The bluntness of this essay by Professor Robin Lakoff is giving me life!
I am mad. I am mad because I am scared. And if you are a woman, you should be, too. Emailgate is a bitch hunt, but the target is not Hillary Clinton. It's us.Woo! Flames!
The only reason the whole email flap has legs is because the candidate is female. Can you imagine this happening to a man? Clinton is guilty of SWF (Speaking While Female), and emailgate is just a reminder to us all that she has no business doing what she's doing and must be punished, for the sake of all decent women everywhere. There is so much of that going around.
...Clinton's use of a personal server has not been found to be a crime. Then how is it that so many have found the charge so easy to make, and make stick? How has her use of the server made plausible all the claims that she is "deceptive" and "untrustworthy"?
It's not about emails; it's about public communication by a woman in general. Of course, in the year 2016, no one (probably not even The Donald) could make this argument explicitly. After all, he and his fellow Republicans are not waging a war on women. How do we know that? They have said so. And they're men, so they must be telling the truth.
(How to tell the genders apart: men are truthful; women are liars. Now you know.)
But here's Hillary Rodham Clinton, the very public stand-in for all bossy, uppity and ambitious women. Here are her emails. And since it's a woman, doing what decent women should never do—engaging in high-level public communication—well, there must be something wrong with that, even if we can't quite find that something. We will invoke the terminology of criminal law to account for our feelings. She's getting away with treason! Put her in jail! We can't quite put our fingers on it, but the words sure do make a lot of people feel better, so they must be right.
Here, Lakoff has identified something that I imagine a lot of women across the country feel, but can't necessarily articulate: That this is indeed an attack on women's ambition and thus it is implicitly an attack on all of us.
The gatekeepers are trying everything they can to retain the denial of access to the biggest, baddest boys' club in the nation, and many of us feel that. We recognize that resistance.
Even if we aren't steeped in the language of feminist analysis (and maybe even if we are!), we know in our bones what this is about and what is has always been about. A bitch hunt. Against a woman who is trying yet again to insert herself in a place that women "don't belong."