I am looking forward to having our first Madam President. But there are a few things to say about the explosions of misogyny that have characterized a lot of the media coverage of the 2016 election. You would expect this to be a normal election even though it could end in a landmark historical moment, but it has been anything but normal. At this point many may put a finger (not that finger) in the air to signify “wait a minute” or “I have just one point” and they would say, “if only that first woman wasn’t Hillary Rodham Clinton”. But it is, and despite all the cries of “fixed elections” and “rigged systems” and email and Benghazi and the Clinton Foundation she has wended her way through our complex and overheated election process to be where she is now, and I would say that she did not use the system in any way that it has not been used by men. Even if you are one of those who argue that the system needs reform, it has not been reformed yet and she has had to understand and compete within our election process as it currently is configured, flaws and all.
Psychologists tell us we all have a fight/flight instinct. We need both because there are times to flee and times to fight. But often one impulse is stronger depending on the individual. Women have fight or flight wiring too. Hillary is a fight girl. She doesn’t knuckle under, not even in her personal life. When women succumb to her husband’s charms she attacks. She is a fight girl. Women understand this and applaud it in movies, in commercials, on the internet, and when Carrie Underwood sings about it. Why do they expect Hillary to hold back when her career could be on the line?
Perhaps women resent a woman so focused on success and career. But women have had enough oppression, conscious and unconscious from men; you would think other women would understand Hillary’s ambitions. Do you think Hillary would be running as the first major party candidate for the Presidency of the United States if she hadn’t been pretty single-minded, and perhaps even a bit ruthless? We still expect women to be nice. We all like “nice” people. But there is some proverbial wisdom about this – “nice guys finish last” – and even though it has the word guys in it, the sentiment is generic. Whenever I get a load of her opponent I am glad that this is a strong woman with a well-developed fight response.
I don’t even know if it was by chance or by design that this first and very prepared woman candidate did not get to trade ideas with a real politician but instead had to take part in the Donald Trump side show, which was on the media day and night because no serious talk was interesting enough to compete. The media even replaced women commentators with men who they believed had more gravitas and could get higher ratings, which of course they did. So the only women we got to listen to were the “expert” journalists and campaign people who joined the round tables, and since someone like Kellyanne Conway pulled in higher ratings than any of the Clinton surrogates or supporters the female voices we heard most often were anti-Hillary. How did it happen that Republican men were able to make Hillary the key “monster” exhibited in the DT side show while the really freaky show stopper got away with being treated as nearly normal?
I heard the media people express some guilt about covering Trump events day after day. It is true that he held big rallies and Hillary tended to favor smaller and less spectacular events which did not qualify as “good TV”. Still the media clearly understood that Trump was using them and saving lots of ad money in the process. I suppose their jobs were on the line. But while Hillary slogged it out in a real political campaign the Trump show assailed us all nonstop. Some may not see any misogyny in this but just the fact that a ridiculous and dangerous man like DT was treated better in the media than the woman who had spent her life learning how to be a political leader suggests otherwise. After the displays men have been putting on lately I can’t wait to have a woman in the White House and as many women in the Congress as we can elect. I hope it happens in 2016. After all, Hillary Clinton is a fight girl.