People LOVE to hate Hillary Rodham Clinton. You would think she was an actual serial killer with the kind of anger and hatred that she stirs up in some people.
But, no, she had the audacity to do something much more antagonizing: she tried to be president of the United States.
Institutional Oppression is when: “established laws, customs, and practices systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups.”
HRC is the quintessential target for an anti-feminist backlash that ultimately ushered Trump into the oval office. A movement that brought nothing short of pure glee to the people in it. Repeat after me with cathartic inflection: Lock her up! Trump that Bitch! Hillary Sucks but Not Like Monica!
People (men especially, but not exclusively) have reserved a special hatred for HRC which—it may surprise some millennials to know—has inexplicably been present since well before she ascended on her own political career. The New Yorker published a piece called “Hating Hillary” in 1996! But…what was the reason for this visceral hatred? What kind of women becomes the target when her husband has an affair? Could it be that she is independent, intelligent, motivated, and (gasp!) ambitious? Maybe they see her as deviating from the established norms and old-school-ideal of the docile and submissive wife/first lady. Maybe people don’t like strong women. Maybe it was the pantsuit**.
Notice that there was less public hatred for Michelle Obama (certainly not absent from public discourse, but it is much less pronounced than the aberrant hatred toward Hilary during her husband’s 8 years as POTUS). And Ms. Obama is BTW just as articulate, intelligent, and successful in her own right. I suspect that because Ms. Obama has repeatedly verbalized her distaste for politics and often opined about having no interest in seeking any type of public office—she is seen as less of a threat (plus she mostly wore skirts). They say the root of all hatred is fear…
That Double Standard
Power and ambition is perceived differently according to compliance with assigned gender roles. This is been statistically proven and talked about for years.
Stated more eloquently in the article Women in Leadership: Walking the Gender Tightrope
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that society (both women and men) punish women for violating gender-role stereotypes. Women are expected to be communal (caring, warm, compassionate, nurturing and sensitive). In contrast, men are expected to exhibit characteristics of assertiveness, independence, ambition, self-confidence and even aggression.
The authors go on to explain how gender role behavior stereotypes put men at an automatic advantage for leadership positions because leaders are expected to be assertive, ambitious, confident, and even aggressive. These qualities are viewed as inherently male (like, obvi we can’t expect a woman to be able to do a man’s job). In contrast women perceived as less likable when they display these leadership behaviors.
While a Man is “Driven”, a Woman is “a Bitch”
* I have too much to say about Trump’s behavior juxtaposed against perceptions of HRC and the objective reality, so it will be a separate post sometime in the near future.
That Visceral Feeling
When you ask a Hilary Hater the reason behind their anger you might get some bullshit answer about “emails” or “Benghazi”. However, in my experience the answer is very hard for people to put into words. There’s just something about her…
I noticed have that it is commonplace it is for people to openly talk about their hate for feminists. A LOT of women I know personally refuse to identify with the label “feminist”. Yet, when I ask these same ladies whether they believe society should value women equally to men, they always say “yes”. Unfortunately, this one woman psychoeducation campaign on the tenets of feminism is not going very far. Hating ‘feminists’ is generally accepted and understood with no explanation necessary. In his 2009 book Guyland, Michael Kimmel theorizes that women opt out of the label “feminist” because it will result in their isolation. The public schema imagines a feminist as “ugly, man-hating, feminazis…” (p. 264). How DARE those smug bitches believe in and fight for their own equality! How dare they upset our established roles! Know your place!
So, like, what is that something all about? What does it mean to dislike someone based on nothing substantially more than a gut feeling?
Carl Jung has a theory of collective unconscious that works well in understanding how sexism is felt and expressed through individuals without their explicit knowledge. Which, is not to say that unabashed sexists don’t also exist (red pill cult and men’s rights group to name a few). But many individuals we know and love believe that they’re ‘of course’ not sexist, and will refuse to acknowledge how the unparalleled hatred for HRC could be related to it—no matter how convincing the evidence. Cognitive dissonance prevents these individuals from seeing any evidence objectively.
The Other Sex
With the 12-month tornado of embarrassment and dangerous incompetence in the WH, the main defense I have heard from Trump voters is still, ‘she would have been worse’. Considering HRC was arguably the most experienced candidate ever to run, I find that just objectively false. There’s something else going on here.
SHE. remember the way Mike Flynn said SHE at the Republican National Convention? Mr. Flynn perfectly expressed the feeling i’m talking about during his speech (emphasis on “she” at 1:12):
He actually describes HRC as “weak” (0:02) and “issuing apologies” (0:08) ! Funny how so many others considered her an aggressive foreign policy “Hawk”. How’s that for archetypal gender oppression?
Hilary Haters appear to have a mental image of her that seems almost entirely made up of projections of sexist stereotypes. Words used to describe her include “cunning”, “manipulative, “shrill” and “crass”. Most of them know very little about the actual person, but that won’t stop them from jumping at any opportunity to spout off “Evil Hilary” nonsense.
The image of her as a “liar” and “crooked” and–worst of all—a power hungry woman–seems conflated to magical proportions. Obviosly one would need to be ambitious to run for president. And multiply that many times over when contemplating the testicle-size necessary for breaking down the ULTIMATE glass ceiling to become the FIRST WOMAN president.
And there is something very intriguing about her STILL being a target of disdain. I believe it’s a bit more than the lack of another enemy for Trump to target in order to keep that Machiavellian dynamic afloat.
The caveat here is that, obviously, the Hatred-for-Hilary narrative and “gut feeling” was fomented and pushed HARD by Trump, his cronies, and their army of Ruskie-auto-bots.
And, again, it’s not just men. Women are OF COURSE part of the patriarchy. My own BFF, who I consider Woke-AF, was a major pusher of the ‘Hilary-sucks’ narrative. If I remember correctly her rational was that she’s a liar and “did you even read the emails?”. I pretty much begged her to vote in the 2016 election, but she didn’t because her vote “doesn’t matter” and “Hilary is going to win anyway”.
Hillary did more to break the glass ceiling in the USA than anyone, ever. She now represents (unconsciously–for most people) the changing of the power dynamic. For the group who is losing some of their entitlement to power [Men/Straight White Men] and the people who help because they believe they’re still at an advantage and so uphold this power structure [the many women involved in patriarchy] she is a treat to their existence.
a simple analysis of her approval rating over time found her numbers drop every time she ran for office of any kind. It would then go back up while she was in office and drop again when she ran and so on. Her approval rating correlated with the act of Seeking power.
And then there’s this
I think… if there is any acknowledgment of collusion… of votes being changed… of Russia hacking the election… of propaganda spread by Russians in order to spread HH misinformation… well than perhaps the election was illegitimate. So maybe, deep-down, everyone knows that she is the rightful president. I mean, If each person’s vote mattered equally she would have won by MILLIONS (***city dwellers apparently count as 3/5 of person). So maybe the fear is that if we truly acknowledge the Russian efforts and the flaws unique to the US “democracy”, then there is a risk that somehow she can still claim presidential throne. If there were enough evidence, could the election results be overturned? That sounds fabulously dramatic, but we do now live in a world of unprecedented impossible things that could never ever happen–happening with quotidian regularity. Could this be festering in the back of the minds of Trump and his army as the impetus that they CANNOT stop slandering her (well that and it just feels so good!)?
They must protect themselves from the worst possible outcome of the Russia investigation. No, no, not espionage and treason reaching all the way into the White House on behalf of our adversary. Not the threat of systematically dismantling the freedom of the press. Not the incompetence and corruption of an administration destroying our reputation with it’s throng of unimaginably incompetent swamp-creatures. A Woman in power. HER. A female president. Acting like she’s the boss.
LOCK HER UP.
**Women receive less vehemence when they acquiesce to the stereotypical look and garb of their ‘rightful’ place—which is to be seen and not heard. By wearing a pantsuit, Ms. Clinton does not fit the proper mold of how a woman should dress. Sarah Palin (to name one ridiculous example) was praised by the Right in part because she was actually pretty dumb and therefore no real threat to men, and SEXY while she did it. A pantsuit can be interpreted as eschewing the established norms of “sexiness” (no doubt some people find pantsuits sexy, just like some people find pool toys sexy, different strokes for different blokes). HRC is putting barriers in front of the would-be objectifiers. A lot of men go after a woman’s looks as the first resource in breaking her down. The examples of this by POTUS are nearly innumerable (the 20+ women who accused trump of sexual assault, Rosie O’Donnell, Alicia Machado, Arianne Zucker, HRC, Elizabeth Warren, the list goes on…). A woman who doesn’t conform and can take the shade thrown her way, is a inherently recognized as a threat to this dynamic. Women who embrace their objectification by men and use it to obtain power/money/influence are perceived as substantially less overtly threatening and inspire less hatred: think Beyonce, Giselle, etc.