A Feminist’s Guide to Critiquing Hillary Clinton



Lead image credit: Her Campus


Fair warning: This blog is not going to be angry. It will not be written in all caps. There will be no vulgarity. And it probably won’t go viral. I don’t care.

What I do care about is the fact I’ve read over 70+ articles in the past two weeks alone discussing the 2016 election and what I see is a total lack of nuance and a lot of critiques that overgeneralize or underplay the very real role gender plays when people talk about Clinton and/or any other women who dare to step into positions that for so long have only been held by men.

What I do care about is how on my Facebook feed and elsewhere, I see well meaning folks called out as sexist jerks for simply offering legitimate critiques of Clinton and what a Clinton presidency might look like.

I like nuance. I like messy. I don’t like soundbites and simplicity. So, let’s play the nuance game. For folks who love Clinton, realize that not every critique poised against her is based in sexism. For those who love Sanders, realize that sexism is very alive in 2016, and that you can love your candidate AND embrace the reality that politicking while female is still an incredibly difficult thing to do. Imagine that. Both/and. For those who haven’t yet made up their minds, or don’t fall into either of these categories, this is for you, too.

So, here is my attempt to create a list of productive ways to critique Hillary Clinton without being a sexist jerk.

1).  Do not talk about her voice. Really. Just don’t. Earlier this week (and pretty much throughout Clinton’s existence), we’ve seen pundits and others criticize her shrillness, her voice, and her “masculine” speaking style. Soraya Chemaly argues, “Anger in a man doesn’t make the world wonder out loud if his hormones have taken over his brain and rendered him an incoherent idiot who can’t be trusted with Important Things. How many words for ‘angry’ men are there? Ones that have the powerful and controlling cultural resonance of yelling, and shouting, b-tch, nag? Or, yep, shrill.” Karlyn Kohrs Campbell wrote an incredibly thoughtful piece discussing how our culture has negatively responded to Clinton’s inability to fit within the parameters set in terms of how one should act and speak as a woman in the political sphere. She says Clinton “symbolizes the problems of public women writ large, the continuing demand that women who play public roles or function in the public sphere discursively enact their femininity, and that women who do not or who do so to only a limited degree, women whose training and personal history fit them for the roles of rhetor, lawyer, expert, and advocate, roles that are gender coded masculine, will arouse the intensely hostile responses that seem so baffling” (15).  Overall, what Campbell is arguing is that women in the political sphere, in order to be taken seriously, must enact just the right amount of femininity and masculinity, and that Clinton’s failure to be “appropriately feminine” has hindered her for decades.

She continues to thoughtfully lay out a “masculine” and “feminine” rhetorical style of speaking and discusses what that sounds like.” In rhetorical terms, performing or enacting femininity has meant adopting a personal or self-disclosing tone (signifying nurturance, intimacy, and domesticity) and assuming a feminine persona, e.g., mother, or an ungendered persona, e.g., mediator or prophet, while speaking. It has meant preferring anecdotal evidence (reflecting women’s experiential learning in contrast to men’s expertise), developing ideas inductively (so the audience thinks that it, not this presumptuous woman, drew the conclusions), and appropriating strategies associated with women—such as domestic metaphors, emotional appeals to motherhood, and the like—and avoiding such ‘macho’ strategies as tough language, confrontation or direct refutation, and any appearance of debating one’s opponents. Note, however, that feminine style does not preclude substantive depth and argumentative cogency” (5).

Presidents Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton use/used a “feminine” rhetorical style of speaking–something which men can do and not be criticized for.  Reagan was the great communicator. Both Clinton and Obama have been called some of the greatest orators in American history.

Hillary Clinton cannot “perform” femininity and her inability to play into this script Campbell argues reveals *our deficiencies*–not Clinton’s. Campbell states, “Our failure to appreciate the highly developed argumentative skills of an expert advocate, when the advocate is female, reveals our deficiencies, not hers. Legislation attendant on the second wave of feminism opened doors for able women who seek to exercise their skills in all areas of life, including the formation of public policy. If we reject all of those who lack the feminizing skills of Elizabeth Dole, we shall deprive ourselves of a vast array of talent” (15).

2).  Please don’t talk about her “likeability.”  As with the sound of her voice and her rhetorical speaking style, her “likeability” should have nothing to do with whether or not she would make a qualified president. Yes, I realize all candidates have to somewhat pass the likeability test, but for Clinton, because of the years long Hillary hating stemming from her time as first lady, this issue is in fact gendered, and to criticize her for not being likeable reeks of sexism.  Henry Louis Gates Jr. argues, “Hillary hating has become one of those national past times that unite the elite and the lumpen.” Gary Wills notes, “Hillary Hate is a large-scale psychic phenomenon. At the Republican convention there was a dismemberment doll on sale. For twenty dollars you could buy a rag-doll Hillary with arms and legs made to tear off and throw on the floor. .. . Talk shows are full of speculation about Hillary’s purported lesbianism and drug use. Fine conspiratorial reasoning sifts whether she was Vince Foster’s mistress or murderer or both. The Don Imus show plays a version of the song ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ with new lyrics about the way the lady ‘fornicates’ and ‘menstruates’ and ‘urinates,’ concluding, ‘That’s why the First Lady is a tramp.'”

As Nico Lang points out, “She was a working woman and full political partner with (gasp) feminist tendencies. Among would-be first ladies in the early 1990s, these were exotic qualities. Clinton has continued to occupy that same space for the better part of three decades now, a one-woman culture war who plays the political game the same way the men around her do. But unlike those men, Clinton is chided for being ‘disingenuous’ and a ‘political insider.’ Everyone else just gets to do their job. There are real reasons to have reservations about a Clinton presidency — including her oft-cited ties to Wall Street and her hawkish foreign policy — but how often are they the central force of the criticism lodged against her campaign? In an August poll, Quinnipac found that while political respondents felt that Hillary Clinton was ‘strong’ and a candidate with ‘experience,’ the words they most associated with her are ‘liar,’ ‘dishonest,’ and ‘untrustworthy.’ These designations appear to be motivated by her Emailgate scandal and the ongoing questions about Benghazi — but none of the myriad investigations into either have turned up anything close to a smoking gun.”

Rebecca Traister also notes, “Recall the days following the 2008 Iowa caucus, when the media took advantage of Clinton’s defeat to let loose with their resentment and animosity toward her. That was when conservative Marc Rudov told Fox News that Clinton lost because ‘When Barack Obama speaks, men hear ‘Take off for the future!’ When Hillary Clinton speaks, men hear ‘Take out the garbage!’ It was in the days after Iowa that Clinton infamously got asked about how voters believed her to be ‘the most experienced and the most electable’ candidate but ‘are hesitating on the likability issue.’ In late January, columnist Mike Barnicle told a laughing all-male panel on Morning Joe that Clinton’s challenge was that she looks ‘like everyone’s first wife standing outside of probate court.'” In Diana B. Carlin and Kelly L. Winfrey’s analysis of the various ways Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton were portrayed during the 2008 campaign, they note, “Women who exhibited too many masculine traits are often ridiculed and lose trust because they are going against type or play into male political stereotypes that voters are rejecting” (328).

More recently, Sady Doyle argues that, “This plays out on the level of personal expression, too: Women are supposedly over-emotional, whereas men make stern, logical, intelligent judgments. So, if Hillary raises her voice, gets angry, cries, or (apparently) even makes a sarcastic joke at a man’s expense, she will be seen as bitchy, crazy, cruel and dangerous. (Remember the ‘NO WONDER BILL’S AFRAID‘ headlines after she raised her voice at a Benghazi hearing; remember the mass freak-out over her ‘emotional meltdown‘ when someone thought she might be crying during a concession speech.) She absolutely cannot express negative emotion in public. But people have emotions, and women are supposed to have more of them than men, so if Hillary avoids them – if she speaks strictly in calm, logical, detached terms, to avoid being seen as crazy –  we find her ‘cold,’ call her ‘robotic’ and ‘calculating,’ and wonder why she doesn’t express her ‘feminine side.’ Again, she’s going to be faulted for feminine weakness or lack of femininity, and both are damaging.  Okay, so she can never be sad, angry, or impatient. That’s not a ban on all emotion, right? You’d think the one clear path to avoiding the ‘bitchy’ or ‘cold’ descriptors would be to put on a happy face, and admit to emotions only when they are positive. You’d think that, and you’d be wrong: It turns out, people hate it when Hillary Clinton smiles or laughs in public. Hillary Clinton’s laugh gets played in attack ads; it has routinely been called ‘a cackle‘ (like a witch, right? Because she’s old, and female, like a witch); frozen stills of Hillary laughing are routinely used to make her look ‘crazy‘ in conservative media. She can’t be sad or angry, but she also can’t be happy or amused, and she also can’t refrain from expressing any of those emotions. There is literally no way out of this one. Anything she does is wrong.”  Given these constraints, Doyle argues it is impossible for Clinton to be likeable.

Look at how she’s tried to address this issue.  Dancing like a fool, talking about fashion, laughing more.  What has it gotten her?  Nothing but backlash.

Dave Holmes writes in Esquire, “You’re not fun.  Stop trying to pretend you’re fun.”  The Onion writes an entire faux op-ed from Clinton entitled “I am Fun” painting her attempt at being “fun” as insincere and manufactured.

In the eyes of the American public, Hillary Clinton will never be fun. Or likeable. Or someone you’d want to have a beer with. And it shouldn’t matter.  Period. So quit it with the likeability stuff, already. It’s stupid and petty. I don’t care if my president knows how to dance or even knows how to dress well. And you shouldn’t, either.

3).  Do criticize her on substantive issues. As Kevin Young & Diana C. Sierra Becerra argue, Clinton is the embodiment of corporate feminism. In their piece, they cite many areas where Clinton could have been and could still be a better advocate for women’s rights.  It’s a fair critique but one that falls under the radar when we’re so concerned with her voice, appearance, and dance skills.

4).  Know your history, do some research, and when criticizing, be fair. One of the claims I often hear as to why some don’t trust Clinton, or why some feel she’s untrustworthy is because she sat on the board of Walmart. Ok. But let’s dig a little deeper. Ann Klefstad notes, “Not to take anything away from Bernie and Jane, but think what an advantage this is: to build a career in a location of your choosing, with the strong support of a highly qualified and intelligent person who is unconditionally loyal to you. This was also Bill Clinton’s situation — after Yale, finding Hillary, heading home to Arkansas, and building a brilliant career in politics.  But hey — what about Hillary? After getting a law degree from Yale (an all-male institution a few years previously) she meets Bill. She dumps her career as a congressional aide to move to Arkansas with Bill. I can imagine her dilemma. This was the 1970s. If she wanted to be with Bill, she would be riding on the ship he was captain of. There were consequences to that. She would be a partner in creating a political career that would accomplish many of the goals she wanted to accomplish. Bill very much admired her superb intellect and political skills as well. So they embarked.  They’re in Arkansas. Vermont politics have a pretty clean record. Arkansas? Not so much. You do make your own choices, but the context you’re in, well, it matters. The Arkansas economy was in the toilet. The only bright star was the Walton family and Walmart, which was on track to become the biggest retailer in the world. They provided (in Arkansas) an expanding number of well-paid jobs. Bill was governor. Should Hillary have dumped his political career for a chance to spit in Sam Walton’s eye? Well, that wasn’t going to happen. She sat on the Walmart board and did what she could to both ensure the prosperity of the state of which her husband was governor and to do the right thing. She has almost always chosen the path (sometimes not the one you’d pick — ) that would enable her to accomplish some good actions, rather than the pure path that tends to lead to inaction, or to exile from the power than enables you to make change.”

Still don’t like the fact she sat on the board? Fine. Don’t like her stances on foreign policy? Totally ok. But understand the choices Clinton made in the context in which she lived–not in a vacuum. This goes for all of her political choices. Never assume anything about any candidate without doing a little research first. It’s amazing how much you can find out on this magical thing called the interwebs.

5).  Don’t assume critiques against Clinton are automatically rooted in sexism, and when calling out someone for critiquing Clinton, don’t assume they, are in fact, sexist either.  Take the #BernieBro label, for example. According to Glenn Greenwald, “Have pro-Clinton journalists and pundits been subjected to some vile, abusive, and misogynistic rhetoric from random, anonymous internet supporters of Sanders who are angry over their Clinton support? Of course they have. Does that reflect in any way on the Sanders campaign or which candidate should win the Democratic primary? Of course it does not. The reason pro-Clinton journalists are targeted with vile abuse online has nothing specifically to do with the Sanders campaign or its supporters. It has everything to do with the internet. There are literally no polarizing views one can advocate online — including criticizing Democratic Party leaders such as Clinton or Barack Obama — that will not subject one to a torrent of intense anger and vile abuse. It’s not remotely unique to supporting Hillary Clinton: Ask Megyn Kelly about that, or the Sanders-supporting Susan Sarandon and Cornel West, or anyone with a Twitter account or blog. I’ve seen online TV and film critics get hauled before vicious internet mobs for expressing unpopular views about a TV program or a movie.” Amanda Hess pushes further arguing “as soon as the Bernie Bro materialized, the conversation around it deteriorated. As the meme gained momentum, some popularizers stopped bothering to marshal any kind of evidence that Sanders supporters were sexist . . . . This is a familiar online phenomenon. Just as mansplaining ‘morphed from a useful descriptor of a real problem in contemporary gender dynamics to an increasingly vague catchall expression,’ as Salon’s Benjamin Hart put it in 2014, the Bernie Bro argument has been stretched beyond recognition by both its champions and its critics. What began as a necessary critique of leftist sexism has been replaced by a pair of straw men waving their arms in the wind.”

If the label applies, absolutely use it. Call out sexism and misogyny-especially if it’s coming from someone who claims to be progressive. However, I worry the label is being thrown around loosely and being applied to many well meaning, non-sexist male critics of Clinton. And that only silences debate. I don’t want anyone to feel as though they cannot legitimately critique Clinton for fear of being called sexist, a BernieBro, or other names.

Overall, as with most of my writing, this piece was for me. Every time I read an article about Clinton or Sanders or sexism or the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party I find myself wishing for more nuance, less click-bait, and sound and civil discourse. I’m tired of seeing the same soundbites repeated on my Facebook wall, seeing good friends of mine unfriend each other or worse because they’re on Team Sanders or Team Clinton and can’t find common ground to have a legitimate debate about what this election is really about.  In the words of my good friend Greg Wright, “If you can imagine a better opportunity to demand the world we want, I’d like to hear when you think it will come. When will better circumstances reveal themselves again? What political climate are you relying on to thrust the most unlikely candidate into the realm of possible? You want to know what will make this all the more likely to happen again? Demanding that it happen now.”

We are at a historic moment in American history, not unlike the 2nd wave feminist movement. Gloria Steinem once said of Betty Friedan “I believe that she was looking to join society as it existed, and the slightly younger parts of the movement were trying to transform society. And those were kind of two different goals.” Like Friedan, I would argue that Clinton wants to work within the structure we have, while Sanders wants to transform society. He wants a revolution. In the words of Robert Reich, “I’ve known Hillary Clinton since she was 19 years old, and have nothing but respect for her. In my view, she’s the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have. But Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change.”

Sexism is real, and I love the fact that we are even talking about the ugly face of sexism in politics. However, we must be able to criticize a female candidate without resorting to sexist tactics, or be called sexist for critiquing her in the first place.

Overall, as many have pointed out, both Sanders and Clinton would be undeniably better as our next commander in chief than anyone currently running in the Republican arena.  So I would caution democrats to get too entrenched within their teams that they refuse to see the bigger picture of the need to elect a Democrat in this next election. There are ways to disagree with one another that don’t need to devolve into name calling or soundbite repeating. On Facebook and elsewhere, engage with those on either side in mindful and productive ways. This is an incredibly important election for so many reasons, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have thoughtful debates. So keep reading. Keep posting. Keep fighting for your team. Just don’t embrace the ugly. There’s enough of that out there already.

85 thoughts on “A Feminist’s Guide to Critiquing Hillary Clinton

  1. I really, really love this…except the part about Bernie Bros. I can say that many of my friends and colleagues have been anxious about publicly supporting Hillary because of the abuse they’ve received, but that’s an anecdote. It’s not hard to find public examples of journalists or high profile social media accounts that have talked openly about this phenomenon though: Elon James, Imani Gandy, Sady Doyle, Arthur Chu and others. This Vox post has a nice summary with links: http://www.vox.com/2016/2/4/10918710/berniebro-bernie-bro

    • And it’s the very real silencing you speak of that I’m criticizing here. As I state in the blog, “If the label applies, absolutely use it. Call out sexism and misogyny-especially if it’s coming from someone who claims to be progressive. However, I worry the label is being thrown around loosely and being applied to many well meaning, non-sexist male critics of Clinton. And that only silences debate. I don’t want anyone to feel as though they cannot legitimately critique Clinton for fear of being called sexist, a BernieBro, or other names.”

      • i agree,Kelly. You’ve addressed the issues that keep many men and women from representing publicly their critiques of both candidates. I’m an antique feminist… not the 1920s type, but rather, an early 1970s woman. We had to come on strong to be heard above the negative stereotyping of feminist women. Gosh, we even had to burn our bras to get the attention of some not-so-well-meaning men and women in our communities. We must feel we can critique the platforms of our candidates, without others assigning the same outdated labels to us… and to both candidates.

    • If you think that those of use supporting Sanders aren’t trolled by Clinton supporters, often with that ‘BernieBro’ stuff, think again. And as a female supporter of Sanders, who happens to write using her initials which apparently makes me male in some Democrats’ assumption, it is particularly irritating, amusing, disgusting in turns. However, I find that on social media, blocking does wonders to fight trolling from anyone.

      • And notice JR that the same complaints by Hillary supporters us the same sentencing over and over again ‘I’ve never seen such vitriol from Bernie Supports. Why they are no better than the Tea Party” – that exact same line! I have seen that so many times in the last two days on social media that I started keeping a log. When I ask for examples, I don’t get a response. I submit that “BernieBros are a creation of HRC’s PR firm and they pay to troll and pay to say the line above. Bernie wouldn’t waste his money on such nonsense.

      • my reply is to maddie, hear. bernie’s campaign has acknowledged that “berniebros” are legitimately supporters of bernie’s — BUT they have been asked, repeatedly, not to troll and attack clinton supporters. in fact, bernie himself posted a message today telling them to “cut that crap out.” he said his team didn’t need that kind of thinking, and if they felt like doing it, they were backing the wrong candidate, because he wanted nothing to do with it.

      • Kim, just because the Sanders campaign isn’t wanting to get into a stupid fight about who the said “berniebros” are or that they even exist doesn’t mean that they agree that these are real supporters of Bernie. I guess you don’t remember when she ran against Obama, they came up with the term Obama boys then as well. This is a Clinton tactic to make it a battle between men and women, it is an Establishment tactic to divide and conquer. Just drop the stupid BernieBros thing already. This was started by Pro Clinton people who only write pro Hillary articles, just like they did in 2007-08.

        You have to be pretty special to attack Bernie by trying to connect him to random internet accounts and labeling anyone you don’t like a BernieBro. Just because a male doesn’t support Clinton doesn’t mean that said male is sexist. You like Clinton and you have every right to like her, it is your life and your choice. You don’t get to tell me that if I like a candidate that I am sexist because it isn’t your candidate just because your candidate is a Woman and mine is a man. That is a baseless attack, just like all the other attacks on Sanders, stating he is sexist for any random thing he has said.

    • This is a very helpful article. It is difficult for men, and sometimes women, to recognize their sexism. The part about the voice rings a bell for me. As a man my voice was not considered deep enough!!!!!!! It hurts and it is stupid. The sound does not necessarily determine what’s going on in the brain! This article tries, and succeeds I think, to separate the wheat, from the chaff of sexism. Study it for tomorrow’s exam!

  2. Sorry but I WILL criticise her voice. I don’t care if she is shrill or ‘masculine sounding’. (She isn’t in my opinion) I do get tired of her screaming which is wearing whether the speaker is male or female. Someone in her campaign really should tell her that Mics work and shouting all the time really is not necessary. Or appealing in ANY candidate. Yelling occasionally when it seems appropriate: fine. All the time. No. Please. Do let up on it, Ms. Clinton.

    • Do you apply that same litmus test to Bernie Sanders? He’s literally always yelling! …or is that okay because yelling is masculine? It’s fine if you do in fact apply that critique to Bernie too and generally find that irritating among all candidates equally — please just be careful if you’re alleging that there’s something uniquely offensive about Hillary’s voice, and understand why some might find this to be a sexist double standard.

      • This is my personal opinion, but when I hear Bernie yell, it’s representative of the 99% who’ve been screwed by establishment politics for decades. He yells for us, because we’re pissed, God damnit! We’re going to be paying off student loans into our 50’s when other countries have free public universities. We’re one payroll SNAFU or a check engine light away from being completely fucked. When I hear Hillary yell, it’s in defense of herself. “What difference does it make?!” (and I agreed with her. The Benghazi and email stuff was bullshit.) Her campaign is about her, Bernie’s is about us. The yelling at Bernie about the “innuendo” on Thursday night was completely uncalled for, especially in light of the fact that her campaign is push polling in Nevada right now, about as slimy and rotten a tactic politically as it gets.

    • I don’t mind if she yells, sounds “shrill,” etc. The sound of her voice is of no consequence. However, it does bother me when she affects a fake accent in order to pander to her audience/constituents.
      I am a fiercely feminist woman and I am a Bernie supporter. I support him, not because he is male, but because I agree with and believe in his ideas/ policies. I believe that he is a feminist too.
      Part of being a feminist is thinking for yourself and not being swayed by gender. I’m not going to support or oppose anyone based on their sex.

    • I’ve just watched the MSNBC debate and I was struck by the fact that Bernie was shouting A LOT. It occurred to me (an undecided Democrat, by the way) that he would not be criticized for it, but that Hillary would be the target of criticism for her delivery, which was forceful but not shouting.

    • Debate class 101 we were taught to accentuate our voice to make a point or to energize the audience. We women in the 1970’s were often times called out for raising our voice. Nice little ladies must not have an opinion or raise our voices without permission. This is 2016 and it is her time to talk and she is very good at it. Listen to the content of her message, she is smart, experienced and a wonderful speaker. She will be a great President.

      • ANNNND right here – the Hillarybabe. We are having a discussion about debate style. And you cannot stop yourself from your condescending “she will be a great president.” Have to assert yourself over everyone. Not assert as in state, assert as in insist it will be your way.

    • They were both shouting in the last debate. It was really annoying. But her voice is very grating. I know were not supposed to talk about that for some reason – I guess because she is a woman which I find sexist to not being “allowed” to say something simply because she is a woman. but I find other politicians voices annoying too so she is not alone.

    • My problem with Hillary’s voice is that when cornered, she IS shrill, but that isn’t the real issue. She gets that smarmy cynicism in her responses, which does not fit any candidate well. This does not sit well with me from any candidate. But Hillary seems so adept at it. Perhaps a part of that is also the kind of trial lawyerly voice she has adoptee, as do many in her profession, male and female.
      As for Bernie’s yelling, this is a characteristic of him that has shown over the years. He is gruff and curmudgeonly, and has not adopted this for a campaign shtick.
      I think Hillary comes across as artificial and “prepare,” though not at all spontaneous until she gets cornered and the cynicism drips from her mouth. This is not a sexist concept. It does not fit any o the candidates, though we can see much of the offensive in almost every (male) Republican candidate: whiny, cynical, blustering, you name it, every negative debate stereotype.

  3. Thank you, I will carefully read this when I will have a little bit more time because each time I critique Clinton or defend Sanders I get called a sexist by feminist even if I never talk about gender or appearance in general.

    • Please don’t generalize. I’m a 70s feminist and would never call you sexist for supporting Bernie’s views. In fact, Bernie is a feminist… he is a fighter for the powerless and wants to work actively to make a better country for us all. I’ve had my doubts about Hillary’s motives and some of her platform along the way, but in her own way, I believe she wants the same as Bernie. People are hurling negative verbiage in both camps. Funny, but the Bernie Sanders I knew of in the early days (we’re the same age) abhorred men and women who criticized feminism without understanding its meaning. I’m just thrilled we have two well-qualified candidates!

      • Sue – right here we have it. She didn’t generalize – she shared HER experience. Like a man, a Hillary supporter comes along and tells her HER experience is not accurate.

  4. This was so almost-good, but you had to go with citing the Greenwald piece, which basically says that women have made up the whole experience of being unusually harassed by Bernie supporters. I’m like 80% of the way there with you, but I’m not down with having my experiences erased in the name of civility.

    • From the Greenwald article:

      “Have pro-Clinton journalists and pundits been subjected to some vile, abusive, and misogynistic rhetoric from random, anonymous internet supporters of Sanders who are angry over their Clinton support? Of course they have.”

      His point is not that Clinton supoprters have not been harassed, but that there’s nothing unique about that. If you are a Clinton supporter you will undoubtedly have had the experience of being opposed (sometimes rudely) by Sanders supporters. I can assure you the converse is also true.

    • If you read his article, or this one – what he is saying is that a poor tone in a debate is not specific to the Bernie Bro myth or to people who don’t endorse Hillary. Yet she and her supporters have played it to the hilt, even Bill, as late as a couple days ago, carrying on about how we are mean to Hillary bc we are impolite bully men, rather than PERFECTLY STANDARD internet commenters. Glenn gave a thousand examples of people being extremely rude to him, and of course, if you have been on the internet longer than a day, you have seen it too. But you create this myth, this BRO who is special mean, to special girl candidates. It’s a myth. Whereas the Hillary supporter who INSISTS that we must all vote democrat or we deserve it when the country burns down on account of our bad choices and faulty reasoning… etc… has happened not less than 100 times to me personally in the past two weeks alone. Imagine, trying to tell me who I have to vote for. Trying to remove my choice. Scorning me and others like me, calling out our “low intelligence” naivete, etc etc, simply bc we have a different value system.

  5. This is beautiful. I’ve had some nuanced discussions with female friends about the elections, and regardless of the side we’re on, we have all agreed that there are plenty of ways and points to criticize Clinton on without being a sexist jerk about it and have been very frustrated by what we’re seeing. You brought up a few we haven’t brainstormed, and another I would suggest is that “Hillary Clinton is not responsible for Bill Clinton’s actions, only her own.” Sure, they’re married, and undoubtedly influence each other, but I have seen many people bring up actions of Bill’s as reasons not to vote for Hillary without evidence of her support/endorsement of said issue/action, which I find to to be really disturbing – it’s like they don’t believe she is actually her own separate human being. In particular, every time I see a “I’m not voting for Monica Lewinsky’s Ex-Boyfriend’s Wife!” joke, my left eye twitches. For longer each time.

  6. Lot of valid points here, thanks! I just need to add that Bill himself said they were a team in the White House, and she was clearly a very active partner in many of his choices and actions. Also, I don’t give her a pass for choosing political expediency over people in the WalMart board situation. She had other choices then sit on their board, but chose to do so and now must live with that choice. And it fits nicely with her choice to take huge sums from WallStreet for speaches. She is a neoliberal through and through, and a dangerous one, given her predilection for war and corporate cash! Which then translates into supporting a disgusting plutocracy that leaves sick children and impoverished people in it’s wake as the MIC destroys our world and our people. Her foreign policy has been a disaster of epic proportions. She has also been caught stretching the truth – the airport tarmac phony story easily comes to mind, as does her campaigns phony assertation that Bernie would dismantle the ACA, and then Elizabeth Warren’s report over how she changed her attitude towards important bankruptcy legislation once she was Senator of New York (friend of wall street) – so please forgive me if I find her untrustworthy. Of course, this is garden variety political nonsense and doesn’t disqualify her as president for me. Nor do any of Bernies foibles, in the slightest. Both yell too much for my taste…but I am ready for a move from Plutocracy to Democratic Socialism and support Bernie strongly. She is far from my dream second choice, but I believe we have a responsibility to stop the insane rethugs from entirely taking over the asylum, so I say Vote Blue in November. Thank you for your clarity and if anything I Have stated anything that is -factually- incorrect, please do correct this post. I look forward to our first Woman Pres when we find the right politician who represents the will of the just, the poor and the peaceful as well as the other caring, generous people of this nation! Truly! Best to all!

    • When Hillary was elected to the board of WalMart there were just over 800 hundred stores, they were just branching out from the states that neighbored Arkansas. There were zero women on executive boards in 1980. None. Only one female CEO and she inherited the company. The Walmart of 1980 cannot be compared to the Walmart of 2015 which has over 11000 stores and a global presence. They didn’t even hit the Fortune 500 until 1995.
      It shows a lack of understanding for the business environment of the 1980s to hold the first and only woman on that executive board responsible, in any way, for the decisions the overall board made. The fact that she fought them on environmental concerns and getting more women in management should speak for itself. The fact that she has refused their donations in her own political career because she now disagrees with them should speak for itself.
      You are viewing her decision to work for them through a modern lens instead of how it should be viewed, that when she went to work for them, she took a seat few women held for a company that employed more women than almost any other in America and she used her position to push for other women to get management roles. Dislike her for her politics, but don’t dislike her for trying to make a difference for thousands of women in the work force.

  7. I actually love her voice. I think she’s a stellar speaker.

    I still have a problem with her time with Walmart – especially since she is super secret about it and instead keeps pushing her time with Children’s Defense Fund to distract from the facts.

  8. she was the first woman on the board at walmart. i know this because i know the woman whom they considered before hillary and she turned it down. this was more of a move by walmart to make it seem like they were evolving. but of course, we know that this was just a figure head type of position. bernie sanders is giving us the same pie in the sky bs that obama gave us 8 years ago with a congress that is farther to the right than bernie is to the left. what is wrong with this picture. 4 more years of gridlock. gridlock. you have to work within the system to change it and you can only change it as much as you can. to deny that there are alternate realities out there that disagree with you completely no matter how right or noble you think your point of view is, is as stupid as stupid is. gridlock is all we will get if bernie wins. and if he loses, i hear canada is thinking of building a wall to keep us out.

    • It’s only “pie in the sky” bs, if you don’t feel up for fighting for. This is the overall problem with the American electorate, we want pie in the sky, but are too lazy to fight for it, to elect people who represent our ideas and to hold their feet to the fire. I guess, you’re ok, with continuing to get taken for a ride by the banksters, and therefore become poorer in the process.

      • I kinda like pie on my plate a lot better than pie in the sky. I agree with Bernie, sure, but we are’t going to change the system overnight. Remember “Gope and Change”. Change takes a long time, and it takes patient, pragmatic people to make it happen.

  9. BRILLIANT, most Well Considered and Articulated relation about Hillary Clinton and Election 2016 and earlier, by Kelly Wilz who shows herself an Equally Brilliant Writer period. Everything Kelly has to say is the negative reality of Hillary’s Political Career, the Sexist Wolves have been at her throat from the day her husband Bill was elected President and of course they even held her guilty of Bill’s transgressions and the Dye was Cast in what has become a never ending Bashing of Hillary for anything and everything she may do or say. But hopefully the Truth will rule the day and there are enough more intelligent and Sober Citizens in this country who are aware of the FACT that She is the Most Well Qualified Candidate Running. Given the Mess this Nation is in We the People NEED the Most Experienced Public Servant available to occupy our Oval Office and that is unarguably Hillary Clinton!

  10. Thank you for your article, Suzi. Although the site isidewith.com shows me as a 86% “match” with Hillary (and 98% with Bernie), the areas where she differs from me are very important to me, and I don’t really trust her stated positions (since they seem to have all too often changed to suit the audience and the times). I really strongly distrust her relationships with Wall Street, big pharma, big oil, and big agro-chem (Monsato). I don’t think she’s avoided being corrupted by those relationships. Even if it’s not a simple mercenary “this for that” corruption which violates the law, it’s the corruption that comes of hanging out with a certain group of people all the time, with them telling their side of things. They have purchased access to her with all that money, and they have her ear. I don’t like that one bit. Bernie’s campaign has a strong strain of Occupy Wall Street in it, and a lot of the criticism against Hillary is that she is on the wrong side of the police line in that conflict.

    • But don’t you think that if they have her ear, that would mean that she also has their ears in turn? How are you going to effect change if you can’t talk to them? Do you really think that Bernie can just force corporations, Wall Street, etc to do just what he wants? Are you hoping for such a huge wave of Democrats to show up in November to somehow take back the Senate? Even if we do we still can’t get the house this year. Maybe get the house back two years from now? Well unfortunately, the most predictable thing about progressives is that they don’t show up for midterm elections. I try to get people to go, but they just aren’t “inspired enough”.

      • Yes, Bernie can force a deal on corporations and Wall Street. That’s how the US got the new deal. FDR didn’t negotiate because the majority of workers supported him. That’s why Bernie is asking for help. Voting is the first step is a long process. The great tragedy is that it may be too late. Had Bernie been in power during Occupy, we could have seen real change. Unfortunately, we had Obama.

    • Yes, all of this. She’s in the pocket of big money, insulated from the distressing consequences of severe income inequality, and likely extremely out of touch with what it actually means to live in America. Cruz sounds like a ween and Trump sounds like a sociopath, both words more frequently associated with the male gender, yet no one would cry sexism or gendered language there (the language is gendered, but it’s also not the point). Hillary sounds shrill, not because she is a woman, but because she is coming unhinged. She is so desperate to win, she will do anything, as suggested by her constantly shifting messaging in an attempt to swing Bernie supporters back her way; as demonstrated by her enormously disappointing, and deeply insulting move to parade out Steinem and Albright to tsk-tsk women into voting for her. In essence, this strategy smashes any pretense that Hillary respects women and thinks them capable of reaching their own informed conclusions. She is not speaking truth to power; she is power, and to her, the truth is irrelevant.

  11. “Sanders wants to transform society. He wants a revolution.” Unless Sanders is building a movement to seize the apparatus of production by force and overthrow the state that is very much nonsense. Sanders wants evolution and reform to ease the harsh conditions caused by capitalism on average working people and bring the US more in line with other wealthy countries like in the EU. Hillary is the stability candidate favoured by corporate America who will keep things more or less like they are. Her policies are pretty much the same as Obama’s but probably more hawkish and even more Israel friendly in foreign policy. The question for America should be if they want to reclaim their democracy from corporatocracy, will they let corporate America choose their candidate for them. If the corporate democrats won’t back a Sanders campaign against a Republican candidate then voters for change shouldn’t back Hillary against the Republicans. The democratic party should split and the tyranny of a two party system should come to an end.

    • What you propose at the end of your post is the definition of divisiveness. The strength of the Democratic Party is that it’s tent is much larger than that of the GOP. The weakness of the Democratic Party is that people such as yourself feel that it’s all or nothing, and are willing to throw the rest of the party (who share most of the progressive ideals that you share) under the buss.

  12. I 100% agree with you. It is far too hard on females in corporate/political life. Too hard, and you’re a bitch. Too soft, and you’re a weak-sister. I’ve had to watch what I say, and how I say it, to ensure I’m not putting my female coworkers and employees “in the box”. Criticizing Hillary for being female is sexist and no one should put up with it, and I challenge males to do what they can to help stop it. You make some very powerful arguments that I’ve kept for further reflection. Thanks for that.

    I 100% disagree with your inclusion of the comment from Quinnipac that ..”but none of the myriad investigations into either have turned up anything close to a smoking gun” with regard to the email server.

    Consider the facts:
    – Clinton setup a personal email server while employed by the State Department.
    – She sent at least 1 email that was State Department business through the server.
    – Investigations have turned up classified email, “not-classified at the time, but contained classified information” email, SPA emails (higher than Top Secret).

    This is sufficient for her to be prosecuted for mishandling of government information.

    What is ludicrous is that people are fixated on whether or not the emails were classified. It completely ignores the most important point. If you are trusted with handling sensitive material, it is SUPPOSED to be “difficult”, “inconvenient”, and “time consuming”. The fact that she set up a server outside the bounds of of the government system strictly for “convenience” should say enough about her character, ethics, and decision making, regardless of whether she’s a female.

    • Well if your main worry is about the safety of the emails, her personal server seemed to be more difficult to hack than the official one – which did get actually get hacked, and leaked thousands of classified documents to the whole entire world.

    • Your article was thoughtfully expressed, but it is difficult, if not impossible, to decide your thoughts and feelings about someone according to a list of rules. Your response to a candidate may possibly be to their voice, mannerisms or words. In the end one’s response to someone is to the character that emerges, which hits us on an emotional and intellectual level. For me HRC is simply not likable – the smile she uses often for its effect, a certain above-it-all attitude, a seeming smugness. I am voting for Bernie for his policies and because he comes across as honest and without guile. Thank you for your article.

  13. What can I say? You say very well what needs to be said. Admittedly, I am a strong Bernie supporter and more than supporting Bernie, I support his message. I think we need change and we don’t have time for feather footing around with token increments. The right have pushed us so far in their direction that the only thing they have to offer is the Bible Bashing Evangelical Side Show Grifters on the RNC Comedy Hour. Having said that…it’s important we remember we’re on the same team, to be civil, rational and reasonable. The US cannot afford the RNC main course, we can barely survive their canapes in the Congress and the left sure as hell cannot afford to be so entrenched and divisive that we allow it to happen.

  14. Wonderful, extremely useful piece; thank you! I want to point out a place where an important word is missing. In the last paragraph, I assume this sentence should say “not get too entrenched”: So I would caution democrats to get too entrenched within their teams that they refuse to see the bigger picture of the need to elect a Democrat in this next election.

    • Mary – while I appreciate that there are people who think they get to insist that we all must vote democrat, the truth is it is my choice. The fact that so many Hillary supporters keep saying we MUST vote for her because she is not a republican is a HUGE problem to me and many others. It’s my choice. This is America, and I get to choose who I vote for. How that simple fact can be unclear to ANYBODY who is paying attention is beyond me. So then I must think they DO know that, they just think they can tell us anyway.

  15. I appreciate this a great deal. AND.

    You have left off the very most important things that is absolutely vital in assessing Hillary Clinton. She endorses MONSANTO (and GMOs and Frankenfoods). Of all the issues in this election, the issues of Big Ag, Big Money, and Big Pharm are in my personal crucible of things I’d like to melt with my fury—because those three things are keeping us from living in any kind of true freedom.

    To think that Hillary—as a grandmother—would be sucking up to Monsanto is appalling to me. She can’t hide behind any kind of front that she’s for organics or that she hasn’t endorsed GMOs. I know people who have family members who work for Monsanto, and who are not allowed to use the word “organic” in their presence without suffering the consequences. Hillary can’t, as Bernie has done, say she’ll “go get Monsanto.” She can’t claim that she cares about the pollution of our food systems and our bodies.

    This is the very most important thing of all in the election: more than who deals with DAESH and who has to deal with the idiot Teabaggers in Congress. Every person on earth deserves clean food and clean water and clean air. Hillary, advancing Monsanto’s hideous and toxic agenda, has proved to me that she is at the mercy of the most evil corporation on earth. It’s all of a piece.

    Please, Bernie Sanders, get in office and put a stop to this madness. Thank you.

    A 56-year-old Lifelong Democrat and Man-Adoring Feminist in Santa Cruz
    Tana Butler

  16. i am female. i will not vote for clinton just because she is of the same gender. she sways to and fro with her stance, in synch with the current public opinions. she is not authentic, but a very clever game player.

  17. I would love a Women to be President, but I want a democrat in the office more. I have been listening to her speak from before the J J dinner. She keeps flip flopping what she says she will do. I want someone in the White House that will truly try to fulfill their campaign promises. Hillary also brings a lot of baggage, emails/Benghazi/worked on wall street/ and worked on Walmart’s board and because of this she doesn’t have the confidence of the disenfranchised Democratic voters. Many of whom are sick and tired of hearing promises that getting no results. Mind you it was not Obama’s fault, because for quit some time the Republicans were stonewalling him. No other president has had that big of a problem before. Without those voters and and young voters she will not be able to beat the Republican. Sanders on the other hand has managed to get the young, many of the disenfranchised, and ex-Republican voters out to caucus and ring doorbells for the first time for him. If you look at resent history any time you have a D or R in the White House for two terms it will pop to the apposing party. If you look farther back in time there were exceptions, but those were exceptional people or exceptional circumstances. Other than being a women Hillary doesn’t have have the cross political likability to get enough votes to win. Unless she runs against Trump. She can beat him. Now if Elizabeth Worren ran she could win against any of them. I would love her to be President, because I would trust her to keep her word. That doesn’t mean she would get everything she wants, but it would me that she would do her best.

  18. I’m a woman of Hillary’s generation and I’ve run into plenty of sexism. But just as annoying are those who imply sexism where none was intended. During one of the debates, Bernie said that instead of shouting at each other over gun control, we should actually do something about it (less talk, more action). It’s a line he used previously and has directed at men. Hillary then twisted his words and said that some people think when a woman speaks up she’s shouting and (Hillary) won’t be silenced. Really? That’s just dishonest. Then she claims that questioning her for taking millions from Wall Street is a “smear”. There are legitimate reasons for not liking Hillary Clinton. My vote is for Bernie.

  19. OK, I just have to say a couple of things here. First, the femininity thing … see, whether it’s feminine or masculine I don’t want a president who seems unemotional and unwilling to be open and forthcoming. Sanders can both debate and make emotional appeals, so why shouldn’t I expect Clinton to if she’s competing for the same job? And we make fun of the boys for their looks, their clothes, their posture, their faces, and every other thing, so I kinda feel like that got blown a bit out of proportion due to a touch of hypersensitivity. It’s never classy, and I try to avoid it, but the news does it to everybody. Second, likability DOES matter in a president. This is the person who will do our most important negotiating with other leaders. It would be very helpful for them to be at least a little likable. This is one of the SAME problems I have with Trump, so don’t try to tell me it has to do with sexist expectations. I give zero fucks about speculations as to sexuality or past drug use. I care whether this person can make a good impression. And I absolutely have and do accuse male candidates of being disingenuous and political insiders, both of which DO describe Clinton, and I’m not saying that because of emailgate or Benghazi, neither of which I even bothered to closely follow and both of which I am sick of hearing about from both sides. And her attempts to address the likability issue backfire BECAUSE she is disingenuous and out of touch with the general public and the times. 3) Though both of these issues matter neither bother me as much as her voting record and non-voting record. Candidates will never operate in a vacuum, but the PRESIDENT needs to be able to keep track of the bigger picture.

  20. Hillary is a rank and file consummate, establishment bureaucrat who can roughhouse just as effectively as the boys. A Clinton administration would effectively be non-differentiable from a Bush form in terms of it’s action. Not only would it be non-progressive, but would be subject to the influence of heavy handed foreign corporate interests . Clinton is a DINO, Democrat In Name Only.

  21. (Sorry about the pseudonym, but I have a distant past in showbiz. Using my real name online creates a tsunami of spammers, stalkers and trolls.)

    I’m refreshed to read such a well-written, well-considered examination of this problem. Like racism, sexism was a normal part of social programming for seniors like me. It became a normal part of our behavior without our individual consent. It takes study to understand and recognize it in ourselves, in order to change.

    That said, I think Mrs. Clinton is a good, dedicated, talented, competent public servant. She’s too hawkish for my preference, and too many of her policy goals are “status quo” goals that to me lack sufficient courage. i’ll vote for her if she’s the nominee, but for now I prefer Sanders’ “reach should exceed grasp” approach.

  22. As a Jill Stein voter in 2012, I have to say that gender in such matters, for me at least, is irrelevant. I dislike Nancy Pelosi because she gives the AIPAC keynote address every year, and I think AIPAC is a destructive institution. I like that Barbara Lee, my congressional rep, voted against invading Iraq. I like Zoe Lofgren for her refusal to vote to reimburse Israel $235M after their bombing of Gaza in 2014, and I dislike that Bernie Sanders voted in favor. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton are reprehensible. They masquerade as progressives but, as I think we all know, have supported a hawkish, corporate agenda going back at least as far as the abrogation of the Glass-Steagall Act. By looking at Bernie’s record–not his age, gender, skin color, or anything else–you can see that, agree with him or not, he is genuine. As I write this, Hillary is in Flint. Enough said?

    If Hillary were male, would you vote for her? If not, then don’t.

    Further note: My mom graduated from Yale Law School in 1948, so not sure that “a few years” before Hillary graduated, it was all-male.

  23. She voted for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act, and this time around we have as a choice someone who had the guts not to do so. That’s all I need to know. But she also is compromised by contributions from big business, and this time around thank goodness we have as a choice someone who is not. She told a bizarre falsehood about landing in helicopter under fire and running for cover, which was either a lie betraying contempt for those she would represent, or if she wasn’t lying she was delusional. Any one of the foregoing puts her out of the race for me.

  24. Thank you for this. I’ve been struggling with the anger that has been coming from so many people and really limiting the ability to have a conversation that allows complications and questioning. I recently posted about this, too, though from a broader view. I really appreciate you breaking this down and addressing the sexism that is flying around, while giving ways to critique without being sexist. I’m going to share this, as it really speaks to the changes we need to make in our political discourse.

  25. Thank you so much for this thoughtful exploration of this difficult choice ahead of us. I agree with you that there is no reason to ever get ugly because supposedly, us liberals are on the same side. But you sure would never know it by the comments back and forth. The only…and I mean the only thing that you barely touched on was what happens if one or the other– Bernie or Hillary–goes up against the GOP. I feel without a doubt that Hillary will win anyone the GOP has in the game right now. Bernie? Not a chance. While I agree with many of his stances, I do not think that he is electible in politics as we know it. Is that bad or good. Neither, it just is. To deny the situation and pretend that Bernie can change everything in one swoop is back where we were with Obama. I, along with millions of others, thought he was the new “hope.” Did it happen? Well he did some good things but nothing like what we all hoped and expected. Bernie won’t either. Hillary at least will prove to millions of women that we can hold our own against a male dominated society. There will be one little girl somewhere in our country who will see her as our president and know she could do a MUCH better job. That change, that RADICAL change will happen when a strong woman like Hillary paves the way. I’m not voting for her jsut becuase she is a woman, I’m going to vote for her because as the most qualified woman we have before us, I want to give her a chance and see what she can do. If not, there will be other Bernies.

    • When it comes to electability, Hillary’s candidacy already has many problems that Bernie’s does not (the fact that she’s already well known cuts against her in some ways, unfortunately). If you read up on polling, Bernie actually does better in a majority of hypothetical general election matchups, and he actually has the potential to motivate populist action within the youth vote (something that was critical to Obama’s 2008 win in the general election).

      When will there be other Bernies? When was the last time a Jewish Democratic Socialist had a chance at the highest office in the land?

      Meanwhile, I’d much rather elect Elizabeth Warren as our first woman in the oval office. She has an integrity of message and action that speaks volumes to her indomitable character, and I’d much rather point to her as a role model to my daughters.

      • Ah, yes. Seen this one before:

        The anyone/woman but her clause.

        Last time around it was Jackson Lee, this time it’s Elizabeth Warren. Ironic as it might be, Warren never endorsed Hillary Clinton, she did encourage her to run. That was 2014, nearly a decade after the book Warren released that the Sanders team is quoting in the last week to attack Hillary Clinton.

        Just a little query. If, for example, Warren encouraged Hillary Clinton to run and thought it would be a good idea, and, if Elizabeth Warren is a politician you respect, why would that encouragement not be enough? Because…?

        “all of the Women –all of the Democratic women I should say — of the Senate urged Hillary to run, and I hope she does. Hillary is terrific” Elizabeth Warren 4/2014

  26. Thank you so much for this thoughtful piece. As a feminist and Bernie supporter, I often get some flack from people who assumed, because of my feminist ideals, that I would throw my hat in the Clinton ring. Then I’m often accused of not really being feminist. Because, you know, I’m suppose to hate men? It’s a frustrating assumption that stems mostly from ignorance, but I’m glad that we are getting more and more opportunities to discuss it in a political forum. Would I love to see a woman in the white house someday? Of course. But only if she is truly the best person for the job. And while I respect Clinton’s career and the strides she’s made, my political ideals align more closely with the democratic socialism that Sanders has been talking about for decades (I’m a Vermonter – clearly there’s something in the maple syrup).

  27. my issue is that i’m sick of seeing (white) women go on about how “women have to support hillary! she is a woman and if you don’t support her you are not a feminist! what do you mean you don’t think she’s a good person? that doesn’t matter! you have to SUPPORT her!” meanwhile her politics and actions over the years have been detrimental to people of color (which of course includes WOMEN of color) in the US and elsewhere.

    “Despite trumpeting her work on behalf of ‘mothers and children,’ she and her husband worked to reduce federal assistance to women and children living in poverty. In her book, Living History, Clinton touts her role: ‘By the time Bill and I left the White House, welfare rolls had dropped 60 percent.’ This 60% drop was not due to a 60% decrease in poverty. Instead, it was a reduction in federal benefits to those living in poverty, many of them working poor, like those employed at Wal-Mart.”

    “In Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, she notes that it was Hillary Clinton who lobbied Congress to expand the drug war and mass incarceration in ways that we continue to live with today, and that have a significantly more harmful impact on black and brown people than white people.”

    “As Secretary of State, Clinton left a legacy that included both a hawkish inclination to recommend the use of military force coupled with ‘turning the state department into a machine for promoting U.S. business.'”

    (source: http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2015/04/12/hillary-clinton-good-for-white-feminism)

    a true feminist recognizes that, yes, hillary clinton has been and will be attacked for sexist reasons, but she herself has also perpetuated harm unto the less privileged, and she deserves to be criticized for it. those who insist that supporting her is necessary to be a feminist clearly do not have a holistic, intersectional understanding of feminism, and clearly do not care about the poor women, the foreign women, the women of color who are damaged by hillary clinton and politicians like her.

  28. cogent points, i think. and well presented. i disagree, however, with this: “Clinton has continued to occupy that same space for the better part of three decades now, a one-woman culture war who plays the political game the same way the men around her do. But unlike those men, Clinton is chided for being ‘disingenuous’ and a ‘political insider.’ Everyone else just gets to do their job.” while, granted, hillary has taken flack for years that no man would have been subjected to, but what we’re seeing in the surge of support for bernie proves that last part isn’t so: we don’t want “everyone else” getting to “do their job.” the reaction against the oligarchy couldn’t be a more profound proof of that.

  29. What’s really interesting from my perspective (I’m British and not in America) is that a lot of the things that Hilary appears to be criticised for, Margaret Thatcher was also criticised for when she was running for prime minister.

    She dropped her voice by a considerable amount, to sound more masculine. If you listen to her before she went on voice coaching, her voice is very high pitched and yes, somewhat shrill (and accented which was another killer in the UK at the time – suddenly her accent becomes totally Queen’s English RP.) At one point during the campaign for Tory leadership she hit the headlines for coming out with a broom to sweep her path – and her star suddenly rose. Her behaviour became more masculine, and she surrounded herself with men, but she “knew the price of milk” in a way that women were expected to – they did the shopping after all; but men weren’t, in order to portray herself as a housewife. She sent out so many mixed messages, it’s fascinating to disect what she did to change herself in order to succeed.

    Now the American people are looking at Hilary, and pretty much the same arguments are being trotted out over 40 years later. It’s really quite sad that society hasn’t moved on beyond voice and appearance still.

  30. An excellent and thoughtful piece. Do you think one could make the same argument when speaking of Republican candidates who seem to be compromising their positions with the people/organizations that they have associated with in the past. It seems that liberal Democrats are not too charitable nor research oriented when it comes to that (I know that I am not). But perhaps we need to be.

  31. Don’t you think people that oppose Bernie Sanders must be anti-Semitic? Here we have the first Jew with a realistic chance to be president- Isn’t this should be something all of these people should be celebrating instead of being so egocentric about their own identity? Shouldn’t they be saying isn’t it great we will have the first Woman President or the first Jewish President rather than attacking Sanders because he isn’t a woman? That pitch seems rather disloyal to feminism? And guess what? That pitch is backfiring all over America.

  32. A good read with some caveats.

    1) Hillary has been the only candidate that has been trying to make this a race about gender in the debates, to an excessive degree for the obvious purpose of distraction from real issues. The rediculousness of it becomes transparent if you replace the number of times she pushes that she is a woman and imagine Bernie saying the same thing about being a jew.

    2) Although it is correct that there has been a long off target right wing narrative to make Hillary be seen as dishonest with distractions that are often debunked, Hillary has unfortunately been very dishonest in the debates with Bernie. This validates using the word disengenuous to describe her. Examples of the lies include saying she never changed position on an issue due to money that she received which Elizabeth Warren among many others has debunked.

    3) Bernie has also had a flood of irrelevant and superficial criticism about his age, his hair, his ability to win, even having women who tout themselves as feminists complaining about him waving his arms or raising his voice being an issue. It would be deceptive to suggest one unfair attack without acknowledging that the other is just as or more common and revolting.

    4) Only one of the candidates has pushed policies that disproportionately take money from poor women of color, and continue drone campaigns that kill more civilians than intended targets including women and children.

    I can not wait to vote a woman into office, when she is the best candidate, and I look forward to seeing Elizabeth Warren and/or hopefully Cynthia McKinney run in the future.

  33. I loved this article, thanks for writing it. I am a supporter of Hillary and Bernie and want them both to win for slightly different reasons, I’ll be happy with whichever one wins the nomination. And for what it’s worth, I would LOVE to have a beer with Clinton.

  34. Thank you for this wonderful article. So much of it rings true, and you enlightened me on a few additional elements of sexism I hadn’t seen.

    I see Bernie as the superior candidate on the issues, but I want to support Hillary and elect a woman president. So I critique Hillary on the issues. In the end I do support Bernie as the best candidate, and I have been called a berniebro for no reason, so I tiptoe around it a little bit.

  35. Thank you for this. I’ve been troubled by the way the discourse between supporters has become a reactionary morass with no apparent regard for civil discourse, nor any recognition that this is a nomination race and when it’s over half of us will need to be supporting the other half’s candidate, period.

    Your piece was a breath of fresh air, and I am signal boosting it because it’s needed and you’ve done a helluva better job than I could.

  36. This was a refreshing take on the situation. I have not read through all of the comments, but here is another fly in the ointment…there is a significant amount of ‘critique’ coming from the right in an attempt to drive a wedge between Sanders and Clinton supporters. A surprising amount of it, I believe, is trolls pretending to be progressive. In each camp, if the majority refuses to vote because their own favorite doesn’t win the primaries, we will lose to the Republicans. I would like to see both candidates calling this behavior out. When our leaders are civil, hopefully, our constituents will follow suit.

  37. I don’t understand how any Democrat can support Hillary. She voted for the Iraq War, the most shameful war in our history, which disproportionately led to the deaths of poor Americans (not to mention Iraqis), she voted for the unconstitutional Patriot Act and its extension, with her husband she wiped out welfare (2/3 of all support to poor women and girls that is), stood behind Bill’s massive expansion of the prison system where the poor are put and then taken off the rolls or the poor because if you’re in prison you are not counted, enabled private prison expansion which uses prisoners for slave labor for corporations such as Wal Mart; she represents Wall Street and large corporations, has been on the Board of Walmart and is a long time friend of Monsanto, changed her votes on significant bills in favor of corporate interests; indeed her experience is irrelevant because she does not represent us. And she lies like a pro (See her Bosnia fiasco) and lies to explain away her lies, thus showing a contempt for voters. Let’s be clear on this: she lied about Bosnia, and when confronted told a lie to get out of it (“I only stopped to greet one girl”) and when caught in that lie told another (I was sleep deprived and so said the wrong thing on that occasion), and when shown videos of her repeating this lie on many different occasions, she finally gave up and went quiet. Top this all off with the audio tape which proves she VOLUNTARILY took on a case defending a man she believed guilty of raping a 12 year old girl, in the process shaming and humiliating the victim, and in the end getting the perpetrator off scott free, beyond a doubt demonstrates she is not the lifelong supporter of women and girls she pretends to be. In short, she has used her influence to push millions of poor women and children into despair, to send thousands of poor Americans to their deaths for the benefit of oil interests and military contractors, and lies as needed to maintain power.

    With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?

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