media misogyny and sexism

Posted on February 5, 2008


The very fact that CNN even asked a question of such nature is enough to prove how much of a norm sexism is in the media.

In a CNN blog by Jack Cafferty, he asked if women should feel obligated to vote for Senator Hillary Clinton.

Why is that kind of question even allowed on CNN? And what a sad reflection of the state of the country that a question like that is asked in this day and age.

Oh yes, I forgot. The mainly male journalists, anchors and pundits go into a seizure at the notion of a woman being in charge and hence do not feel in the least embarrassed that they could even think to ask such a blatantly sexist question.

Yup, it’s fine to demean Clinton and women by implying that if Clinton wins, it is not from her considerable strengths as a contender but simply because women supported her due to her gender. CNN also insults women by suggesting with that question that they cannot possibly have the intelligence to choose a candidate based on the issues or whose ideas they feel are more relevant to them.

No, CNN, or Cafferty, believes that women would blindly vote for Clinton just because she is a woman, or else suffer immense guilt for having forsaken a “sister” in her time of need.

What an outrageous premise!

Why didn’t CNN ask if white male voters felt obliged to vote for a white male contender, such as John McCain or Mitt Romney?

Or why weren’t they bold enough to ask if black voters felt obligated to vote for Barack Obama? Simple, because they are afraid of being seen as racist and are entirely aware of the wrath that would bear down on them if they had dared to attempt such a question.

But to them, women are fair game. Yeah, c’mon guys, we can insult women’s intelligence and treat them like emotional teenagers but we will get away with it, so why even bother thinking about how our question might be perceived?

There is no stronger evidence than this to prove that in the United States, sexism and misogyny are alive and well, no thanks to unabashed chauvinism, especially in the media. Despite a few highly-publicized sexual harassment cases once in a while, women are still objectified and demeaned. Just flip onto MTV with half-naked women writhing around, or cable news channels, with their unnatural obsession with covering women who were killed or attacked by male perpetrators.

Don’t forget, in this country, women were only allowed to vote in 1920. Black men got there earlier, when the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in 1870, a full 50 years before women were allowed near the ballot box.

CNN and Cafferty’s insult of women and Clinton is more damaging than the two hecklers who told Clinton to iron their shirts at a rally before the New Hampshire primary. The hecklers were not pretending to hide behind a veneer of journalism and fact-finding, they exercised their right to free speech, no matter how odious their message was. But CNN and other media outlet’s way of undermining Clinton and female voters is more egregious, with their masquerade of opinion-seeking, but in reality pushing an anti-Clinton and women-disparaging agenda.

No one should vote for a candidate based on identity politics but the fact is, in the real world, some people do. Elections are not just an intellectual exercise but also an emotional one.

But it is time the media woke up to the fact that Clinton supporters are not on her side only because she is a woman. We want her to be the Democratic candidate and US President because she is competent, intelligent, politically-experienced, passionate and the best qualified to run the country.

And don’t you dare undermine Clinton and her supporters by pulling such a pathetic and sexist stunt.

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