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Gender and sexism is clearly an issue in this presidential campaign. There is no question that the media (with Mr. Tweety at the top of the list) has treated Hillary in a sexist manner, which kossacks have denounced.  My question is whether kossacks will similarly condemn not Hillary or her candidacy, but her use of sexism as a political tool to shield herself from criticism as well as a sword to promote her candidacy based on gender. Regardless of which candidate you support, the use of sexism as a political toy has the effect of trivializing sexism, which will have impacts on all women long after a president is elected.

These issues will be examined by political analysts, historians and feminists for years. The question is whether we at dk can discuss this issue and its impacts without pie fights about candidates.  Right now I am basically an "orphan" now that I have reluctantly accepted that Gore is not running and have not picked a candidate. This diary uses examples from Hillary because she raised the issue of sexism against her by the other Democratic presidential candidates.

Feminisms is a series of weekly feminist diaries. My fellow feminists and I decided to start our own for several purposes: we wanted a place to chat with each other, we felt it was important to both share our own stories and learn from others’, and we hoped to introduce to the community a better understanding of what feminism is about.

  Needless to say, we expect disagreements to arise. We have all had different experiences in life, so while we share the same labels, we don’t necessarily share the same definitions. Hopefully, we can all be patient and civil with each other, and remember that, ultimately, we’re all on the same side.

Sexism As A Shield.  

After losing one Democratic debate (video and transcript), the Hillary campaign played the sexism card. An official campaign video entitled "The Politics of Pile On" showcased the male democratic candidates saying her name at --- of all places --- a democratic debate.  

There is no anger or condescension apparent in the voices, no patronizing attitude or behavior apparent in the video of the debate or the Hillary campaign video. There was simply the fact that the male candidates used her name, which is pretty common in a debate.

It is clear from the context that the "politics of piling on" was simply the campaign's euphemism for sexism by the male democratic candidates.  The Hillary campaign stated that the men had ganged up on her in the "politics of piling on" because she was a woman. The next day, "Clinton called the political world a 'boys’ club,'and a union chief endorsed her with the observation that the debate had been 'six guys against Hillary.'"  

The video ends with this very important sound bite by Hillary:

"I seemed to be the topic of great conversation and consternation, and that's for a reason."

The implication is that Hillary made this statement during the debate because she felt that the male candidates were "piling on" during this debate for the implied reason of sexism. A statement made contemporaneous with events occurring is accorded more weight and credibility in our legal system and society because the facts, perceptions and feelings are fresh and almost reactive without time to think or spin. Thus, the fact that Hillary had perceived the statements by the other candidates as piling on or sexism while the debate was occurring is important.

However, this sound bite in the Clinton video was used out of context. The reality is that Brian Williams asked Senator Obama about his statement in an interview that "Senator Clinton was trying to sound Republican, trying to vote Republican on national security issues." The video sound bite was part of Hillary's rebuttal to Obama's statement: She was referring to Republicans at a recent debate, not Democrats at this debate highlighted in this video:

Hillary Clinton: Well, I don't think the Republicans got the message that I'm voting and sounding like them.

If you watched their debate last week, I seemed to be the topic of great conversation and consternation. And that's for a reason -- because I have stood against George Bush and his failed policies.

Thus, the true meaning of her sound bite was that Hillary was speaking about Republicans, not the Democratic candidates; Hillary was refuting that she was a goppie, not referring to being piled on at this debate, and, the reason for the "consternation" was not sexism, but her claim that she has opposed Bush.  It is standard operating procedure that when Bush speaks, we need to hunt down the factual context and consider the meaning of each word used to decipher the truth. We should not have to do the same with our democratic candidates, whether it be Hillary, in this case, or one of the other candidates.

Moreover, if you look at Hillary's demeanor while she made this statement at the debate, she was at ease and smiling. [video clip of Hillary's statement at 2:25]  So, what sexism happened at this debate that triggered her campaign to produce the "piling on" video?

Hillary's campaign apparently assumed that the men ganged up on Hillary because she is a woman. Assuming arguendo that the men ganged up on Hillary, is it a fair assumption that it was motivated by gender? Is gender the only reason a man might question her policies? Is it unusual for candidates to question the front runner?  When looking at video of the debate, the male candidates took issue with Hillary refusing to clearly and unequivocally answer even simple questions, loading her answers with qualifiers and disclaimers to provide wiggle room and flip-flopping on positions. Is it now sexism if a male candidate questions the statements and policies of a female candidate?

Yes, this video was produced by goppies, but it shows a good selection of how the media covered Hillary's performance in this debate in a very negative manner. Hillary's sexism charge changed the focus of the post-debate coverage from her to the male democratic candidates.

Consequently, Senator Edwards posted a video to explain that the questioning was not a matter of sexism, or the politics of piling on, but the politics of parsing by Hillary:

So, what really happened at this debate that could be called sexism?

Well, for some women, the gender imbalance of participants in a forum or debate is sufficient ground to "invoke sexism and gender stereotypes as a defense on the campaign trail."  Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, said proclaiming sexism was a "gut response" to the "spectacle of Clinton onstage confronting seven male rivals and two male moderators at a debate in Philadelphia," even comparing it to the "congressional grilling of Anita Hill when she challenged Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court nomination in 1991."

"Every woman — it was just so visceral — that panel was all male," Smeal recalled. "It didn’t matter almost what was being said. It [was] a visceral gut reaction, and I think that’s what you’re seeing here again."

There is no question that sexism is institutionalized in the US to the degree that many do not even perceive clearly sexist conduct and statements as sexist. As a result of institutionalized sexism, women have been denied promotions in the work force, denied entry into positions and places and today we have fewer women visible in certain occupations and professions. One such field is politics and more specifically, presidential candidates. However, since when did it become acceptable to proclaim the fruits of historical and institutional bias as sexism today? It is one thing to support affirmative action to remedy the impacts of historical discrimination.  It is quite another thing to claim that the male candidates in a political debate are sexist based solely on the gender of participants. As a lawyer, if I lose oral argument in court where there is a male judge and a male opposing lawyer, can I then scream sexism because the male participants outnumber the female due to historical sexism even though not a scintilla of sexism by this judge and opposing counsel?

This is not the first time that Hillary used sexism as a shield:

It is not the first time for Clinton. The turning point of her 2000 race for New York senator came when her challenger, then-Rep. Rick Lazio (R), marched into her personal space during a debate to present her with a campaign financing pledge, a move many women saw as threatening. In her 2006 reelection, and this year, her advisers have missed no opportunity to label male challengers as 'angry.'"

Can this sexism strategy be a win-win for Hillary against the Democrats in the primary as well as against a Goppie in the general?  Some feminists have "predicted that this tactic will prove effective against fellow Democrats and against a Republican, if she is the general election nominee."

"'They are being very, very strategic' by playing to sympathies that virtually every woman in a male-dominated professional world can relate to, feminist writer Naomi Wolf said of the Clinton campaign."

If the debate truly constituted a sexist attack against Hillary, why did her campaign raise the serious charge of sexism and then quickly abandon the issue?  After playing the victim card reaped some benefits for Hillary, she dropped the card like a hot potato, claiming that the piling on was due to the fact that she was winning, not because she is a woman.

Perhaps the point was to use sexism as a red-herring to deflect issues raised at the debate:  

She called Senator Clinton's use of the gender card a setback for women.

The question is, is it? It’s certainly distracted a bit from the criticisms that Mrs. Clinton's debate answers were less than direct, and from the controversy over her sealed papers at the Clinton library and the Spitzer license policy for immigrants.

Is it presidential for a woman candidate to flip-flop on sexism and gender stereotypes by claiming she is a strong, independent woman capable of leadership and then hiding under the victim card when men question her policies because she refuses to provide a clear, unequivocal, no-wiggle room answer to straight-forward questions.

Some feminists say that's ok because "turnabout is fair play":

"When you're the one and only, those stereotypes are coming at you all the time. If she has one time when she can make them work for her, why not?"

Even Smeal thinks it's ok for Hillary to use "stereotypes to her advantage":

"You reap what you sow," she said. "There’s been discrimination against women for so long, and for once this is benefiting a woman."

Sexism As A Sword.

Women represent 59% of the Democratic primary vote and 54% of the general electorate. The candidates are clearly vying for the women's vote. Should sexism be used as a political tool to garner those votes?

The "Women for Hillary" campaign team is part of Hillary's use of gender as a sword by urging people to vote for her because she is a woman:

In Sioux City, Monday afternoon, Hillary Clinton told about 200 people, inside the old Firehouse number 3, that they can help make history by caucusing for her... and electing the first female president in our history.

Sexism is generally discrimination based on sexual stereotypes or gender, such as the exclusion of women from a promotion based solely on gender. Is it appropriate to argue that women should vote for Hillary simply because she is a woman? Is it ok to oppose sexism when it hurts women but support sexism when it benefits women?

The use of sexism as a sword goes beyond gender and making history. Hillary is also pandering to women who stay at home:

As first lady-to-be, Clinton once said, "I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession." The same woman, now running for president, is telling voters, "I'm very much at home in the kitchen."

Most politicians flip-flop when they pander to different constituencies. Whenever they pander, there will usually be charges of hypocrisy. However, it is particularly disturbing when the hypocrisy is based on sexism because it undermines a serious discrimination that women have been working for years to reverse.

Impact On Women

Does it hurt women when Hillary uses sexism as a tool by belittling the significance of sexism to a mere political toy?

What about the meme that has been so hard to break of women trumping up sexism charges? Often when a man is accused of sexism, he will defend against the charge by claiming that the woman's allegations are phony, trivial or do not constitute sexism. The reason that men use this "sexism card" is because infrequently a woman has falsely accused a man of rape. Women have fought to knock down this meme of the false use of sexism charges. Now, if it is appropriate to use sexism as a political tool, this meme will gain strength with a new life of its own.

The irony is that while Hillary may be trivializing sexism and its devastating impacts for all women, she will generally not be the victim of sexism. Yes, as a politician she is subjected to sexism like all women. But, Hillary will not face the hardship of losing a job or a promotion due to sexism because she has the financial security that most do not. Hillary will not face the anger and hatred that some women face because she has personal security to protect her.

So, Hillary may not be personally invested in the need to not trivialize sexism, but most people will. Including myself.

Originally posted to Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 06:56 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting questions PD... (12+ / 0-)

    Thanks for writing this and for all the research that went into it. Clearly this was no small topic to tackle!

    This is one of those places where class fits into the discussion as well.

    I'm reminded of Kath25's diary from earlier today - 1967: A Boy and a Dream. In her diary she refers to a scene in the film, Hustle and Flow. The quote is from the main character.

    "You know that little girl Keisha, right? One day she gonna dream big, the way kids do, you know. And she gonna come to me and ask me when she grow up, can she become president? But I tell you something. I'm gonna look her right in the eye... ...and I'm gonna lie. Because sometimes that's what you gotta do."

    I was struck by the scene the first time I saw the film. The idea that a poor black girl of unknown parentage from the worst parts of Memphis could overcome the insurmountable obstacles between her and the White House seems implausable, even today in 2007.

    Your topic in this diary makes me put the focus on, "poor black girl". There really is a class and race difference and Feminism represents something entirely different for poor white women vs wealthy white women, poor black women vs wealthy black women, etc. These topics very much fit together. I guess my point is...you are right - Hillary will likely not be hurt by use or misuse of sexism - but other women likely will down the road. I guess I need to gather my thoughts a bit more before I can articulate exactly how.

    I do hope we can have this discussion about sexism without this being a candidate fight.

    I'm a hopemonger.

    by Elise on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 07:10:23 PM PST

    •  good points elise (7+ / 0-)

      it is often the case that what famous politicians do is replicated by others, here and abroad. so, i do worry about the impacts on women in general who do not have all the security of rich women.

    •  Re: the aspect of race... (9+ / 0-)

      The only time I ever had a problem w/the Clinton campaign's use of sex/gender was in the post-debate they're-attacking-her-because-of-sexism-nonsense.

      I'm really supportive of pretty much everything else she's done (out reach to women voters, stories of how women who were born before women were allowed to vote will be able to vote for her, all that good stuff).

      But after that debate, when Geraldine Ferraro said that it's okay to be sexist in this country, but it's not okay to be racist--acting as though society doesn't tolerate racism every fucking day--I nearly had a fit.

      It was one of the most ridiculously privileged comments I've ever heard a politician say.

      Any force that tries to make you feel shame for being who you are...is a form of tyranny... And it must be rejected, resisted, and defeated. ~Al Gore

      by Sinister Rae on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 07:34:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  15th Amendment anyone? (5+ / 0-)

        Sometimes as I read some of the comments around the HRC/Obama rivalry I wonder how far are we from the debates that raged around the post Civil War Suffragist movement when African American men's receipt of the franchise sparked a  raced gender vs. gendered race debate between Suffragists and many Black male leaders of the time.

        No race has a monopoly on intelligence or beauty . . . there is room for all at the rendezvous of victory--Aime Cesaire

        by Sansouci on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 07:38:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for stating this. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Avila

          I never thought of it that way.  The women's suffagist movement and the Civil Rights movement, are different but very parallel.

        •  Shirley Chisholm was once asked, which barrier (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mjd in florida

          was more difficult to overcome in her race for the House, the fact she was black, or the fact she was a woman.  Chisholm replied, oh, the fact she was a woman proved much tougher.

          As for the racism card, Jesse Jackson tried playing that one when he tanked in the polls in his Presidental bid.  It didn't work.  It was him we didn't want in the White House.  Now Sen. Obama has a great chance at being our next President.  While I know he's talked about race--a lot has got to be done yet to level the playing field--I haven't once heard him cry racism (although he's probably felt a bit of of it).  Has anyone else?

          Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions.

          by Ice Blue on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:45:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How did Obama respond to Biden's (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ice Blue, Matisyahu

            muddled comments about his articulateness and cleanliness? I don't remember his campaign's response.

            No race has a monopoly on intelligence or beauty . . . there is room for all at the rendezvous of victory--Aime Cesaire

            by Sansouci on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:50:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hmm...I don't remember the Obama camp doing (0+ / 0-)

              anything until they most graciously accepted Biden's apology.

              Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions.

              by Ice Blue on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 10:01:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  He basically took it in stride (0+ / 0-)

              He politely said that it was a slap in the face to Chisholm, Jackson, Sharpton, etc.  To be honest, only Jackson was a halfway-serious candidate out of the ones before Obama, which was part of the accurate-but-not-PC point that Biden was trying to make, I tihnk.

              I've always thought the response to that whole thing was way, way overblown though.  Here is what Biden actually said:

              [Barack Obama is] the first mainstream African-American [candidate for the presidency] who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.  I mean, that's a storybook, man.

              Basically, I don't think the second part of the sentence (everything starting with "who is") was meant to apply to anyone but Obama, and I think the words "articulate" and "clean" were badly misinterpreted.  My personal interpretation is that Biden meant to say something along these lines:

              "[Barack Obama is] the first serious, mainstream African-American [candidate for the presidency].  He is eloquent, bright, clean-cut, and a nice-looking guy.  I mean, that's a storybook, man."

              Unfortunately, he didn't break up the sentences, he substituted the word "articulate" for "eloquent," and "clean" for "clean-cut" (which I've actually heard used before).  "Articulate" is one of those words that can mean multiple things.  When applied to a politician, though, it clearly means "eloquent" rather than "able to speak the language without stuttering," which is how some people seemed to take it.  But you can search online and find numerous uses of the word being used to describe the speaking abilitie of JFK, RFK Jr., Bill Clinton, and...John Edwards.

              The only part of that statement that should have generated even a little controversy was his characterization of Obama as the first "mainstream" candidate.  But...that's actually true.  Obama is the first African-American candidate whose views don't take him outside of the mainstream of American politics, and who has a level of respect nationwide sufficient to give him a legitimate chance of winning.

              Shirley Chisholm's run was a "statement" run - it was historic, bold campaign to be sure, but one that even the people involved conceded was not designed to result in an actual victory.  It was meant to show that women could run for president.  Jesse Jackson had a core constituency that never really expanded beyond about 1/2 of African-American Democrats (the King and Abernathy families have NEVER liked him), and undermined whatever hope he ever had of being the nominee when he called NYC "Hymietown."  Sharpton and Braun didn't stand a prayer, and everyone knew it.

              That's just my take.  Of course, no one will ever know for sure what Biden meant except Biden.

      •  Um yeah. Very frustrating comment! (9+ / 0-)

        Not yours, Ferraro's.

        I also resent the, "they've done it for so long, now it's our turn" stuff. I felt that way when I was a lot younger - that it was okay to be sexist towards men because "they" had done it to us for so long. Of course in the end that's still an attempt by one side to be unequal to the other. I grew out of that years ago...I'm not sure why that's considered acceptable. I dunno - I think it's fine to promote equality for all people. That's my idea of Feminism. I guess Smeal has a different version.

        I'm a hopemonger.

        by Elise on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 07:43:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  those statements really shocked me (6+ / 0-)

          i could not believe that feminists would advocate what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

        •  I agree that equality for all has to be the (0+ / 0-)

          goal, and it is just silly and short sighted to pursue anything else.

          But in practice, I find it hard to get too torn up by privileged individuals whining about reverse discrimination. Though I know it is wrong, and I try to right it when I can, I also feel that I have had to suck up a lot of shit over the years on my own, and I am sure that they can handle this miniscule amount of shit without my help.

        •  The thing that's so (0+ / 0-)

          offensive about this kind of reasoning is that men aren't some monolithic team that have a captain that directs them and who are all united behind the same agenda.  There are many awful, vile, sexist men and many others who are not.  To respond to men in this way is to hold all men accountable for the actions of those bigots.  This ends up exacerbating the problem as those men who are trying very hard to promote egalitarian equality then themselves feel they are the victims of equality and say to themselves that they shouldn't give a damn and should quit promoting that equality, i.e., we get one of those Loony Toons scenarios where one person pushes another, the other punches back, the other pulls out a knife, the other a gun, until the whole world blows up.  It is amazing to me that Ferraro or any person would ever say such a thing.  These struggles should be about universal and egalitarian justice and equality, not payback or weapons.  Glad to hear you changed your views on this Elise.  I think views such as Ferraro's, while perhaps benefiting her individually, ultimate do tremendous damage to emancipatory movements.

    •  Down The Road (8+ / 0-)

      She probably won't be hurt by it. I agree that other women will. The male reaction to this is just another example for some men to use in their attempt to trivialize sexism, as PD pointed out.

      It's unfortunate that this issue will never be vetted in the media because doing so would open one up to claims of sexism, which again is just another example to be used by men that would trivialize sexism.

    •  I'd love to vote for a woman candidate for (6+ / 0-)

      President.

      But not this one.

      I don't like her DLC positions on public policy issues, but I'm really getting to hate her campaign tactics. Not only because they're slimy, but because to use Iowa as an example, in a caucus state, the average caucus goer is going to be far better motivated and informed than the average voter in an election. Which means they're not only slimy, they're stupid. Which makes questions about her judgment not only proper, but necessary

      While I'll vote for the Democratic nominee, if it's HRC, I'll need to keep a barf bag next to my absentee ballot so I won't blow chunks onto the ballot.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:02:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's worth asking... (8+ / 0-)

        could any woman run and not be bound by these same issues?

        I mean - Let's put Pelosi in that spot instead...or Boxer...don't they all have to try to walk the fine line between "feminine" and "able to provide security" (i.e. masculine). It just seems like we haven't broken out of gender roles here.

        Like, I imagine a woman running for office and just running...why does she need to talk about baking cookies? Why does she need to talk with ease about war? I mean, if she's not good a baking cookies, why can't she just say that - or ignore them altogether. And if she doesn't like war, then why can't she say that too.

        I guess what I would like is for anyone to be able to run for President without having to play gender games.

        I'm a hopemonger.

        by Elise on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:20:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unfortunately, not now. (2+ / 0-)

          The issue will come up again and again because we are a sexist nation. Men and women are both sexist in one way or another because we are conditioned to be so by centuries of inequality. The only difference is that now we are becoming aware of the causes of inequality in our attempt to rid ourselves of it.

          Some will welcome discussion of issues like this as a means to further enlighten themselves. Others will try to maintain the status quo, avoiding discussion, and as some commenter's have so ably shown, shut down the conversation outright with claims of impure motivations.

          I hope the issue does present itself over and over again until we become aware of yet another facet of what leads men and women to see themselves, and each other, in an unequal light.

        •  Historical parallels suggest? (3+ / 0-)

          Does anyone know if these were issues Golda Meier, Indira Ghandi, Maggie Thatcher, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf etc faced as the first women presidents of their respective countries?

          No race has a monopoly on intelligence or beauty . . . there is room for all at the rendezvous of victory--Aime Cesaire

          by Sansouci on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:54:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There was a humorous book out in the early '80s (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Elise

            called Real Men Don't Eat Quiche.  It said you didn't necessarily have to be male to qualify--for instance, Margaret Thatcher was a Real Man.

            That's what it was like with the Iron Lady.  

            Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions.

            by Ice Blue on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 09:38:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Good Diary. (5+ / 0-)

    I mean really good.  Lots of information.

  •  Passive agressive attacks stink regardless (8+ / 0-)

    of gender or any other aspect of someone's background.

    George Bush hid behind his blundering nice but dumb guy image while Rove did calls in the night about Mc Cain's fictional progeny. Hillary hides behind her gender while her minions drag out the sleaziest of lies about Obama's religion.

    All those passive aggressive attacks stink to high heaven.

    "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 07:17:51 PM PST

  •  A necessary diary (5+ / 0-)

    I appreciate the fact that your thoughts expand beyond HRC and this election cycle but have serious ramifications for the campaigns of future female candidates for high office. These very same concerns/criticisms can be applied to  campaigns mounted by people of color or LGBT candidates. At what point do we avoid the "by any means necessary" approach to campaigning and engage in discourse that is honest about legitimate criticisms of a candidate's platform? And avoids muddying the waters by manip[ulating knee jerk versions of identity politics. To what degree do these type of tactics undermine the years of anti-sexist activism by minimizing sexist behavior? Or to what degree does "sexism" so casually bandied about at the apex of US political power ignore the subtleties of Elise's point

    There really is a class and race difference and Feminism represents something entirely different for poor white women vs wealthy white women, poor black women vs wealthy black women, etc.

    Once again a thoughtful commentary in the midst of the circular firing squads that are passing for candidate diaries here at DKos.

    No race has a monopoly on intelligence or beauty . . . there is room for all at the rendezvous of victory--Aime Cesaire

    by Sansouci on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 07:21:02 PM PST

  •  well... (8+ / 0-)

    in the balance, Hillary is such a target of sexist attacks that a few missteps --or even deliberate distortions -- in response seem genuinely trivial.  For reference, I can't stand her -- but as victimization-as-shield stuff goes, this doesn't strike me as being particularly egregious.

  •  What I'd like to know is (0+ / 0-)

    how often did our first female elected Representative, Jeannette Rankin, cry "Waaaaaah!  Sexism!  That's not fair!"  

    My bet is, never.

    That's the difference between the true pioneers and their second-class beneficiaries.  

    Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions.

    by Ice Blue on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 07:50:56 PM PST

  •  This is overblown (7+ / 0-)

    I mean, seriously. Hillary is a woman. Gender related sparring is GOING to happen. Attacking her for being a woman and not being totally silent about it is flat out wrong.

    As for the "pandering to women who stay home", that's ridiculous. She's a career woman. Acknowledging the existence of women who choose to stay home is not pandering.  It's frankly necessary. A lot of women who stay home feel looked down upon by those who don't, and she needs to push against that dynamic. Married women vote more conservative, and stay at home marrieds vote even more conservative. This is in part because they associate liberalism with career women--and rightly so, as liberalism made career women possible. We are at a point where the narrow stereotype needs to expand. The needs of stay-at-home moms are directly aligned with the democratic party.

    •  Who is attacking? (1+ / 0-)

      I believe the point is that Hillary is in a tough spot. She has to appeal to those stay-at-home moms who might be more likely to consider voting Republican later on. How can she appeal to them without losing the votes of their husbands?

      I mean, how can she talk about baking cookies AND talk about keeping the country secure - and maintain support from both bases?

      Of course, that shouldn't even BE a question...that's the point. But it IS a question - and her answer, either way, has consequences both for her and for other women who will follow in her footsteps.

      I'm a hopemonger.

      by Elise on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:03:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, you've turned feminisms into (6+ / 0-)

    an opportunity to attack Clinton.  Maybe this is how it is every week, I don't tune in that often, but I had higher expectations.  Clinton has accomplished more in her life time than thousands of others combined for the feminist cause.  You aren't hiding your outright attempts to degrade her accomplishments under this topic.  For those of us who have worked for the feminist cause throughout our lives, a hit like this on another woman, especially one who has championed feminist causes in her life is shameful.

    •  Who is "you"? (4+ / 0-)

      and have you read the diary?

      Your comment seems to make the assumption that Hillary Clinton IS Feminism. I suppose you could make that argument, but you haven't done so yet.

      I'm a hopemonger.

      by Elise on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:04:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You Win! (4+ / 0-)

      It was stated at the very beginning that the real topic was the use of sexism as a political tool. As predicted, some would see it as an attack on Hillary, as opposed to a discussion of sexism as a political tool.

      I think you are the first to twist the subject from one of a genuine feminist concern to a political hit job, thereby further trivializing the issue of sexism, and reducing it to a perceived political attack.

      •  Two-faced (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marlboro Lite, GregNYC, hopscotch1997

        That's the central claim. That Hillary has no right to cry foul. Because she's well-off and has security guards to protect her. Or something.

        What the diary elides is the requirement that the charge of "two-facedness" be proven. Otherwise it's a hollow criticism, especially when the diary goes well out of the way to acknowledge the contributions Hillary has made toward the advancement of women in business and politics.

        •  I don't even see how you got that (1+ / 0-)

          from reading this diary.

          I'm a hopemonger.

          by Elise on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:21:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did you even read the diary (4+ / 0-)

            Beginning with the title? According to the title, Hillary is in the unique position of using her status as a recipient of sexism as some sort of cudgel, therefore the sexism she has encountered benefits her!

            Perhaps you missed this part:

            Yes, as a politician she is subjected to sexism like all women. But, Hillary will not face the hardship of losing a job or a promotion due to sexism because she has the financial security that most do not. Hillary will not face the anger and hatred that some women face because she has personal security to protect her.

            Yes I certainly see no signs that Hillary has faced any anger or hatred during the last, oh, 15 years or more. The conclusion strikes me as particularly odd, since the suggestion seems to be that sexism shouldn't bother you as long as you have a (presumably male) security detail to protect you. Then the diarist attempt the winning strategy of placing her commitment to the cause higher than that of her subject, who of course is not in any position to respond.

            •  you missed my point (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Elise, Ice Blue

              all women face sexism, as i said, and the negative impacts. the difference is that when a blue collar women loses her job due to discrimination, she faces a financial insecurity that hillary does not face. when a blue collar woman is stalked, she does not have a private security detail to protect her. so, hillary faces the impacts of sexism but not to the degree of most women.  

              •  The degree of most women (3+ / 0-)

                Hillary has been in the public eye for more than 15 years. In that time she has been attacked and vilified by right wing interests more than any other woman. Yet she decided to increase her public profile by gaining political office. Say what you will about blue collar women, they aren't generally on the receiving end of death threats and diatribes on talk radio that stop barely short of advocating violence against her person. There is a reason she, more than some others, requires a robust security detail, which you are trivializing. I'll leave it up to you to glean what that reason may be.

                •  you still miss my point, i think intentionally (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Kronos Blue

                  this diary is not about right wing groups, it is about sexism.

                  and you are wrong to say that blue collar women are not generally on the receiving end of death threats. domestic violence has killed many women, and sexism has been directly linked to domestic violence.

                  •  I don't think mrblifil missed your point... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mrblifil

                    Perhaps your point was poorly made but I kind of resent that there is the implication that we are too stupid to get it. It's not our job as readers to understand what you mean. The writer has an obligation to give us the meaning. It's possible we are reading exactly what subliminally even you don't acknowledge to yourself but it's very much there. If it's not your intention then it is your error here.

                    I'm not a Clinton fan and frankly it chaps me that I even feel the need to put that qualifier in but such as it is here at dKos.

                    However, this strikes me as a lovely little feminine pile-on caged all pretty under a brand name of "Feminisms" with the admonishments and attempted limitations that we should be able to discuss this reasonably since it's about sexism and not Hillary's Two-Faces Sexism -- Gender As Shield & Sword.

                    We are just to ignore the allusions that Clinton has now made sexism harder for all other women forevermore because they now will have more sexism against them while belief in their claims are diminished all because of the gall of that woman who should be tough since:

                    Sorry, but when girls insist on playing hardball with the boys, they don't get to cry foul - or change the game to dodge ball - when they get bruised.

                    Because yeah... it's the women who have to join "the boys" and play by their rules not that there is some point in the middle for all people. Nothing wrong with the way it's always been done.

                    No Siree.

                    Nope, Hill is now responsible for the fallout of all the sexism women will experience from now on out for having the objections she did.

                    Yet I'm wondering why people are spending so much time discounting what Hillary is saying if the pain and suffering of future discounting is such an issue.

                    Not to mention the diary seem to have changed the meaning of some things such as having the Clinton campaign "stating" she was ganged up on even though that appears to be from the same interpretation as the quote just above.

                    Maybe you do have some points but they are completely clouded by what seems to be calculated and underhanded manipulation of a series that used to have some sort of impartiality along with the love-fest of the known Obamates in here praising the man and dissing on Hill while saying it's not a hit piece is very much akin to Cheney saying Halliburton is not getting preference.

                    ~~~~

                    As a survivor of years of Domestic Violence myself and having studied it to gain understanding, I also take issue with the muddling up of that issue as well. DV is very much about power. That women suffer it more than any others shows that women are oppressed but, just as anger is used as an excuse to abuse, so is sexism. An abuser will try to have power over whoever and whatever s/he can. It is opportunistic.

                    I'll tell you one thing an abuser would do though... he'd blame it on Hillary for setting Feminism back not on the fact that he's an ass because abusers take credit but never take responsibility.

                    Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

                    by CSI Bentonville on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 12:25:38 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Haven't Ever Heard That One Before! (1+ / 0-)

                      You say:

                      It's not our job as readers to understand what you mean.

                      I've never heard that before. Seems to me an impossible expectation for a writer to impart understanding to a reader, as if the reader had no choice but to receive understanding.

                      As for the substance of your argument, how could anyone discuss using sexism as a political tool without referring to real world examples, as has been done here?

                      I believe that the opposition to this diary is based on one of two things, or both. Some appear opposed to anyone challenging HRC because she is their candidate. Others appear opposed to anyone challenging HRC because she is a woman.

                      I feel that the diary was intelligently constructed, open to misinterpretation only by those that choose to misinterpret it, and that for the reasons stated above.

                      •  Challenge is not the issue (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        CSI Bentonville

                        Challenge is good. It's the presumptively written list of transgressions attributed to Hillary. These are the diarist's presumptions of guilt and the diarist owns them without even really attempting to convince the reader.    

                        •  no presumptions of guilt here (0+ / 0-)

                          sexism is not a criminal case.

                          i think you stated downthread that you are familiar with my work. well, i don't usually have a bunch of questions in my diary, now do I?

                          The whole purpose of this diary was to present the issue for a discussion. my diary sets out what hillary and her campaign said, has the video, has links to articles that support each statement made in diary by others, not moi.

                          that laid the groundwork for a discussion. it was never intent of diary to present an airtight case with tons of links and reach conclusions.  

                          •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

                            Only "criminals" have guilt?

                            Basically, it is: Hillary is wrong, this is why, now let's discuss what is so wrong about what she did and how it's ruined everything for other woman from now until the end of time.

                            Then it was presented over and over again that the explicit and specific damning examples were only to open a general discussion.

                            One of the things in life I find funny is those who say to someone who is having a problem that, 'no one else has before.' As if that somehow negates the current issue.

                            I'm sorry you think your food was awful. No one else has ever complained to me about the food.

                            As if past food has anything to do with current food, or that no one said anything before because the food was great not that it wasn't worth bothering.

                            All the more reason for people to speak up.

                            As I was reading this diary over again after reading the comments through and getting dismissed as angry and misdirected (and not getting discussion over the points I brought in) I had to laugh. The defense of this diary is pretty much everything it accuses Hillary of doing.

                            As defined by you, I have a problem with this diary because I'm angry and further it's misdirected (now you say I'm funny and reading too much into it). You have negatively defined who your adversaries are to diminish their points and to avoid addressing those points. But you aren't taking any responsibility for what you've have put out.

                            Further, you've taken what others have said about what Clinton said and upped the distortion to change the meaning of what happened and what she said to fit what you want to present and want others to see.

                            At least one of the videos you presented is no longer available to view and you frequently refer to "an article" which really is a column and very opinionated but not what I would call factual (more like falafel).

                            This isn't a whole lot different than what happened to Oprah and her evil union ways.

                            There are many approaches that could have opened up discussion to that which you wanted this discussion limited to but this approach wasn't it. It's not that we are inherently flawed and unable to see the greatness of the diary. A lot of Feminisms regulars didn't even show for this one. Since this has been an exercise in assumptions I'll wager they did what I usually do when I see a hit diary and just backed on away. My problem with that is silence is taken as agreement rather than what the reality is.

                            Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

                            by CSI Bentonville on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 02:44:54 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Oh that's rich (0+ / 0-)

                        open to misinterpretation only by those that choose to misinterpret it,

                        Because as you define it only those who are wrong would have any problem with it and those who are wrong are Hillary lovers or women can do no wrong idealists... except then how do we explain the diary being written by a woman?

                        Faith is such a wonderful thing. So is absolution. :)

                        I love Brussels sprouts.

                        There's certainly a plethora of ways to bring up and discuss what the subject of the diary was claimed to be without making it all about what the diary did; presenting a court case for the rigged jury to discuss.

                        If this is supposed to be a discussion then tell me why PDNC dismisses everything I've said as that I'm angry (I'm not) and not worthy of addressing (which you say is because I'm deep in with Hillary which is another untruth) yet recs your comments and not mine or anyone who doesn't agree or back the diary. The discussion is there. Didn't go as wanted...?

                        Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

                        by CSI Bentonville on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 01:35:56 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Right wing groups (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    CSI Bentonville

                    are PREDICATED on sexism. Wake up. If your thesis is sexism, then RW groups are fair game to discuss. I never said that blue collar women are never on the receiving end of death threats. What I intended, as I'm sure you well know, was to say that Hillary is on the receiving end of death threats from complete strangers. Please don't lecture me on the subject of domestic violence, unless you have some new information to tell me.

              •  I think it is a mistake to trivialize (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mrblifil, CSI Bentonville

                sexism in any of its forms. And you are doing this, you are saying that because she has the resources to overcome the discrimination that she is faced with that the discrimination is not as important as when it is lodged at women of fewer resources.

                This is a mistake. The most likely people to effect big changes in our society are those women of resources that have been able to overcome. It is important to acknowledge that some women are much worse off due to discrimination, but trivializing the experiences of relatively resourceful individuals doesn't serve anyone.

                •  no, not at all (0+ / 0-)

                  i am saying all women face sexism, hillary included. BUT, some of the impacts of sexism will be harder for some women than for hillary. if a blue collar worker loses a job due to sexism, that will be a stronger negative impact on financial security than it would be for hillary. that does not mean that the overall impacts of sexism is less for hillary, only that some impacts of sexism will be harder for other women.

                  •  Hmmm... yes actually (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mrblifil

                    I'm not sure how one can put a value on the negative impacts. She does have some advantages but just the hits she takes here on dKos -- a site purported to be organized around electing Democrats -- would fell me. Her position puts her in direct line of fire of incredible amounts of abuse and from untold amounts that I don't think are appreciated.

                    Is the loss of a job a bigger negative impact than perhaps an eventual suicide? How can these impacts and the many others be measured and then compared especially given all other factors?

                    Further does someone who is in a certain position in society deserve less protection?

                    Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

                    by CSI Bentonville on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 12:40:17 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i think your anger is misdirected (0+ / 0-)

                      while this site may take hits on hillary, i have not. i wrote a diary for feminisms that included section on how she was the target of sexist attacks by tweety and msm. i did one other diary on her months ago involving her war vote. i don't have a candidate yet. and have generally not commented in candidate diaries simply because they are filled with hits.

                      •  Now see, I'm convinced (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mrblifil

                        That you interpret that I have anger and further that it which you have assigned to me is misdirected confirms that the same tactics were done to Clinton.

                        Is there some advantage to defining me in this discussion?

                        ~~~~

                        Did you explain and link to the diary you refer to here and elsewhere? Or are we to just know?

                        I believe you don't have a candidate yet. However, it does appear, whether it is your intention or not, that you have something against Clinton or at least are trying to curry favor with those who do. I'm telling you this as someone who at this point doesn't care who the nominee is because each and every one would be better than what is in the house now. What it appears to be may indeed be different than what you intend but that doesn't change the presentation.

                        There are many allusions and word choices used in the diary and through out the comments that Obama is the one and as the author of the diary and the host of the comments down to those you recommend and those you don't not to mention how those such as me are discounted -- for instance, being angry... that is misdirected no less -- that belies your words.

                        But, you did manage to put aside the issues I was talking about and the questions I asked. Nice redirect. :)

                        Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

                        by CSI Bentonville on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 01:16:10 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  LOL, you are funny! (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Kronos Blue

                          i did not link to my other two feminism diaries on sexism, both made rec list i think, and are easy to find on my page. one note: both diaries had pics and in one diary the pics were crucial to text. but i ran into pb problem, they said i overused my bandwidth, and i thought they meant i had too many pics, so i deleted pics from account page, so pics no longer in diary.

                          also, i am not leaning toward any candidate yet. the only candidate i loved was gore. as for the leading candidates, hillary, obama and edwards, i have things i like and things i don't like. i'm in no rush to make decision. shit, almost a year before election.

                          so, you read too much into diary. it is simply about the use of sexism as political tool. just as i oppose people being sexist toward hillar, i also oppose the use of sexism as a tool. it really is just that simple.

                          as kronus blue stated upthread, most of the critics of my diary who are looking for ulterior motives (and i'm not saying you fit here), most likely are hillary supporters who go around making hits in the campaign diaries.

                          we had a discussion limited to the sexism issue before they arrived. and no one was holding it against hillary, just do not want to see sexism used this way again.

                          •  Why is it you define the problem is with me? (0+ / 0-)

                            I've not tried to define you as incompetent, shrill, inexperienced, silly, an idiot, snotty, stupid or too female to do a good job.

                            I do think you messed up here though. Not that you can't do anything correctly mind you. I've seen you do stunning diaries.

                            However to defend it, first you say I'm angry (which you further say is misdirected) and don't address what I discuss, then say I'm funny, and further that I've read too much into all that you presented which funnily enough is all about reading too much into what Clinton has said or done.

                            With you we aren't allowed to be anything but what you interpret and say we are. What we say only has your meaning. Do you realize that's an abusive trait?

                            No one was holding it against Hillary? I guess when one doesn't want to see what they don't want to see then they can make claims like that. I love the one where Obama is compared as being so much better because he so far hasn't leveled any charges of racism yet. He's so dreamy.

                            Yes, "they" are the problem aren't they? It has nothing to do with anything else and if only "they" were banished from participating then everything including civilized bashings would go well. Don't "they" know that's why "they" aren't on the mailing list that announces when the Feminisms diaries go up?

                            That's why "they" don't show up as quickly as the good people here do.

                            ~~~~

                            Really, it's not my job to go out and find everything to back up your claims.

                            Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

                            by CSI Bentonville on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 01:57:11 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i responded to each comment (0+ / 0-)

                            i said you were angry because your tone about this site hitting hillary sounded angry.

                            i said you were funny, because you believe that I have something against Clinton or "trying to curry favor with those who do." Then you say that I think obama is "the one" based on words used in the diary or comments I rec. I'm sorry but this diary is truly NOT about any candidate. i only mentioned obama in the diary because that provided the full context to hillary's misleading statement in the video.

                            then you say, i've not made my case by presenting facts to support what i say. but when i presented the facts, as with obama, then i am supporting some candidate.

                            it's a lose lose with you, which is why i have not addressed all your claims.

                            all my facts in the diary are supported by links. i paraphrased what was said except when i quoted. so i presented enough facts for the limited purpose of raising the issue for purposes of discussion.

                            when people were sexist against hillary, i did the same. i'm not gonna ignore raising an issue about whether she was sexist just because some feel uncomfortable. no one should be treating others in a sexist manner, male or female.

                          •  You continue to try to define (0+ / 0-)

                            You read into my words anger... then you say I believe things which my supposed beliefs seem to be your defense.

                            It's not about any candidate yet Hillary is in the title and essentially the complete reason and subject of the diary and what is up for carving.

                            You say it's a lose/lose with me, but avoid the idea that there is any flaw with your presentation.

                            I agree with your points, but I find the way they were raised appalling. You've decided she is something and found what you can to support that and pushed it through and changed it when needed.

                            What you've done here is exactly as you claim Hillary (oh and Bush in the same comment; BRILLIANT) has done:

                            not at all (0 / 0)
                            the campaign made it clear they were talking about sexism without using the word.

                            just as bush was clear that he was linking iraq to 9/11 without expressly stating the same. the message was received loud and clear by the public.

                            a person does not have state it expressly when they can convey same message implicitly. the impact, however, is the same.

                            Oh but hey, you're the victim here of us...

                            here, hillary quickly picked up the victim card rather than fighting back on substantive grounds.

                            Distortion is so much fun to play with. :)

                            Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

                            by CSI Bentonville on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 02:59:23 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

      •  Discussing sexism as a political skill does not (4+ / 0-)

        need Hillary Clinton to add to the discussion.  The diary trivializes feminism, my comment does not.  The use of one particular woman, who just happens to be Clinton, negates your claim that it isn't about her, but about sexism.  Those of us who have truly participated in the movement through the seventies to the present date can recognize a misdirected use of feminism, sexism and their definitions when we see it, and it is disgusting.

        •  This diary would never have been written (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hopscotch1997

          if Hillary was not running. If anyone seriously doubts that, in their private mind, regardless of what they may or may not post in this comments section, I have no problems considering them in serious lack of judgment.

        •  it is hillary who charged sexism (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mjd in florida

          recently in the news. why should we be forbidden to discuss that issue?

          •  Where? When? She claimed they "piled on", (4+ / 0-)

            like the Republican candidates were said to "pile on" Mike Huckabee today, because she's "ahead." I thought it was appropriate to address the pile on and she attributed it to front runner status. I really haven't seen her use sexism as a tool. And I didn't think she over did it.

            •  her campaign staff led the sexism charge (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mjd in florida

              and then hillary presumably approved her campaign ad which was posted while her staff led the way with men ganging up on hillary. It was later that hillary finally spoke up.  hillary did not speak out to say it was her front runner status until the sexism card had already been played by her staff. it is quite typical for candidates to use this strategy to distance themselves.

              •  when did the campaign (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                heartofblue, CSI Bentonville

                say that Hillary was attacked by the other candidates because of sexism? Can you provide one example?

                •  read the articles (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Philoguy

                  the campaign was careful to use piling on and references to men ganging up on hillary as a euphemism for sexism.

                  look at the news reports. everyone who objectively looked at what her staff said interpreted piling on as euphemism for sexism.

                  no experienced campaign staff for any of the candidates would be so sloppy as to expressly use the word sexism when they did not have a leg to stand on factually.

                  •  there was a dog whistle message there (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kck, CSI Bentonville

                    but you are making a lot of hay out of an insinuation: two-faced? undermining feminism? These charges strike me as out of proportion precisely because the campaign was careful not to make explicit claims that they couldn't defend.

                  •  I read all of the articles (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    CSI Bentonville

                    I also am familiar with "piling on" as it's common and not a sexist act. In fact I had just heard the same phraseology used with Huckabee's treatment at yesterday's debate as I was reading your diary.

                    It is very easy for someone who dislikes/disrespects Senator Clinton or her candidacy or positions to choose the frame you use. And popular in these parts. But it's not THE frame, just A frame, and one that will ALWAYS be available given the basic biologics of this campaign. But imho, it's false.

                    From my perspective, your title and thesis lack substaniation. Without Senator Clinton's name and flimsy references (Kathleen Parker?) it's useful as a generic springboard for discussion...But the fruits of cultural diversity are only barely significant in their stamping out of sexism - there's so much more, it's so much bigger and more difficult to work through than simple "sexism." The use of sexism as a political (and business, and academia, and education, and family...) tool is absolutely an important topic...

                    You're a good writer, one I enjoy. Since we're divided on the basis of your premise though, the treatment falls down, albeit the work you put in, so, this is one I can't rec.

                    •  sorry you feel that way (0+ / 0-)

                      but as a lawyer, i can tell you that the fact that piling on is used by hillary as euphemism for sexism and used by others for other meanings is a common occurrence. not everyone defines words the same way. context must be considered.

                      when i was law clerk, we always had to decipher how the parties were using words.

                      for example, bush can say that he does not torture because he defines torture different from everyone on this planet. his statement is dishonest because he knows that people listening may assume that he is using the word as everyone does.

                      in this case, hillary's campaign staff used the word piling on, and then explained its meaning by referring to men ganging up on her at debate. even feminists looked at that context and agreed that hillary was saying that the male candidates were being sexist or that just the gender of participants made the debate sexist.

                      •  No need to be sorry, I just disagree (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        CSI Bentonville

                        Sexism is always present. Your treatment of the topic is yours. As a feminist who punched through the glass ceiling in a male field a long time ago, and an age cohort of Senator Clinton's, I can say confidently that no matter what is said at a podium, 5 people will interpret 5 ways. If they're 5 lawyers they can come up with 6 or more ways upon request.

                        I guess my main criticism here, now that I have this further input (thanks, btw) is your extrapolation from the fact that gender is present so, so is sexism - which I agree with given it's on a spectrum - to Hillary used sexism as a tool with which I disagree.

                        •  the reason i say she used as tool (0+ / 0-)

                          is because:

                          1.  her campaign used pile on as euphemism for sexism, mostly by backchanneling with chats with the press and the press reported as such.
                          1.  if you look at video of debate, and transcript, there is no evidence of sexism unless you define by fact that she was outnumbered by gender of the total number of participants of debate.
                          1.  the press was excoriating hillary after the debate for having lost the debate, questioning her positions etc. Once her campaign raised the sexism charge, the focus shifted to the male candidates.
                          1. After the focused shift to the other candidates, then hillary speaks out and say, oh, no piling on means she was front runner.

                          So, the charge of sexism stopped the bad press of her debate performance and her positions on substantive issues. So, yes, it was used as a political tool.

                          And, then feminists agreed that she had every right to use sexism in that manner. To which I strongly disagree.

                          •  Wow! (0+ / 0-)

                            So feminists agreed she was using sexism as a tool... so I'm not a feminist then?

                            Feminists agreed that she had every right to use sexism in that manner to which you strongly disagreed so you are not a feminist either?

                            And I had no idea that in the NFL when they pile-on the guy with the ball that it's is all sexism. It gives all new meaning to the game for me.

                            ~~~~

                            I do wonder how all this would change if there was more than one woman running.

                            Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

                            by CSI Bentonville on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 04:15:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

        •  You Made My Point (2+ / 0-)

          I mentioned in a comment above that some men would point to this as an example of excuses some men would use to trivialize sexism. And their point would make sense because of the campaigns blunder of arguing that the men were piling on because they were challenging a woman.

          Those that attempted to raise the issue, in particular men, were labeled as sexist. Some genuinely are. Others are simply afraid to discuss it for fear of being labeled similarly.

          You are doing something similar here. You are basically saying that this is a political attack because it uses Hillary as an example. Who else could the diarist have chosen to illustrate the point?

          As for your lengthy experience and dedication to feminist causes, I feel it is sadly lacking in this instance because you have allowed your zeal for your candidate to cloud the very real issue of sexism as a political tool.

      •  Political attacks (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        heartofblue, CSI Bentonville

        on Hillary are very common here, if you haven't noticed.

        If you give someone 10 blue balls and 10 yellow squares, and then blind them and give them a ball, they'll assume it's blue.

        A generalized discussion of sexism as a political tool, as opposed to merely an attack on a candidate, would have included some examples of other ways that sexism has been used as a political tool and what generalizations we can draw from these examples. Since the diarist chose only to focus on one candidate, there's no way to distinguish whether this is an issue diary or a candidate diary.

        The diarist 'predicted' that some would see this as an attack on Hillary, because he/she knew that it was (at least in part) an attack on Hillary.

    •  A "hit"? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mjd in florida, Kronos Blue

      so now if anyone wants to discuss whether something is sexism, after a candidate claims the male candidates were sexist, it is now a hit job?

  •  Jesus fucking christ on a stick (4+ / 0-)

    Are you honestly suggesting Lazio's approach in the debate was NOT sexist? How is it "using sexism as a shield" to point out outright examples of sexist behavior? And here's a news flash. I challenge you to provide an example when Hillary overtly challenged Lazio for being sexist? She didn't need to, the evidence was there for the naked eye to see.

  •  News bulletin (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GregNYC, hopscotch1997, natalie902

    I found this newsworthy:

    There is no question that the media [snip] has treated Hillary in a sexist manner, which kossacks have denounced.

    (emphasis mine)

    Must have fallen asleep that day.

    Like many women before her, Hillary should not refer to herself as woman, should accept her voice described as shrill, her laugh as a cackle, should try simultaneously to appear tough, but feminine.  She should ignore little girls and grandmothers coming to her events because she is the first woman who really has a shot at presidency.  

    Hillary should not respond to bullshit attacks on her candidacy, demure politely and thank John Edwards for attacks on her character and for suggesting that he (wink, wink) can campaign anywhere in the country.  She sould defer to male opponents who say somehow, there is this history of attacks on her and couldn't we just get elect and be friendly and nominate (*me*) instead of Hillary?? They fail to mention that she got attacked for being a ***strong woman*** and for *** fighting back***, things which nice girls should not engage in.

    You do not have a monopoly on speaking for feminists.  There are many of us on this board, and we like Hillary just fine.  May I ask you politely to buzz off with your concerns??

    Sometimes, a cackle is the best medicine!

    by ghost2 on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:14:59 PM PST

    •  Pick any of the sexist comments (1+ / 0-)

      about Hillary - and you will see Kossacks denouncing them. I have trollrated each one I've seen myself when I had the TR's.

      Also - who (in the primary) has attacked Hillary for being a strong woman? Do you mean media? Or do you mean Republicans?

      I'm a hopemonger.

      by Elise on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:23:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hopscotch1997

        the 15 year attack on her from right wing has everything to do with her being a strong woman and you know it.  

        The guys on the democratic side (and their supporters) are trying to ride that wave, rather than denouncing it. (by saying, "well it's not Hillary's fault, but it's out there ....". Yeah, right)

        Sometimes, a cackle is the best medicine!

        by ghost2 on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 09:24:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  i wrote an earlier feminism diary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DebtorsPrison

      which cited examples of tweety and other sexism against hillary and the commenters agreed. think it also made rec list. so, yes, you did fall asleep.

    •  Yes media sexism toward HRC should be denounced (3+ / 0-)

      The question is what to do when HRC brings up the specter of sexism amongst her rivals to avoid talking about critiques of her policies or distract from an ineffective debate appearance? And more to the point, what to think, when sexist behavior may not have been exhibited?

      No race has a monopoly on intelligence or beauty . . . there is room for all at the rendezvous of victory--Aime Cesaire

      by Sansouci on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:47:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  She has never done that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        heartofblue, hopscotch1997

        It is a figment of your imagination.

        she put a video there with everyone attacking her, and everyone happened to be male.  She can't help that, can she?  Then she got attacked, because apparently even though that wasn't her point, the gang of men did not like the visuals.  

        Next time, she should get Halle Barry to play B.O. and Julia Roberts to play Edwrads, so as not to hurt anyone's feelings!

        Sometimes, a cackle is the best medicine!

        by ghost2 on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 09:21:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, this is a tough one (5+ / 0-)

    I'm jumping in after having read the diary and the first 42 comments, and my thoughts are all over the place.

    My gut reaction is that it was a poor tactical choice, and had an element of using sexism as a shield, but that was only a part of it.  FishOutofWater above labeled it 'passive-aggressive.'  It seems to me that the Clinton campaign tried to play the 'piling-on' aspect in several ways: partly as sexist, partly as portraying her opponents as desperate because she was the frontrunner.  It just struck me as a weak tactic all around, given that overall she should want to portray herself as tough and decisive, able to stand up to whatever criticism and crisis may be thrown at her.

    So my impression is that the sexist element was just one part of a rather scattershot response, and does not represent a major element of the Clinton campaign strategy.  The question remains, will that foolish attempt to even try and play the sexism card have a negative impact all women struggling against sexism?

    I don't feel,it has to.  Despite the regrettable quotes of a few feminists in support of 'what's good for the goose...' tactics offered by the diarists, it seems to me that the Clinton campaign has pretty much recognized it was a bad choice and has not used it much since.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but after all, the diary itself is almost entirely about the Philadelphia debate and it immediate aftermath, and does not offer many examples from different times during the campaign.  I think the tactic will disappear if we greet it with disdain and condemnation, and do not try and endlessly rehash it. (This is not a criticism of the diary!  I'm glad we're having this discussion.  I just don't think it has to become a major issue in the campagn if we don't make it one ourselves.)

    As for using the idea of solidarity, of gender pride to attract votes, well, I don't think that's such a bad thing.  No, no one should vote for Clinton simply because she is a woman.  But damn it, it is exciting, this prospect of finally electing the first woman president, getting past this embarrassing and shameful national prejudice.  Or it is damn exciting, the prospect of electing the first black or hispanic president, given the history of racism in the US.  I don't mind the idea of that being used to generate some excitement for the candidate.

    Here in Philadelphia, I'm still trying to choose between a long-time female and fairly progressive woman state rep, and a progressive male challenger.  I feel she has lost her way somewhat in representing  the city and progressive causes, and I like many of his positions and the fact that his background is in grassroots organizing.  In a long email I sent the challenger discussing my thoughts on the race, I explicitly told him that gender was an issue in my decision.  Given the vast under-representation of women in politics, when I have a choice between two candidates of roughly equal political beliefs, gender WILL play a strong role in my decision.

    Yeah, electing the first woman president is exciting.  I have no problems with Clinton's campaign using that fact.

    Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?

    by DebtorsPrison on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:35:09 PM PST

    •  Gender and Race in 08 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elise

      Yeah, electing the first woman president is exciting.  I have no problems with Clinton's campaign using that fact.

      It's neither here nor there to ask this question along race in regard to Obama's campaign. The bigger question  is would it work or would it drive away white voters, who upon hearing that would expect the Black Liberation Flag to be flying above the White House.

      Regardless, I had a discussion with a friend of mine several days ago and said to him,"I am excited about the prospect of a women or an African American president. But I could think of other women beside HRC, I'd rather see in that position (i.e. more progressive). But I can't think of another African American male besides Barack Obama."

      No race has a monopoly on intelligence or beauty . . . there is room for all at the rendezvous of victory--Aime Cesaire

      by Sansouci on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:43:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  my hope is that hillary does not use again (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DebtorsPrison, Elise, Philoguy

      and i would love to see a woman finally become president. but i don't think we have to lose our principles to get there.

  •  Sexism IS Present in Election (Primary, Too) (6+ / 0-)

    Although, I am not supporting Hillary Clinton in the primary (I'm for John Edwards), I do feel that she has been scrutinized in a sexist way by all sides: the GOP, the MSM, and even other Dems.

    I think I am disgusted most by the MSM. I remember in an early Democratic debate on MSNBC, Chris Matthews spent a substantial amount of post-debate analysis talking about Clinton's jewelry instead of her positions. Who can forget the whole "Hillary's Cackle" story, which was even run on CNN, MSNBC, etc (as if it were some great news story). If Hillary shows strength and power, then she is portrayed as domineering, shrill, a "bitch" (and much worse regarding sexual orientation and even genitalia). However, if she backs down, then you hear the MSM questioning if she would have the strength to run the presidency. Her marriage is a common topic among right-wingers. Who among us hasn't heard that "if she couldn't control her own husband, then how can she control the country" gem? Of course, the many male candidates with much less than stellar marriage records are barely questioned about it. Because of course, if their marriage failed, it was probably their wife's fault anyway, right? (snark).

    I may disagree with a lot of Hillary Clinton's positions and past actions, but that doesn't change the fact that it disgusts me seeing her held to a different (and pettier, more shallow) standard in political analysis.

    •  What's so bad about being called a bitch? (0+ / 0-)

      I always wore it as a badge of honor.  

      But then, I'm in my forties and never been married.

      Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions.

      by Ice Blue on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 09:54:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the reappropriation of that word is coming (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CSI Bentonville

        along quite nicely. There is even that pop song called Bitch, a feminist anthem if ever there was one.

        But still, it is an inappropriate way for political commentators to refer to female politician. A leetle bit deference is called for.

      •  It's bad because it's being used as a sign (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CSI Bentonville

        of disrespect. I am perfectly aware that the word "bitch" has been redefined by some parts of the feminist movement to show the positive aspects of female strength.

        However, I don't think that the so-called typical American society defines it that way. If someone, especially a male, calls me a "bitch", I am going to take serious offense at it. It's used as a method of putting down women's ideas and anger.

        Right-wingers, along with many in the MSM, try to play up the whole Hillary as this domineering emasculator who would ruin the country. When they call her a bitch, they are contributing to that stereotype.

        In my opinion, that's what's wrong with being called a bitch.

    •  Matthews is pretty (0+ / 0-)

      awful all around.  The sense I get is that he has a very visual approach to the world.  Whenever he evaluates any politician he zeros in on their physical presence in some way, evaluating them in terms of their visual media presence or their "aura".  For instance, he went on and on about how Dean would roll up his sleeves and has made similar observations about Obama with his open shirt.  Matthews seems to focus on raw gut reactions to politicians, often giving very superficial analyses of their positions.  In rhetorical terms he focuses on ethos and pathos, not logos.  I think this is across the board with him, although he can be creepy towards the women that appear on his show.  The flaw with this approach is obvious:  con-men are highly adept at cultivating a powerful sense of pathos and presence.  On the other hand, there's something to Matthews technique for evaluating politicians.  He's sensitive to those immediate emotional reactions that different personas evoke in the American people.  Sometimes I think democrats are so egalitarian that they evaluate candidates purely in terms of their resumes, failing to look at this dimension of pathos that has such a powerful effect on who people will follow and vote for.  I suspect that this contributed in no small part to our loss in the last two presidential elections.  Kennedy had it.  Bill Clinton had it.  I think Obama has it.  Edwards might have it.  I don't think Clinton has it.

  •  a question and short screed... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elise, kck, CSI Bentonville, Sansouci

    ...only tangentially related.  At what point does being in a minority and being a target, as a member of that minority, drive one to see things that aren't there?  I'm not being Hillary specific here, because there's no way to know how "victimized" her campaign feels (I use quotes, as well, since she's one priviledged-ass victim), or how deeply it feeds their perceptions of what is going on.  But I do know this is something one can see in any number of minority folks who achieve visible positions.

    I agree that the overall goal of everyone should be equality, and cheap shots don't help, tend to make real complaints easier to dismiss...but this is so pervasive, on issues of race, gender, sexuality, that I can't seem to narrow it in my mind to Clinton, or see the example as having much impact on women generally.   "It's because I'm a ___" is a generic American complaint.  My feeling -- right or wrong -- is that most people consistently dismiss such claims (even when they are true), and they are as lasting in impact as waves on a beach.

    What really got my back up, I guess -- why this felt pernicious -- is idea that other people handling their victimization poorly, or percieving victimization where none exists, is bad for all the members of that class.  For Clinton, it's pretty much "who cares" on my end -- she's got a lot of cookies no matter what happens, and her victimization is entirely in terms of being a presidental candidate who nobody likes.  But I see this argument applied over and over again to minority folks.  I think it's a priviledge that I've managed to not have a huge chip on my shoulder, and see nasty shit around every corner.  It's also the result of no small amount of work.  Not everyone has those tools, or is so lucky.   We drive marginalized people nuts, and then -- instead of pointing to the conditions which drove them around the bend, we critique their handling of it.  It may be, in limited terms, fair -- but I don't think it helps social justice, much.

    In this highly contentious thread, I realize these poorly formed thoughts likely have limited traction, but wanted to post 'em anyway :}

  •  Los Angeles Times article (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philoguy, CSI Bentonville

    http://www.latimes.com/...

    The Times article explicitly says that women are divided about Clinton and how, for her, college-educated women are a tough crowd.

    My two sisters (both college graduates) are pro-Clinton, the elder one (an attorney) adamantly so.    But when pressed why they are so, I come away with a feeling that they see Clinton as both a door-opener and a crown for lifetimes lived in incomplete liberation/feminism.  Her...lack of liberalism...is irrelevant to them.  Her votes regarding Iraq and Iran are irrelevant.

    I'm working all this out, right now.  I wish Al Gore had run so it's hard for me to get excited by the others except in the long view to next November versus anybody the Republicans put up.

    Hunter S. Thompson wrote, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." I want to know who has been getting my checks all these years.

    by algebrateacher on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 09:41:03 PM PST

  •  I think this is putting it too simply (4+ / 0-)

    There is no question that the media (with Mr. Tweety at the top of the list) has treated Hillary in a sexist manner, which kossacks have denounced.

    There has been an active conversation about sexism here, and Clinton's campaign has brought this conversation to the forefront. In my years reading this blog, there has been a definite change in the level of sophistication of the discussion. IMHO, dkos is definitely addressing sexism better than it was three years ago.

    But there are still an awful lot of posters who will go to the mat defending the use of blatantly sexist language, like "shrill." And it has been a fight to gain common acceptance of the idea that Clinton's experience as a women is a legitimate factor to consider. I think that we have won that fight, and most kossack's now accept that women's issues are a legitimate concern in presidential politics and that there are legitimate reasons to feel that Clinton will be good for women's issues. But that didn't just happen all by itself, some of us have worked hard to get this to be recognized.

  •  Just like Bush using 911 and Saddam (1+ / 0-)

    in the same sentences, to create a false impression, in order to make the case for invading Iraq and getting Saddam. Hillary, in an add, used the sexual innuendo of "piling on", along with several clips of her name being mentioned by the male candidates, giving their legitimate policy questions a "piling on" effect, fitting the "sexist" theme and creating a false impression of sexism. Just like the combined mentionings of 991 and Saddam created the false impression of a Saddam/911 connection.

  •  thanks everyone for a great chat (0+ / 0-)

    i'm glad we could discuss this issue without it becoming a pie fight or attacks against candidates or people.

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