media and mostly male bloggers to frame her presidential choices. Let's not pretend media bias against Hillary doesn't exist. Read Margaret Eggan's article in today's Boston Globe and then try to pretend it ain't so.

Here are a few comestibles to chew on a few days before Maryland, DC and Virginia go to the polls:
News organizations often publish photos of Hillary Clinton, above, that make her look crazy, while pictures of Barack Obama, left, portray him as cool and reflective."
Exhibit A is the picture posted. As Eggan notes, "Hillary looks like a crazy person, her mouth agape, her eyes as bug-eyed as the runaway bride’s. Meanwhile, Barack Obama typically looks cool, calm, collected - or, better yet, pensive and reflective." Notice the benevolent beatified moon halo as a backdrop to Obama's picture.

[W]omen voting for Hillary, particularly older women, endured legitimate sexism. When she gets trashed, they feel trashed.

It’s analogous to the reaction among blacks when Bill Clinton was running around South Carolina making racist remarks...

Meanwhile, the unspoken rules say you can still publicly trash women in a way you can’t publicly trash African-Americans. "Imagine if somebody said Barack Obama was pimping out his wife,” says Andrea Cabral. “What would never be said about race is the sport of kings when it comes to gender.”

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