Hillary, Sexism, and the Media
There is a lot of talk in the media lately about the amount of sexism that Hillary has been facing. I saw a story about this on Good Morning America. The story really got me thinking.
I think lots of things are going on here. In part lots of the political coverage on 24 hour news networks area about personality and not about policy. When this plays to candidates advantage it is fine. When it does not play to their advantage they call it a social problem. I think that the sexism I have seen in the media is directly related to the idea of personalty.
The media coverage of this election has been more superficial than substantial. It is clear if you look at the 24 hour news networks. First they cover the horse race, second they cover election gaffs, third they cover speeches, forth they cover opinion. They do not get around to covering policy to until about fifth on the list. No wonder they cover things like what Hillary looks like.
The news media is still part of the media. I know in an ideal world the news media would be different that the entertainment media, but it is not. I am so shocked that there is sexism in the presidential election the same year that Sex and the City movie is released. I cannot believe that the same media that comments on Hillary showing her feminine side by crying. I know that people will say that the news media should be above this for a presidential election, but it is still the same media.
In the end the media is reflection of us. It is not separate from us. It is part of our culture. Yes there is still sexism in our culture. Yes when it comes the to the media sexism is front and center. It is not limited to the presidential election but it cannot be excluded from the presidential election either.
The issue with sexism is a tough one. Everyone wants to be treated fairly. The problem is that our culture does not agree what it means to be treated fairly when it comes to sex. You cannot just remove all mention of gender all together from the election. Many people want to see more women elected to office because gender is important. If the news make no mention of gender it will also be seen as too politically correct. This is cause them to lose credibility.
My problem with this election is the other sexism that no one brings up at all. The only way we have a female candidate that has done this well is for her to have been a former First Lady. Someone look at the list of women in the US Senate or female governors and tell me that Hillary is really the best qualified. There is something wrong with that being the only way a woman can become a national political figure in America. I have not heard one person decrying sexism in this election mention that.
Part of the story was about Glenn Beck saying "she's a stereotypical bitch." Later on in the story he talks about what he wants out of a president. He wants a president that will take on all challenges. He wants Hillary Clinton to take the Hillary Clinton Nutcracker on stage, hold it up and say, "Damn straight." The idea is that the world is not a fair place. A good President has to be able to face the world when it is unfair. They are going to have to fight when the chips are down.
What is the right answer? I am not sure. This situation will not change anytime soon. It might change when near 50% of all elected officials are female. Maybe it will change when it is not a news story for a woman to do well in a presidential primary. Right now a woman running for president is still Man Bites Dog.