Quote of the Day:
Why is it that today even a woman as impressive as Hillary Clinton is judged not by her merits and extensive resume alone, but held to a pernicious double standard?
–Barbra Streisand in a Huffington Post article headlined "The Sexism in American Politics"
Why indeed is Mrs. Clinton's resume not enough? After all that resume includes that night in Libya when Americans were under attack and the secretary of state responded by–well, by what? We don't know because she won't tell us. How sexist that we even ask!
Reminiscing about her long relationship with Ms. Clinton, Ms. Streisand contiues:
Twenty-two years ago, I had the honor of introducing Hillary Clinton at a Humanitarian Award dinner, given by The Elie Wiesel Foundation. I said of her then and it holds true today, “There is no one in this country who would deny the competence, intellect, stamina, warmth and courage of Hillary Rodham Clinton… But the criticism of Hillary Clinton has again demonstrated that the strong, competent woman is still a threatening figure in our culture. …A man who graduated high in his class at Yale Law School and made partnership in a top law firm would be celebrated. But a woman who accomplishes this is treated with suspicion… Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of the acclaimed biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, said of Hillary Clinton, ‘I don’t think there is a First Lady who has been treated as rudely and meanly except for Eleanor Roosevelt.’” Both of these women boldly risked the scorn of “those threatened by the image of a woman carrying the fight for social justice into the public arena.”
It seems that nothing much has changed. It’s been 24 years since I said in a speech for Women in Film, “Men and women are clearly measured by a different yardstick. And that makes me angry. Of course, I’m not supposed to be angry. A woman should be soft-spoken, agreeable, ladylike, understated. In other words, stifled. Language gives us an insight into the way women are viewed in a male-dominated society.
A man is commanding, a woman is demanding.
He’s assertive – she’s aggressive.
He strategizes – she manipulates.
A man is forceful – a woman is pushy.
He shows leadership – she’s controlling.
A man is a perfectionist – a woman’s a pain in the ass.”
It’s been decades since those speeches, but there is still outright sexism in much of the commentary on Secretary Clinton’s campaign. The Women’s Media Center and Media Matters have done wonderful work documenting the explicit – and more importantly since it’s often unseen – implicit sexism of the political and media punditry.
Nothing like being hurt by invisible sexism!