Posted by: iam0nly1 | June 18, 2008

Hillary Speaks Using Our Voice

Hillary on cover of New York MagazineIn what the author deems the “last interview of her campaign,” Hillary gives voice to not only her frustrations concerning the disgusting sexism within the media and the campaign, but ours as well. 

For months now, my e-mail box has been full of messages from women across the country, explaining what Hillary’s run meant to them, why it was so important. The reasons vary depending on age and race and region, but the one element almost all my correspondents express in common is a furious resentment at the press for what they see as blatant misogyny in the coverage of Clinton.

When I mention this to Hillary, she laughs and exclaims, “I’d love to get a look at your e-mail!” And then, more soberly, she goes on, “There’s a reason for the resentment. The level of dismissive and condescending comments, not just about me—what do I care?—but about the people who support me and in particular the women who support me, has been shocking. Shocking to women and to fair-minded men. But what has really been more disappointing to me is how few voices that have a platform have spoken out against it. And that’s really why you seen this enormous grassroots outrage. There is no outlet. It is rare that you have anybody on these shows or in a position of responsibility at major publications who really says, ‘Wait a minute! What are we talking about here? I have a wife! I have a daughter! I want the best for them.’

Clinton is fairly worked up now, but she’s far from finished. “I didn’t think I was in a position to take it on because it would have looked like it was just about me. And I didn’t think it was just about me. So the only time we took it on was in the thing about Chelsea, which was so far beyond the bounds, I mean, what planet are we living on? But nobody said anything until I made it an issue. So I just want everybody to really think hard about the larger lesson here. I know you can’t take me out of the equation, because I’m in the center of the storm. But it’s much bigger than me. And women know that. Because if it were just about me, those who sympathize with me would say, ‘I’m so sorry.’ But instead it’s, ‘Wait a minute! This is not just about her! It’s about us! And when are we going to see somebody stand up and say, What are you doing here?’

Clinton made a point of not naming names in the course of her media critique. But when I ask her former staff for particular examples of sexism in the press, they exhibit less restraint. “The whole MSNBC crew,” says Lewis. “I mean, at what point in Chris Matthews’s career do we choose? Then there was night on CNN when [Republican strategist] Alex Castellanos said, Well, it’s appropriate to call some women a white bitch because that’s what they are.” What especially galls Clinton’s fans about her coverage is what they perceive as a double standard regarding race and gender that (among other biases, in their view) tilted the media playing field dramatically toward Obama. The argument, roughly put, is that whereas casual sexism takes place with impunity, the slightest hint of racial bias provokes gales of protest. I ask Clinton if she agrees. She says she does: “The contrast between the outrage over anything concerning race compared to anything concerning gender was incredibly out of balance, I thought.”

That is the voice of a true leader. Thank you Hillary for speaking truth. You will always have our enduring support and loyalty. 




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