Sisters are doin it for themselves in 2016, and one in particular. Yep, you’re totally not surprised that gender is playing a huge role in this election, like race did in 2008 right? But you might be somewhat surprised that the overt sexism on display has not provoked anywhere near as much outrage, or even acknowledgement, as you might expect in the twenty-first century. Indeed, many supporters in Donald Trump’s male-dominated “basket of deplorables” are in firm denial, instead accusing Hillary Clinton of playing the woman card. Then again, it’s very easy to point fingers at Trump, whose comments about women as dogs, breastfeeding as disgusting and abortion-lovers as deserving punishment are well documented. However sexism in general tends to be a lot sneakier – and a lot more universal – than most people realize.
Commenting on Clinton’s lack of a smile (as RNC Chair Reince Priebus did this week) or her lack of a “presidential look” (Trump’s descriptor as he was speaking to a room of “fellas”) actually reveals a blatant political double standard where Clinton gets judged on “feminine” values like attitude and appearance. And Trump isn’t helping his sexist image by hiring Roger Ailes, the former Fox News chief who was sued for sexual harassment, as an advisor and debate coach, or defending a tweet about rape in the military blaming the presence of women. As for the sneakier kind of sexism, Matt Lauer gets lumped into this category thanks to his poorly-handled commander-in-chief forum where he repeatedly interrupted Clinton and spoke down to her.
All this talk of sexism comes in a campaign where Clinton has a major edge over Trump with female voters. So why all the hate anyway you may ask? Because she is threatening all the social structures of a patriarchal status quo, daring to believe she can take the highest job in the country. Even just her presence on the campaign trail is evidence of her flaunting a “masculine” ambition which she subsequently has to defend and explain, or womansplain. But surely the sexist stuff will stop if she’s elected right? Nope. Electing a woman president may convince some people that sexism no longer exists, making them even more critical of their leader and ironically leading to further gender-based resentment. But despite all the backlash Clinton faces now, fear of a female president is unlikely to matter more to voters than who will be best for building the economy or taking on terrorism. Challenge accepted.
Feel like it’s still a man’s, man’s, man’s world? Do something. Movie for your inventive mood: Joy