The Media's Favorite Game

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Virtually every day, I document some example of misogyny used against Hillary Clinton. And virtually every day, I encounter numerous people who assert that there is no misogyny used against Hillary Clinton.

That the demonstrable fact Clinton is subject to misogyny is considered "debatable" absolutely enrages me.

There is, of course, all the constant dribbling detritus of a patriarchal culture, to which any woman is subjected by any old person. The obvious misogyny of slurs. Bitch. Cunt. Whore. The more insidious misogyny of language that means something different, something specific, when it's used against a woman. Entitled. Narcissistic. Untrustworthy. Loud. The policing of her appearance, her clothes, her hair, her voice, her tone, her likeability, her emotions, her sexuality, her mothering, her wifeliness, her "murderous cackle," her very womanhood.

There are the Remember Your Place photos, the misogynistic photoshops, the memes, the Hillary Clinton nutcracker.

This demeaning garbage can be found all over the place, all the time. The more hateful and belittling it is, the more quickly it proliferates, shared across platforms for people to laugh at; to satisfy their deep detestation of a woman, of women—to use it to try to "prove" something about Hillary Clinton.

No one loves this game more than the US media. They love to endlessly discuss her "likability," while running segments about how unlikable "some people" find her to be. They love that "some people" construction, which gives them a (laughable) measure of distance from calling her a cold bitch themselves. They depict her with devil horns and portray her as a towering man-crushing monster. They say that she "must be stopped," like she is a plague or, perhaps, Godzilla. They pit her against other women, and imply it says something profound and nefarious about her, if women fail to support her. They dismiss and demean defenders who call out misogyny, accuse them—and Clinton—of twisting words, of being oversensitive, of playing the gender card.

There is no more damning evidence of the unfathomable scope of misogyny to which Hillary Clinton is subjected than the fact that the US media's favorite game is trying to destroy her.

Lest you imagine that is hyperbole, here's a little stroll down memory lane: In 2008, Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy following an enormous number of pieces in the media about how she must run and end our long national nightmare of Republican governance. And, while she was at it, make history as the first female president. Right after she announced, then came the articles about how she felt entitled to the presidency, that she expected to be "coronated," that she was part of a dynasty and needed to GTFO.

Within months, there was so much pressure for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the Democratic Primary, even when she still had a decent chance of winning the nomination, that I started cataloging the public admonishments for her to go away in a series called Take Your Boobs and Go Home Watch.

Then, beginning literally immediately after President Obama's reelection in 2012, there began the pressure campaign for Hillary Clinton to run in 2016. By January of 2013, the media's pressure campaign was already so intense that President Obama was prompted to say, during a joint interview with Clinton: "You know, Steve, I gotta tell you, the—you guys in the press are incorrigible. I was literally inaugurated [looks at watch] four days ago. And you're talking about elections four years from now."

By 2013, fully three years before this election, the media was still pressuring Clinton to run, but that pressure had taken on an edge. Clinton was a liar for claiming she hadn't made up her mind about whether to run, and she was a bitch if she chose not to run. Stories were run quoting anonymous Democratic operatives who said stuff like this: "'We would be at sea in a lifeboat with no food, no water, and no land in sight,' said one veteran Democratic operative who has worked on presidential campaigns, and who, like most people interviewed for this story, asked for anonymity to speak candidly about the former first lady. 'There is no Plan B.' It would be, the operative said, a 'gut punch' to the Democratic party."

By the end of the year, the media was simultaneously telling Clinton she had to run and that she should not run. And by January 2014, Time was asking: "Can Anyone Stop Hillary?"

But they didn't really want her stopped. They wanted her run, and to run quickly. So we got pieces saying she had a moral obligation to run, and that she should "stop dithering." There were pieces about how she was hurting the Democrats by not announcing sooner. The pressure mounted.

Because unless and until Hillary Clinton announced she was running for president again, the game to destroy her couldn't begin.

There was never a happier day for the US media than when Clinton finally announced that she was running. On that very day, the game of destruction begun, as fingers started to fly, composing stories about how she views herself as "inevitable," and how that dishonest bitch knew she was going to run all along but delayed her announcement to screw over other potential candidates. To screw over all the menfolk who wanted to run for the nation's highest office and assume arguably the most influential position on the entire planet, but couldn't make their way down the path because of the gargantuan monster-woman blocking it.

And ever since, it's been wall-to-wall misogynist shit. Even when she wins, she can't fucking win, and the media barely bothered to mention that she was the first female presidential candidate ever to win the Iowa Caucus, because they were too busy discussing all the ways in which Clinton winning Iowa was somehow actually a loss.

Now, they are salivating that she's lost New Hampshire, even though they know as well as I do that winning New Hampshire isn't a reliable indicator of who will be the eventual nominee.

Because they don't actually care about the Democratic primary. They care about destroying Hillary Clinton.

They have spent decades, since the time she was First Lady, building her up and pressuring her to take on increasingly prominent public challenges, only to immediately turn on her and unleash breathtaking misogyny against her when she steps up to the plate.

There is a sickness across our culture in which many people love watching people succeed and then love even more watching them fall. But there is a particular game the media plays with Clinton—begging her to run, cajoling her to run, telling her it is her duty to run—only to then do everything they can to defeat her.

They call her to the stage just to throw tomatoes. Over and over and over.

I don't imagine for a moment that Clinton has made her decision to run for president, twice, on the implorations of a media that she knows hates the fuck out of her. But it is cruel all the same.

And it is painful for me to watch. I hate it so desperately.

I hate that they do it, and I hate that they deny that they do it, and I hate that those of us who see it are gaslighted by despicable dirtbags who revel in the opportunity to humiliate a woman on such a grand and visible scale.

Who actively seek to destroy her, and then write narratives about how she feels "entitled."

I daresay no one is more keenly aware that Hillary Clinton is not entitled to the presidency than Hillary Clinton.

She of the reputed galactic ego, who continues to petition for an opportunity to serve a country that is filled with people who hate her.

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