17 Sep 2016

Michelle Cottle: Hillary Clinton and misogyny

From Saturday Morning, 8:10 am on 17 September 2016

Why does Hillary Clinton the Democratic candidate in the US presidential elections attract such antipathy?

The percentage of Americans who hold a strongly unfavourable view of Clinton is far greater than for any other Democratic nominee since that particular thing has been measured in 1980.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Photo: AFP

One poll shows 52 percent of white men hold a very unfavourable view of her – 20 points higher than held that same view of Barack Obama in 2012.

Michelle Cottle is contributing editor at The Atlantic and she says if Clinton wins, despite the misogyny, she’s not going to escape it in the White House.

“Even if Hillary Clinton wins it’s not going to be this great kumbaya moment where we solve our gender problems.

“A lot of people were very disappointed that the Obama presidency did not usher in an age of post-racial harmony,” she says.  

She says there has already been an uptick in aggressive sexist language being used about Clinton and misogynistic rhetoric on the campaign trial.

“It’s gotten really dark, really early and if you go on social media it gets even uglier.”

But is this just special pleading, do people dislike Clinton because she unlikeable?

“The Clintons in general as a family have always elicited strong emotions for people, and Hilary does not have a lot of the same redeeming qualities as her husband.

“She’s not terribly friendly or chatty, she’s uncomfortable with personal sharing, comes across as chilly, comes across as grossly dishonest, and so there are plenty of reasons to dislike her.”

And although she says not everyone who dislikes her is a sexist, there is an overlay of sexism at play.  

“There are folks who just aren’t comfortable with female leadership in executive roles.”