Ah, Hillary Clinton: How We Still Love to Demean You

I love checking out the news agencies' photos of Hillary Clinton, because, on any given day, there could be a brilliant picture of our female Secretary of State doing something great, or one of the Remember Your Place pictures. Clinton is typically reminded of her place, as a woman, in one of two ways: The accoutrements of womanhood photo (high heels, lipstick), and the zany face photo. There are an endless number of images of Hillary Clinton making zany faces; just do a Google image search for "Hillary Clinton," and you'll see what I mean. "Bitch is crazy!" their preponderance seems to say.

Today, after not checking photos for awhile, I found these two gems:

The shoes of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are seen as she talks about the New START treaty while at the U.S. State Department in Washington, August 11, 2010. [Reuters Pictures]
START, for those who don't know, is the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. So you can understand why it's important to get a glimpse of the shoes Clinton is wearing while discussing the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms in the United States and Russia.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) greets women attending a Women's Empowerment event at the US Embassy in Kabul on July 20, 2010. Afghan women have long been excluded from public education, healthcare, employment opportunities, and participating in public life. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a major international conference in Kabul July 20 that there was still 'much more work' for the Afghan government to do to stabilise the country. [Getty Images]
You know, the zany face photos are fucking annoying enough when Clinton, who's made global women's rights a centerpiece of her tenure at the State Department and takes global women's rights more seriously than anyone at the top levels of US government in the nation's history, isn't positioned between two Afghan women at a Women's Empowerment event. But this is just beyond crass.

Post-feminist blah blah barf.

And, yes, it's a little thing. But it is, of course, the little things which make the big stuff of institutionalized sexism that much harder to eradicate. The pervasive, ubiquitous, inescapable little things—the small slights and almost imperceptible reminders that women, even important women, are less than—create the foundation of a sexist culture on which the big stuff is dependent for its survival. It's the little things, the constant drumbeat of inequality and objectification, that inure us to increasingly horrible acts and attitudes toward women.

It's those little things that we are called "oversensitive" for pointing out, and so we hesitate, and second-guess, and self-censor, lest we be accused of being one of those feminists. We let the little stuff go, as if it isn't the fertile soil in which everything else takes root and from whence everything else springs.

As if the little things aren't the way that the fundamental idea that women are not equal to men is conveyed over and over and over again.

[Related Reading: Today in Trailblazing and Misogyny: Photos of the Day.]

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus