Is Your Hillary Hate Tinged With Sexism? Test Yourself

If the Democratic National Convention made one thing clear, it’s that a lot of people on the left do not like Hillary Clinton. Is it possible that some of that distaste stems from underlying sexist attitudes?

Most progressives would resent this implication. While they can readily identify the sexist attitudes directed at Clinton in people on the right, progressives support equality and women’s rights, so they don’t feel they deserve that type of scrutiny.

Then again, if they are aware of what a powerful force sexism is, how can they be so quick to insist that it doesn’t impact their own perceptions? Maybe the sexism at play isn’t as obvious or intentional, but it can still play a role in how we view powerful women.

Full disclosure: I am a liberal who did not support Clinton during the primaries. At the same time, I couldn’t help but recognize that some of my fellow Bernie Sanders supporters exhibited signs that their hate for Hillary was clouded with sexism.

For that reason, I thought it only fair to check whether deeply buried sexism might be tainting my own views, so I pose to you a few of the same Clinton-related questions I have regularly asked myself:

Were you less critical of your own sexism in the 90s?

While there’s still a lot of stigma attached to it, “feminism” has become a significantly less dirty word than it was two decades ago. We’re all more conscious of the sexism at play in society and think twice before making assumptions about powerful women, or believing hateful things said about powerful women.

Many of us weren’t as savvy about that in the ’90s, though, when Clinton was regularly being smeared for wanting to have more power than choosing White House decorations. We heard her called a “bitch” thousands of times, and there’s no way that hasn’t been internalized and influenced our current perception of her.

Part of what makes Clinton a weaker candidate – due to no fault of her own – is her longevity in politics. Asking voters who have been told she’s unlikeable for decades to reexamine her from a fresh perspective isn’t an easy leap for a lot of them.

Do you think shes too ambitious?

A lot of people feel animosity for Clinton because she’s clearly been setting herself up for the nation’s top office since she last lived in the White House as the First Lady. The resume she’s developed in the past 16 years all seems to have a definitive end goal in mind.

Don’t get me wrong – you don’t owe anyone a vote because they are ambitious. You’re under no obligation to vote for Hillary just because she wants the job or she put in the work to get there.

At the same time, just about every presidential candidate wants the job. Countless men have similarly set themselves up so they could become commander-in-chief, yet the resentment for these men pursuing these opportunities is non-existent.

If you’re angry at Clinton for wanting the job, but never questioned the drive of our previous male presidents, then some level of sexism might be at play.

Did you support Bill Clinton during his administration?

The internet is full of arguments over whether you can fault Hillary for the actions of Bill during his administration. (By that I mean Bill’s policy actions – if you’re blaming Hillary for Bill’s “extracurriculars,” then yup, that’s definitely sexist.) Given how proactive Hillary was during her husband’s presidency, I think there’s at least a case to be made that she shares some of the responsibility.

That said, people on the left largely supported Bill at the time. It’s only in retrospect that many have looked at the policies and found them to be more harmful than progressive. If you believed that Bill was doing the right thing at the time – you ought to give Hillary the benefit of the doubt that she felt the same way.

If you looked back at Bill fondly until Hillary started running for president and then found reasons to disagree with the Clinton regime, then that quest might be inspired by sexism.

Do you want a better female president?

A large portion of Americans are quick to rattle off a handful of other women they’d like to see run the country, in an effort to show their lack of support for Clinton isn’t sexism. While it’s easier to support women in the abstract, I certainly don’t object to the idea that you have to support every woman in politics to be a feminist.

However, the potentially sexist problem arises when people make the argument that they won’t vote Clinton because they want the first female president to be a great one, as if we should hold out for someone better.

We’ve had plenty of mediocre if not detrimental male presidents throughout American history, and odds are the people demanding a great female president have voted for some of these men. If these men haven’t put you off of voting for men in subsequent contests, then an allegedly so-so female president shouldn’t put you off of voting for women in the future either.

Equality means having more female presidents in general – good presidents, bad presidents and average ones.

Do you have newfound objections to certain issues?

Clinton has an uncomfortable relationship with Wall Street. She has Super PACs. Her friendliness with corporations has possibly compromised the strength of her environmental positions. She’s demonstrated war hawk tendencies.

I have no interest in disputing any of these points – rather I’d like to add that this can be said of pretty much every male Democratic presidential frontrunners in the past several cycles. Where was the mass outrage then? Did you support these men despite these misgivings? Is it – on some level – easier to take a stand when a woman is the figurehead?

You could chalk it up to timing. In recent years, Occupy Wall Street and Bernie Sanders have woke people up to certain injustices and perhaps progressives are no longer willing to make the same compromises of the past. The real test will be whether liberals remain as vocal about these issues the next time an establishment man runs for the top office.

Look, none of this article is intended to sway your opinion one way or another. It is, however, meant to provide an opportunity for you to challenge yourself to recognize potential sexist beliefs that you might hold against your own will. Defeating sexism won’t come just by calling out the most blatant examples in other people – it will come by identifying and eradicating the assumptions we hold within.

Photo Credit: Marc Nozell

118 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven5 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill8 months ago

My objection to her is not that she is a woman, it's because she is as corrupt as they come! Just read some of the emails that keep coming out!

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Nicole Bergeron
Nicole Bergeron9 months ago

I refuse to vote for her for many reasons. She's lied, she's cheated, plus, in the top ten of the worst thing she did was say that women should vote for her because she is a woman, and then had support of feminists that said the same thing!

I do NOT base my decision on who to vote for based on ones sex, gender, or race. She has done little to nothing to get my vote.

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Marie W.
Marie W10 months ago

Usual issues- if a man did it not even noticed- she under the sexism magnifying glass.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus10 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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David Anderson
David Anderson10 months ago

Most of what is written above doesn't merit a specific response. As for carrying over issues regarding Bill, Hillary isn't responsible for Bill's inability to practice positive zipper control. She is responsible for her participation in the attacks against the women Bill victimized in one way or other. She is also responsible for defending a child rapist while practicing law. Once she took the case, that was her job, but she wasn't required to accept the job of defending such scum.

As for wanting a better female president, this is a red herring. I want a better president. Gender and race are not the issue here. The fact that Hillary champions destroying everything I value about this republic is the issue. The author's point appears to be making gender a magic shield that renders all criticism, regardless of merit, 'sexist' and therefore invalid.

HILLARY FOR PRISON 2016!

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Deborah W.
Deborah W10 months ago

Combine current (rhetoric) fodder with past (action) history ... then vote your findings. Don't fall for polling input (which allows the troops to put their money where support still needed vs. pullouts where it's not). KEEP IT BETWEEN YOU AND THE BOOTH, allow the surprise to be total.

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Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran10 months ago

noted

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pam w.
pam w10 months ago

Maybe, for some people. I'm afraid that others are too lazy to do their own thinking and align with Trump's belief that a lie repeated often enough becomes truth.

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Donn M.
Donn M10 months ago

I suppose its possible for a few people to be against her on account of sexism, just as its possible for a few people to be against Obama because of racism.

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