Clinton/Palin & the “Attractiveness” Catch

From Merritt Baer at The Situationist:

After the final presidential debate between Obama and Mccain, newsanchor Katie Couric asked Hillary Clinton, “Why do you think Sarah Palin has an action figure and you have a nutcracker?” Clinton replied that she didn’t know. But Hillary Clinton knows better than anyone that capturing the American audience as a woman is a balancing act.

The constant criticism dedicated to Hillary’s pantsuits culminated in the marketing of a “Hillary Clinton nutcracker,” in which her thighs serve as the nutcrackers (perish the thought of imagining what a comparable doll would look like for Obama…?) Meanwhile, Sarah Palin, who took a cue and opted for the skirtsuit and heels, became the subject of sexualized mockery. Interesting too that often, the originators of derogatory material directed at both Clinton and Palin were from the ideological left, a position we associate with progressive and tolerant views.

Read the whole thing here

2 thoughts on “Clinton/Palin & the “Attractiveness” Catch

  1. So everyone agrees that sexism exists, but when are people going to stop finding new ways of articulating the same old thing yet again (guess what! sexism exists!) and instead turn attention to the real issue: so what does it take to change the situation?

    Does anyone have a goal?

    Is the problem that people just don’t realize that sexism exists? Because I don’t see that as the problem any more – I think people see the sexism, so drawing their attention to sexism is not sufficient. They know it’s there. Something else is stopping them from taking action.

    Whatever power there was in raising consciousness in 1970, I just don’t see any power there now.

    Personally I view it as a crisis of legitimacy, and see the answer in re-establishing legitimacy (that is, reformulating and re-presenting the arguments to non-feminists about what needs to be done, why it matters, and how it benefits them to support this cause). If this job is well-done, people will join the cause; the fact that support appears to have dribbled away from the cause suggests to me that the old arguments need to be re-examined. And I think the place to start is to listen carefully to critics, then rebut them – and keep doing it til the rebuttal arguments are sharp and, one assumes, persuasive.

    If 80% of the women in this country supported feminism, there would be no support for sexism (men would not be so bold and free about angering their kin/friends/lovers)…I would like to see feminism adopt it as its responsibility to formulate arguments that are persuasive to all women, instead of waiting for women to see “the truth” (whatever that is) on their own….

    However other people get very angry when I suggest that approach, so I will concede that I might very well be wrong and return it to the original question: what is stopping women from supporting feminists? Why do they side with sexist men against feminists, and more importantly, why has that support (for sexist men over feminism) been growing?

    If the old solutions are not working then what is the new solution?

    And if we do not know that, how do we find out?

    • Lots of good stuff here marcosi and I feel your pain, having been a feminist for forty years now and still dealing with the same problems. The problem is everyone does NOT agree that sexism exists, not all men and not all women believe it and there are some people who would say that there was no problemmatic sexism with respect to either Clinton or Palin. And lots of more important stuff. Feminists continue to work in many different areas to persuade people of its existence, both in what they say and by what they do. It’s long, slow work and often frustrating and painful. If you’re interested in the small steps, I urge you to check out Melissa McEwan’s blog at Shakesville (on my blogroll). McEwan is of the view that feminists and really all progressive people are doing the work of emptying the ocean with teaspoons. Long, slow work but it’s the only way it’s going to get done.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

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