THE TRIVIALIZATION OF hillary clinton
Friday, August 21, 2009 at 4:57 pm — admin
Lucky us! Today we get another fantastic guest post from Lois Adams.(Bio below)
This was always going to be a tall order, however- women's issues have never been on the foreign policy agenda of any SoS - whether male or female. And, despite HRC's pledge, people everywhere - and not just in the US - remain convinced that foreign policy is about men's issues, i.e. war and conflict, terrorism, nuclear weapons, hijackings etc.
And if the SoS happens to be female she had better toe this line or risk being ridiculed. To wit: check out the Ann Althouse (apt name, that) eponymous blog for these choice words about Hillary, who, contendes that Hillary is "pissed" at being relegated to Africa by Obama: "Here I am in Africa, encouraging female farmers and consoling rape victims. I'm being marginalized, marginalized as a woman — with women. It's so unfair."
In fact, Bill's foray into North Korea was a godsend to the macho media for it was a convenient distraction from the appalling subject of rape and sexual assault which always makes them very uneasy. At best, their reaction is to studiously ignore it (clearly, if Hillary hadn't had her "outburst" they would just have done just that) or switch focus to feminism as the purported reason for bad male behaviour; at worst, pundits make sexist off-colour jokes and/or whine about "male-bashing".
This time, hallelujah, Bill Clinton got the macho press off the hook. Not only did his trip to North Korea enable them to blunt the message SoS Clinton went to the Congo to deliver but also provided another great opportunity to indulge in the sniggering, Monica jokes that have now become so wearily predictable at any mention of the former president. And when Hillary lost her cool, however momentarily and however justifiably, they got to pot two Clintons for the price of one!
And the female press - the misogynes d'appoint, as one French female writer calls them - were as usual cheering them on from the peanut gallery. Where male journalists feared to tread they rushed in with adolescent glee to chatter about Hillary's feeling fat and bad hair days; one English harpy went as far as to deliver on behalf of the men who would not have dared to do it the ultimate misogynistic sneer - maybe she was having her period!
So what else is new? Madeleine Albright was called a snake and a witch, Condoleeza Rice was called a lesbian and unqualified for the job and Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky told the world that she "needs a company of soldiers. She needs to be taken to barracks where she would be satisfied."
Yet both Albright and Rice performed well and above the average and managed to debunk the myth that only men could do the job. No one has any doubt that Hillary will too, which is precisely the point of "trivializing" her in advance. But because she has bravely chosen to grasp the nettle of "women's issues" - which Albright and Rice dared not touch with a ten foot pole in their day - one would think that women journalists, at least, would give her a break if only for their own selfish good.
But I am not holding my breath. Bravery is in particularly short supply in the female press these days.
LOIS ADAMS is an international lawyer - LLB (Hons.)(Euro), Exeter University, Devonshire, England - LLM, London University, London, England.