The Widdershins

The Vilifying Vagina v. the Palliative Penis…

Posted on: September 16, 2016

Please forgive me for slapping you across the computer screen with that title without first offering a courteous good morning.  So, good morning Widdershins and a happy Friday to you.hillary-on-the-plane

For quite some time there has been a cavalier attitude in the media of, “The press is treating Hillary differently.”  Such an acknowledgement is followed by examples of their sins, a limp mea culpa, a yawn, and the enduring repartee first learned in the schoolyard of, “Yeah, so what?”

That bothered me something fierce since just calling it out again and again does nothing to get to the “why” of it.  To write these mea culpa articles saying that Hillary’s relationship with the media is irretrievably broken is to stand by and watch the offensive behavior, yawn, and in essence say, “Yeah, that’s bad.”

It’s not like this treatment started with this campaign.  It has been going on since the 1970s.  Here’s one of the very first interviews Hillary ever granted.

She was a month into her spell as first lady of Arkansas and was being interviewed on local television.

“You don’t really fit the image we have created for the governor’s wife in Arkansas,” says her inquisitor, a man with a brutal hair parting and disconcerting tie.

“You’re not a native. You’ve been educated in liberal eastern universities. You’re less than 40. You don’t have any children. You don’t use your husband’s name. You practice law. Does it concern you that maybe other people feel that you don’t fit the image that we’ve created for the governor’s wife in Arkansas?”

Hillary answered, “I think that each person should be assessed and judged on that person’s own merits. I’m not 40 but that hopefully will be cured by age, eventually I will be,” she quipped.

Just because this behavior has been going on for nearly 40 years doesn’t answer the “why” either.  If anything the behavior has gotten worse.  Just look at these two charts cataloging campaign coverage:

media-bias-chart-485x296

trump-coverage-485x285

This explanation is advanced:

There are two possible explanations for the bias against Hillary Clinton in the media. The first is that the media is punishing her for the scandals that occurred during her husband’s presidency, but the most likely explanations are related to gender bias. Individuals who hold executive positions in media companies are overwhelmingly white and male.

These are not the only theories being advanced.  There is the theory based in basic jealousy that goes something like this, “The Clintons have had their turn, now it’s someone else’s turn,” —  another ethical tenet right out of the elementary schoolyard.

Here are three more theories, one picking up on the sexism:

Sexism is one: Clinton is still struggling to fight the perception that she is not “presidential,” or that she lacks charisma, something that is rooted in the many ways in which being a female candidate makes her, for some people, uncomfortable and confusing to deal with.

Donald Trump’s personality is another: With a rival who is so flippant and resistant to any accountability, Clinton remains as the only candidate who can legitimately interact with the press. The media is increasingly numb to Trump’s outrageous, incendiary, and dangerous statements, due to the frequency and regularity with which he recites them.

But there may be another reason Clinton is held to a higher standard: the press essentially thinks she will win. Therefore, they pay more attention to her and take her more seriously than they do Trump.

hillary-at-u-nThese last two are quite entertaining.  Trump gets a pass because he’s crazy and Hillary gets lambasted sixteen ways from Sunday because she is sane; therefore, she’s going to win so she should be happy with the maltreatment.

I’ve read other reasons, like the fact that $120 million has been spent investigating her so the American public is entitled to know every last detail of her life.  There’s the “what do you expect” theory that so many investigations have left too many threads upon which to pull so you naturally get possible corruption stories.  Then there’s the “they can’t be innocent” theory since the Clintons have been in politics for forty years.

Let’s not forget the ever popular conservative dogma that Hillary is being held accountable for Bill’s sexual transgressions, i.e. blame the wife for the husband’s philandering.  If that were the case, Mrs. Roger Ailes would never be seen outside a confessional.

There are more theories, there are even rules about the brutal differences in covering Hillary, but nothing I have read encapsulates the theories better than a study conducted by Harvard investigating the stereotypical-based social costs that women face as political candidates.  These are the most relevant findings:

  • When participants saw male politicians as power-seeking, they also saw them as having greater agency (i.e., being more assertive, stronger, and tougher) and greater competence, while this was not true for their perceptions of power-seeking female politicians.
  • When participants saw female politicians as power-seeking, they also saw them as having less communality (i.e., being unsupportive and uncaring), while this was not true for their perceptions of power-seeking male politicians.
  • When female politicians were described as power-seeking, participants experienced feelings of moral outrage (i.e., contempt, anger, and/or disgust) towards them.
  • Participant gender had no impact on any of the study outcomes – that is, women were just as likely as men to have negative reactions to power-seeking female politicians.

These last two findings are “slap your mama” eye-popping and jaw-dropping.  Women seeking office are seen with moral outrage, feelings of contempt, anger, and disgust.  The last finding is Madeline Albright saying, “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help each other.”  Women are just as likely as men to have negative reactions to female politicians.  Someone please read this to Mrs. Greenspan, Susan Sarandon, and Cruella van den Huevel.

Let that sink in for a moment.  No matter whether the reporter is a man or woman, Hillary is behind the 8-ball, at least at some level, before she utters the first word or advances the first policy.hillary-flag-2

So on top of the garden variety sexism, Hillary is seen as contemptibly disgusting by virtue of merely being a female politician.  Doesn’t matter if she is married to Bill or Homer Simpson.  Doesn’t matter if she is a Democrat, Republican, or Druid.  Doesn’t matter if she is running against a trained gibbon or a less trained Trumpanzee.  It is all the same because she is a woman.

Why?  The vilifying vagina is not treated the same as the palliative penis or so says this Harvard study.  This election is our chance to start changing that tired, sorry rule.

What’s on your mind today?

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42 Responses to "The Vilifying Vagina v. the Palliative Penis…"

First, a tip of the hat to our intrepid west coast correspondent, Ms. socalannie, who cemented my thinking on this topic with her comment on Wednesday, “Do you think they (MSM) may actually want the Orange idiot to win?”

Thanks Annie.

Here is an article by Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star using a statement/debunk format. So simple. So honest. So rare!

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/09/16/trump-campaign-abandons-obama-birth-conspiracy-in-totally-debunked-statement-analysis.html

Great link Jacqueline! Thanks for posting it, and welcome!

Okay I’m lost on Susan sour-and-done. Who is that?

@4, Susan Sarandon. I was too cute by half. I’ll change it out when I get back from errands.

Mrs. Greenspan is listed as NBC’s “Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent”. When Hillary was Sec’y of State I could see/understand Mrs. Greenspan covering her. But why is she schlepping around on the campaign and the campaign plane now? There is no valid reason for her to be covering (stalking?) the Clinton campaign. Let her cover Trump’s wife Melania. That started as a foreign affair.

@5: Oh no, that’s fine. I was just trying to think in terms of reporters and I was drawing a blank except for Susan Page with USA Today.

I didn’t have time before -I wanted to say that this post is fantastic. It’s so timely, as one of my male relatives asked me this morning, genuinely sad and confused, “What has she done to make people hate her so?” I replied, “She’s a woman running for President. That’s it.” Your post makes this argument almost impossible to refute.

I also pointed out that everyone connects the dots when millions of people hate Obama for no reason, but somehow Hillary Derangement Syndrome is never connected to sexism, and is always her fault. It’s just enervating.

@6, I think she has covered (stalked) Hillary for so long she believes she has a continued right to follow her around and ask her convoluted questions that have the word scandal and a variety of verbs in them.

@8, thank you MB. Isn’t it wonderful to be around people who question the unseemly hatred and are not infected by it. I am thankful you have created a little corner of the intertubz where we have such enlightened people.

@11: From the piece, here’s the “money shot”:

No, it’s something special about Clinton Rules. I don’t really understand it. But it has the feeling of a high school clique bullying a nerdy classmate because it’s the cool thing to do.

And as I feared, it looks as if people who cried wolf about non-scandals are now engaged in an all-out effort to dig up or invent dirt to justify their previous Clinton hostility.

I am very, VERY fortunate that I have such talented writers and witty, insightful commenters that keep this community going!

Oh, how I miss our Chat these days. I feel she is still cheering Hillary on, somehow, and hoping her beloved Dawgs make it all the way this year!

Prolix, brilliant post! The graphs in the post are the proof of everything we’ve been saying for so long. It makes me insane. Poor Hillary. Do all these nasty people like Mrs Greenspan and Susan Berniebot think she has no feelings at all? Fredster’s tombstone pic in the sidebar is the truth, except for a few.

I heard that even Jimmy Fallon went spineless when he had Trump on last night. They say he didn’t ask him any questions of substance and actually touched his hair! He’s been nice to Hillary from what I’ve seen but did ask her about her emails (gag) and other stuff.

Hubs also read the post and is asking me to “congratulate him (meaning Prolix) for me.” He is “blown away” and is going to read it again tomorrow. He has also been really disturbed at the vicious treatment HIllary gets.

Fredster, hubs read an article about tailgating parties and it said that LSU is number 1! Have you ever been to one there? He is also asking where Le Tigers are in the standings. He has some la news on right now and they are showing people already doing the tailgate thing around the L.A. Coliseum for Sunday’s game! Good lord. Hubs wants to try it now, all the games he’s been to, he’s never checked out the tailgate parties.

Liked the link @2! Going to check out the Krugman piece.

@14 & 15, Annie and Mr. Annie, thanks. I fear Jimmie Fallon just fell several notches in my estimation. I wouldn’t watch last night, but the hair and the fawning from what I’ve seen today made me miss Letterman even more than usual.

Great post Prolix. It’s all so true. It just makes a person feel so heavy.
I was so glad to see Trump make a fool out of the media today. They deserve it.

The Krugman post is a companion piece to this one. I hope this issue gets traction.

annie@15: Alas, I’ve never been to a tail gate party at LSU. I’ve never even been to a football game at LSU – I wouldn’t be able to afford the tickets. LOL! I have heard that the tailgating is phenomenal and the LSU fans are very generous with sharing their food and beverages.

Tell hubs that LSU is ranked 20th right now. That first game loss to Wisconsin hurt them. They’re favored to win tomorrow against Miss. State. We’ll see.

@18, thanks GAgal. While Jake Tapper is not one of my favorites, he did have a good line about today’s Trump infomercial for his hotel — he said the media got “Rickrolled”. He’s right, they did.

And no one talks about it, but these generals who are birthers and escapees from Crazytown, didn’t get that way yesterday. They have been tra-la-la-la cuckoo for quite some time.

@19, Annie, Krugman published his post at 10:38 a.m. or something like that — we posted at 10:10 a.m. so we beat him.

Completely off topic but funny.

Watch the three kitties watching the little birdie on the step. The kitties are drooling and probably their little kitteh tummies are growling. Then see what happens next at about 10 seconds in. You might want to turn your volume down a smidge.

Hillary Clinton is every good boss I ever had. She is everyone I did not need to translate to, she is every boss who cut short some lazy, lacking coworker’s presentation with “Yes, and?”

She is the manager who moves things forward, the one who makes the project reality, the one who makes our jobs worth it, above whatever we were getting paid.

It’s too reminiscent of the death of a good company that her leadership is in danger. The best company I ever worked for was killed by a schmoozer who couldn’t program his way out of a paper bag.

@25, Pat, the thing that stuck with me is that while she was Senator, she spent time each week going through notes she had taken while on the campaign trail. The notes were about real people and their problems. She kept them and went through them in order to see if she could do something to make their lives better. That is someone who cares and believes in the most honorable goal of government — to make people’s lives better.

Prolix, that’s what an effective manager, an effective CEO, an effective legislative member does. Grown-ups who love their jobs do this.

Too many people never do grow up. After the decimation the Repubs did with the economy and the EEO laws, all that workers, male and female, have left is resentment.

@24, Poor kitteys, all intent on avicide, and along comes this huuuuge poodle (?). No fair!

I love cats’ hyperbolic reactions – it’s like they’re natural comedians.

@28: And Pat, that poodle was proud of what he or she did! LOL!
I think the middle kitty does the best vertical jump of the three of them.

@29 gotta be the sitting high-jump record 🙂

@30: LOL!! True. I mean that was straight up in the air from that sitting position. I wish we could set that to play at half-speed or something similar.

This is one of cats after they’ve had anesthesia. I’m sure we humans look just about as bad.

And to show I’m not a species bigot here’s one of dogs after being medicated at the vets offices.

@32, the cat on the left is the feline equivalent of David Hasselhoff in the video where he was drunk on the floor in his underwear eating a cheeseburger.

@34: Gawd, I forgot about that! That was pretty pathetic.

@35, the cat lying on its side with its head in the bowl immediately reminded me of Hasselhoff in that video.

@36: Oh geez. I would try to look that up on youtube but I really don’t want to see it. Ewww.

Go read the Rude Pundit’s latest post. Go read it right.now. It’s about something Prolix and I were emailing each other over:

“You keep thinking that if you can show that Trump is lying, that they’ll abandon him. That’s not gonna happen.
(snip) All they care about is that they hate Obama, they hate Hillary, and they want to elect someone who isn’t either of them.”

Liberal Redneck Trae Crowder on Trump supporters being oh-fended by the “deplorables” meme. (Lots of grownup, adult language here)

Prolix, a day late but hopefully not a dollar short – Excellent post. I always find it so perplexing that women can be the greatest perpetrators of sexism.

@41, Jules, thanks so much, you are never late around here.

It is something I’ve seen up close — a female friend of mine was a local officeholder and her most challenging times were presented by women who never had her back when the going got rough. It was disheartening.

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