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Hillary Clinton, misogyny and the media

ajosephs Icon Posted by Ammu Joseph

May 21st, 2008

I’ve just read a recent article by Marie Cocco in The Washington Post headlined “Misogyny I won’t miss,” forwarded to me by a friend in Australia. It detailed some of the outrageous ways in which Hillary Clinton has apparently been pilloried in the course of the ongoing, acrimonious campaign to decide the candidate who will represent the Democratic Party in the US presidential election later this year. What the piece revealed was shocking in the extreme.

Now I understand what Clinton was talking about in her recent interview in The Washington Post (”Clinton puts up a new fight“): “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.”

I tried searching WIMN’s Voices for comments on this aspect of media coverage of the election campaign. The only post I found that refers to misogyny was one by guest blogger Anika Rahman, discussing a January 08 column by Bob Herbert in The New York Times headlined “Politics and Misogyny.”

I am aware that there are serious concerns among many American citizens, including women, about Clinton’s stand on various important issues, genuine misgivings about her brand of politics, and well founded objections to certain aspects of her campaign. I know they say all’s fair in love, war and politics. But some of the stuff mentioned in Cocco’s article appears, to me at least, totally beyond the pale.

I have been following — to the extent possible from outside the US — the division and debate among American feminists on Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, sexism and racism in the run-up to the November election. I could have easily missed comments on the appalling levels of misogyny that Clinton’s candidature seems to have brought to the surface and would certainly be interested to know about such criticism. I would also like to know what feminist media-watchers in the US think about Clinton’s comment on the media’s role in all this.

PS A quick google search did reveal quite a few comments on this topic on the Net. I found several of them interesting and illuminating but since I don’t know much about some of the sources I’m including just two here:

Hillary Clinton and Misogyny: REVISITED” - this is interesting because it refers to research on media bias in eight campaigns.

Question: How Much Did Misogyny Cripple Hillary Clinton’s Historic Campaign?” - this post has links to related articles in the press.

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