Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hillary haters and everyday sexism

Hillary Clinton’s rise as the favorite Democratic candidate in 2016 – even though she has not announced – has triggered an explosion of the usual sexist rants recycled from the 90s and most recently 2008. As you might expect, Huffington Post commenters continue to lead the pack with dedicated Hillary haters, well-described by Professor Stanley Fish on Feb. 3, 2008 in his NY Times column.

You recall that when Axelrod and Obama realized in 2008 they could not defeat Hillary on the issues, they agreed to assassinate her character; Several Huffpo users continue the strategy to this day, scouring the website for any mention of Hillary or a member of her family. One particular user has posted nearly 12,000 comments, the majority smearing the Clintons. Here’s a sample quote from a lengthy sexist rant: “Like mother, Chlesea has collected titles in positons Bill's power/wealth open without evidence of significant contribution/results.”

The same user has repeatedly argued at Huffpo that America has thus far not produced any worldclass women leaders comparable to Thatcher, Ghandi, etc.

With America’s female leaders subjected to such scorn on the prominent Huffington Post website with its increasingly global presence, “everyday sexism” described by Beth Gardiner in the NY Times should come as no surprise. In Charting the Impact of Everyday Sexism Across the World, Gardiner describes the impact of her Everyday Sexism Project:

The project’s Web site and Twitter feed have ballooned into a compendium of firsthand testimonials that range from angry descriptions of patronizing remarks to heart-wrenching accounts of rape and other assault. Women post about crude come-ons in the workplace, lewd comments on the street, groping on crowded public transportation and much more. Most, but not all, of the comments come from developed countries.

“Yesterday guy on packed Tube took opportunity to rub his crotch against me and stroke my bum when I couldn’t move,” wrote Naomi Phillips, using the Twitter handle @nayphillips and referring to the London subway. “Worst thing about it was that I didn’t say anything out loud. Concerned about making a scene & what if I was wrong? I wasn’t.” 

Working with supporters in other countries, Ms. Bates, who lives in north London, has created companion sites in 15 nations, including Brazil, France, Germany and the United States. 

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