Hillary Hating & Sexism
When people hate on Hillary I ask why.
The complaints are often curious:
- “She doesn’t care about people of color.” Yet she has fought for school desegregation as well as universal health care and other paths to social and economic empowerment that benefit people of color.
- “She lies.” Compared to most politicians, she hardly ever does.
- “Scandals follow her.” The accusations are almost entirely made up.
- “She attacked Latin America.” She did?
- “I don’t know why. I just don’t like her.”
Michael Arnovitz posted the following to his Facebook, which was reposted on Daily Kos:
How many conservatives see her:
A radical left-wing insurgent who has been compared to Mikhail Suslov, the Soviet Kremlin’s long-time Chief of Ideology.
How many progressives see her:
A Republican fox in Democratic sheep’s clothing. A shill for Wall Street who doesn’t give a damn about the working class.
They can’t both be right!
In the course of a single conversation, I have been assured that Hillary is cunning and manipulative but also crass, clueless, and stunningly impolitic; that she is a hopelessly woolly-headed do-gooder and, at heart, a hardball litigator; that she is a base opportunist and a zealot convinced that God is on her side. What emerges is a cultural inventory of villainy rather than a plausible depiction of an actual person.
So many contradictions. Someone must be making up stuff in their heads.
The real problem? Discomfort with women in power
Michael Arnovitz tracked Hillary’s popularity and found that whenever she sought a powerful job she became unpopular. We are still uncomfortable with women in power.
A couple bullet points from Michael’s post:
- Unlike men, women who make demands are still often seen as unfeminine and inappropriately aggressive, bordering on deviant. (Nate Silver polling since 90s)
- Presidential campaigns favor men, and the men who campaign in them are rewarded for those traits perceived as being “manly” — physical size, charisma, forceful personality, assertiveness, boldness and volume. Women who evince those same traits however are usually punished rather than rewarded, and a lot of the negativity aimed at Hillary over the years, especially when she is seeking office, has been due to these underlying biases.
Now look at these data points — Hillary-hating when she seeks power:
- In the early 90’s Hillary’s polling was great, which was typical for an incoming First Lady.
- As soon as she took charge of Universal Health Care her negatives skyrocketed.
- During the ongoing Whitewater “scandal” investigations her polling improved dramatically
- When she decided to run for Senate she was at one of the most popular periods of her life
- As soon as Hillary declared a run for the Senate her favorables plummeted while her unfavorables rose sharply.
- At nearly the exact time that she withdrew from the Presidential race her favorables took off again, rising to levels that many considered remarkable.
- Before running for President in 2016 her favorables were very high.
- Her favorables plummeted again with her 2016 run for President
So what does Michael make of this?
What I see is that the public view of Hillary Clinton does not seem to be correlated to “scandals” or issues of character or whether she murdered Vince Foster. No, the one thing that seems to most negatively and consistently affect public perception of Hillary is any attempt by her to seek power…
Meanwhile, Gloria Steinem points out that voters had very similar reactions to Julia Gillard who became the first female Prime Minister of Australia, and to Barbara Mikulski who was the first woman elected to the United States Senate from Maryland.
Trump vs Clinton: metaphor for patriarchal reaction
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes points out that Trump vs Clinton is practically a metaphor for patriarchal reaction to strong women gaining equality.
Hillary Clinton is one of the most qualified people to ever seek the office of US President. Running against the least qualified man to ever run. Yet the race is tight.
She has also been demonized more than any politician — and for a quarter century. That may be due to our discomfort with powerful women.
Posted on October 21, 2016, in politics/class inequality, psychology, sexism and tagged Discomfort with women in power, Hillary Clinton, Hillary hating, psychology, sexism. Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.