Friday, June 13, 2008

Now The New York Times calls attention to media sexism

On the front page of The New York Times this morning is an article on the recent criticism of the sexism in the media coverage of Hillary Clinton during her campaign.

Why is this suddenly a new story only now that she lost the nomination bid and such a criticism has lost all its punch, all of its immediacy, its effect?

I've been tracking the media's sexism since last year. It was last July that the Washington Post ran the "cleavage" story, and back in June Maureen Dowd started dipping her pen in her own self-hating anti-feminist screed: Dowd wrote in June 2007, "And like Tony, Hillary is so power-hungry that she can justify any thuggish means to get the prize." Come on, does any one doubt that any presidential candidate is not "power-hungry"? It's only a problem, for both female and male commentators/columnists, obviously, when that candidate is a woman seeking power, hungrily.

What no-one has mentioned is how the media, from the get-go, prevented Hillary Clinton from capitalizing on the historic nature of her candidacy by focusing on how she was a woman candidate. As soon as she tried to do that, in a speech announcing her candidacy at the historically significant locale of Wellesley, the media was down her throat saying she was "raising the gender card." But at the very same time, Obama was being praised by media commentators for being "post-race", for transcending race. In reality, he was alluding to his race at every chance he got, but he got away with seeming to rise above his race by not mentioning it directly and just alluding to his run being "historic" and referencing slavery and Martin Luther King.

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