Hillary Clinton is the first female major party presidential candidate in the United States. While her having secured the Democratic party’s nomination is an amazing step forward for equality, it’s also important to be aware of the type of sexism Clinton has faced during her public career.
Last month, political news site The National Memo released a mashup video showing just some of the sexist questions and comments Clinton has faced during her time as First Lady, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State and presidential candidate.
Regardless of your politics, watching nearly 40 years criticism over Clinton’s “likability”, and her hair, is hard to stomach.
The video begins with an interview from 1979 when Clinton was the first lady of Arkansas. A male journalist says, “One gets the impression that you’re really not all that interested in state dinners and teas and garden parties.”
And it’s not just men lobbing this drivel at her. In a clip from 1992 a female newscaster asks her whether she believes a first lady can be “both popular and opinionated.”
It get so much worse from there.
In a 1993 interview, Katie Couric asked Clinton, who was First Lady at the time, why she is compared to Lady MacBeth even going as far as to ask if she walks around the White House saying ‘out damn spot’.
Over and over again, Clinton is called “unlikable”, “shrill” and “untrustworthy”.
In a clip from 2008, a Fox News presenter said, “Men won’t vote for Hillary Clinton because she reminds them of their nagging wives.” Another pundit felt the need to add, “When Hillary Clinton speaks, men hear ‘take out the garbage’”.
But, ever the professional, despite the years and years of inane questions about whether she’s too ambitious, too “lawer-ly”, not authentic enough, or whether her hairstyle is too aggressive, Clinton just smiles and nods.
Because Hillary Clinton is up against an impossible task.
Like a lot of women, she is expected to be too many things to too many people. She has to be serious because if she’s not people will say she, and women as a whole are too emotional to be president. But she can’t be too serious or people will say she doesn’t have the likability to be president. She can’t win.
During the 1992 presidential election, Clinton took a lot of flack for her decision to keep working while her husband was governor of Arkansas. A decision that the media said meant Clinton looked down on stay-at-home moms.
The National Memo‘s video ends with something Clinton famously said on the subject in 1992.
“You know, I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfil my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.”
Check out the full video below: