Monday, June 30, 2008

Unmasking Sexism In Media Coverage Of Hillary Clinton

Original Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elaine-hopkins/unmasking-sexism-in-media_b_90916.html

By Elaine Hopkins

Deeply rooted sexism in the US as seen in the campaign coverage of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "hurts us all," Bradley University professor emeritus Barbara Pendleton told the Peoria chapter of the National Organization for Women at a March 8 meeting to commemorate International Women's Day and Women's History Month.

Pendleton, an award winning professor, offered a hard hitting analysis of the sexism in the campaign coverage of Clinton. Her talk was called "Sexism and Politics in the Media."

Buzz up!on Yahoo!"The press has been brutal to Sen. Clinton. Consciously or not, many reporters, commentators and pundits appear to be unable to criticize her without dusting off their favorite sexist clich├ęs, stereotypes and insults. Together they create an environment of hostility toward all women, not just Sen. Clinton," she said.

Gender bias: discussion of how Clinton looks, laughs, wears, talks, behaves, "even how she claps."

"A man demonstrates roughness and strength. A woman who behaves similarly is called icy and rigid.

"His behavior shows compassion and warmth, her behavior shows emotions and weakness. He knows how to work the system, she is manipulative" and "calculating."

Discussion of ambition, motivation and drive: "Frequently Sen. Clinton has been charged with being willing to do or say anything to win. When she campaigns hard she is often described as strategizing, calculating or fake. But when men campaign hard it is refusing to cede an inch."

Discounting of qualifications and accomplishments: "Since her first run for the Senate she has been presumed to be where she is today because of her husband. They discredited her achievements and implied that she never could have made it on her own. There were no such implications that George W. Bush got a leg up because he was the son of a president and a member of a powerful, rich family."

Attacks on supporters: "There is the claim that women who voted for her are somehow irrational, and voting only on the basis of gender. They implied they were stupid or shallow."

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