Thursday, June 5, 2008

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

As the dust from Tuesday's final primaries settles, I've been reading people's reactions and I have to say this: Can we give Hillary a break and not breath fire down her neck, yanking her off stage with one of those hooked canes? As excited as I am about Obama (goosebump excited, people), the disrespect for Hillary pains me in ways I haven't felt in a long time. For once, we've had an election where people actually wanted to vote and had the ability to choose between not the lesser of two evils, but who they actually believed in. Can't we acknowledge that as historic too?

Melissa at Shakesville, as usual, says it in ways I'm unable to:
I'm sad because there are women at this blog, in my personal life, across this nation, and—if my inbox is any indication—across the globe, women of all races and sexualities and socio-economic classes, many of whom weren't even Hillary Clinton supporters, many of whom voted for Obama in the primary, who have watched with horror the seething hatred directed at Hillary Clinton just because she is a woman.

And now, at long last, even now, when Clinton cannot win, she is being pushed out, carelessly, rudely, with little regard for the implicit message in hustling a historic candidate off the stage and demanding her graciousness in defeat, despite offering her no graciousness in victory. Right to the end, there is a lack of respect that hurts to watch.

And I'm sad because I know there are women who are hurting. Not because their candidate lost. Clinton may not have even been their candidate. They're hurting because misogyny hurts all women, and because they have fewer allies than they once thought.
I'm feeling this last bit especially, because Tuesday wasn't a night about pushing Clinton out, but instead welcoming Obama in. I have read too many blogs that speak of unity, but then lambaste both Clintons for not doing exactly as the bloggers would want. Can we, for once, have a winner without directly spitting in the face of whoever is not the winner? It's obvious that the race is over, so give Clinton the week to announce she's conceding, and without the punditry and bullshit that would normally go along with it.

The hatred and disdain that fills people's words hurt me because she is an extraordinary woman and all the media can do is put devil horns on her head while making thinly veiled misogynist statements. Please, acknowledge the sexism present in this race (because you all know it's there - don't even try to deny it). Please, listen to us and hear us say that although honest critiques of Clinton's campaign are necessary, using sexism and misogyny is cheap and low and ever-present in horrifying ways.

You really want unity? At least notice that we're hurting and although it won't fix everything, it'll help.

"Our party and our country are better off because of [Hillary Clinton], and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete." - Barack Obama, June 3 2008

13 comments:

Kate said...

As a die-hard Obama fan, I have been suprisingly sedated for the last few days. This is why.

Black Thirteen said...

See, thing is, this is no more than the average viciousness that'd be directed at any other candidate.

You can't ask people to be nicer and soft to her just because she's a woman, because isn't that precisely what you're trying to avoid?

My two cents are slightly less valuable, because I don't support either of them. (No, I'm not Republican.) To me, it wasn't the lesser of two evils, it was simply two evils, neither of which I could possibly support.

To get back on track, the winning side wants to celebrate. That's how politics go. No one called for the defense of any former male candidate in years past, in such a way.

To truly be considered equal, she should stand firm in the wind of the bullshit, and waver no more and no less than any of her male peers have done in the past.

Just my opinion, though.

Amelia said...

I love Hillary Clinton. I did not vote for her in the primary, but her run for the nomination was so very admirable.

I want to meet her one day.

Great post. Thanks, Lindsay.

Amelia said...

To truly be considered equal, she should stand firm in the wind of the bullshit, and waver no more and no less than any of her male peers have done in the past.

Not fair. I would buy this...maybe, but not likely...if all male candidates in the past had had to endure the relentless sexism that Hillary has faced. The media was merciless in attacking her, and of course, that did not end when she was conceding.

Your call for Hillary to be considered equal lacks attention to the work that needs to be done with covering strong female candidates, more of whom I hope we will see in the future.

I cannot imagine what it is like to be her. That is why I admire her strength. Her being a powerful woman is scary to many, many people, and they treat her differently for it. It is not a level playing field, but how is that her fault?

She didn't do anything wrong in that regard.

Black Thirteen said...

Not fair. I would buy this...maybe, but not likely...if all male candidates in the past had had to endure the relentless sexism that Hillary has faced. The media was merciless in attacking her, and of course, that did not end when she was conceding.

Very fair. She was subjected to the same mudslinging and verbal commentary as any other candidate by the media and the voters, except, since she's a woman, everyone was immediately accused of making their complaints out of sexism.

Saying that people shouldn't have been mean, and if they were mean, it was obviously sexist is an opinion call, not one of fact. When a male candidate is ripped to shreds by the media, it's called politics. Why, when the same happens to a female, it's sexism?

Her being a powerful woman is scary to many, many people, and they treat her differently for it. It is not a level playing field, but how is that her fault?

See, that's easy to say, but not easy to prove. In fact, she was given the same generally vicious treatment as any other candidate would have gotten, but when it comes to her, suddenly it's not fair, because she's a woman. How does that work?

Are they to be nicer and kinder to female candidates? Wouldn't that just be propping up the stereotype of women as fragile and emotional?

Kari said...

I voted for Obama. I'm a huge supporter. But it was disappointing to open the newspaper on June 4th and see two men standing side by side without Hillary.

Her presence added a lot to the race, even if I don't agree with her policies. It made me feel happy.

Renee said...

Lets just be real for one minute. Yes she is no longer in the running for president but she is busy putting out feelers to become the VP. She may have lost the top prize but she is certainly doing her best to assure herself a seat at the table.

OutcrazyOphelia said...

"hustling a historic candidate off the stage and demanding her graciousness in defeat, despite offering her no graciousness in victory."

To be fair, she didn't acknowledge the historicity of Obama's campaign or his victory that night, which was a real disappointment to me--and from what I heard--to some of her supporters as well.

feministblogproject said...

She was subjected to the same mudslinging and verbal commentary as any other candidate by the media and the voters, except, since she's a woman, everyone was immediately accused of making their complaints out of sexism

Like all candidates, she was subject to mudslinging and verbal commentary. But are male candidates typically criticized for the sound of their voice? Or had their attractivness considered necessary for their presidential qualifications?

Yes, she experienced mudslinging, but no, it was not the exact same kind. And that's what bothers me.

Lindsay said...

Very fair. She was subjected to the same mudslinging and verbal commentary as any other candidate by the media and the voters, except, since she's a woman, everyone was immediately accused of making their complaints out of sexism.

No. There's a huuuuge difference between honest criticism of her and her campaign based on issues and attacking her based on her genitalia - calling her she devil, a bitch, saying she only got elected to congress because her husband had an affair, making Hillary nutcrackers, etc etc etc. Check out the Women in Media video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-IrhRSwF9U
and any of the links in the post to see just a few examples of the sexism raging against Hillary.

To not acknowledge that there was rampant sexism in the campaign is to turn a blind eye against all forms of misogyny because sexism against one woman hurts all women. If you can't even see the sexism at work in the media against Hillary, how can I expect you/anyone to take another women's claims of sexual harassment, rape, or misogyny seriously?

Black Thirteen said...

I'm simply saying, in the grand scheme, it was not like this specific set of attacks given only because she's a woman.

A great deal of people responded to any criticism she was given with "That's sexist!". If someone criticized anything about her or her policies, they were called sexist anyway. For those that were actually sexist, I wouldn't doubt if it came from that. If you're accused of something you're not doing for giving criticism, you might as well start doing it, since you'll be accused anyway.

Politicians are in the public eye, and because of our laws, are completely fair game for anything the public wishes to say about them, no matter how offensive. That's the rules of politics in this country.

Every politician that runs for major office has to put up with it.

"If you can't even see the sexism at work in the media against Hillary, how can I expect you/anyone to take another women's claims of sexual harassment, rape, or misogyny seriously?"

I don't really see how this is related in the way that you want it to be. Hillary wasn't raped, her campaign had nothing to do with rape, etcetera.

I just find claims of misogyny to be incredibly subjective. Women, especially feminists, attach claims of woman-hate to a lot of things that don't have anything to do with hating women.

The Great American said...

The reason the media lambasted Hillary so much was not sexism. It was the fact that out of nowhere comes this young African-American who has all kinds of young, hollywood type people excited (for what reason i'll never understand) and for another reason I'll never understand somehow invokes memories of JFK. i personally feel that the DNC and media wanted Obama simply so they could atone for the racial misdeeds perpetrated upon blacks in this country. So to say the media treated her unfairly due to her gender, i would have to say, is wrong. It was simply because she was not black. And while I would rather elect Al-Qaeda than Hillary or Obama, I would have to say that people bitching about gender equality regarding Hillary must have failed to notice that her main opponent was....black.

Question for the author of the post: What is it about Obama that gets you so excited that you get goosebumps?

uncensoredfeminista said...

Wow, there are some really.interesting.comments here, most of which I'm really not going to address because 'WOW' is all I can say. The blinders are well in place.

If you look at some of the comments here and some of the comments going around this topic of Black vs Women is going to tear up the Democrats and I would hate to see that happen.

What's been done is done. I think all we can do now is learn from it and move on, and by doing so we need to stop the name calling and such and just see things for what they are.

There's been a whole lot of sexism and racism in these primaries, and what I've noticed most of all is McCain quietly standing in the sidelines watching the democrats tear each other apart.