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September 26 2016

Sexist Stereotypes Abound in the Media's Pre-Debate Coverage

Charlotte Allen

Wouldn't it be nice if, given that we've got a woman running as a major-party candidate for president for the first time in history, that the press refrained from sexist stereotypes?

Here are a few, from major-newspaper commentary on tonight's debate between Democratic contender Hillary Clinton and Republican contender Donald Trump:

1. Women are so mindlessly loyal to their husbands that when a husband commits adultery, they'll take his side:

Mr. Trump also boasted of having employed women in influential jobs. But he risked alienating some women voters over the weekend by threatening to provide a front-row seat at the debate to Ms. [Gennifer] Flowers as retaliation to remarks by Mark Cuban, the billionaire who has been a vocal Trump critic.

That's Patrick Healy and Alexander Burns of the New York Times in a pre-debate analysis.

Right, it's "alienating" to a woman to point out that some other woman has messed around with her husband. Sisterhood is powerful!

2. Women are natural caregivers for children, and that's the role that ought to define them.

So who are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

We know their resumes. We know their histories. We know their foibles and weaknesses. But do we know their characters? Clinton has asked who the American people want to answer that 3 a.m. call. In past campaigns, other questions have arisen. With whom would you leave your children? With whom would you like to grab a beer?

Hands down, Clinton gets the kids and Trump gets the tab.

That's Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post.

Hmm, Donald Trump has raised five children, and among the four adults, three are Ivy League grads or near-grads, and one's a graduate of elite Georgetown. Plus, he seems to get along well with young people: Remember the helicopter rides he gave the kids at the Iowa State Fair in 2015?

Futhermore, Trump doesn't drink--so he wouldn't be worth much in a bar. Clinton, by contrast, enjoys a beer or two, especially with the press in tow.

So, isn't it kind of sexist to assume that just because she's a woman, Hillary is the one whose better attuned to taking care of children instead of companionably enjoying a brewski? Is women's place always supposed to be in the home?

3. Women are so emotion-driven that they just cringe at the idea that anyone could actually use a gun:

Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, said Mrs. Clinton’s focus on “bringing people together” would resonate with female voters, many of whom are troubled by the recent police shootings.

Healy and Anderson of the NYT again.

Oh dear. This election is fraught enough,--we don't need any more misogynistic stereotyping of candidates. Please refrain, press, and help us concentrate on the issues.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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