Comments on: The pursuit of happiness on the campaign trail History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:56:15 +0000 hourly 1 By: About last night… (and this afternoon) « Blurred Productions Wed, 07 May 2008 18:15:28 +0000 [...] me that Clinton should drop out or that her supporters are fools. (Bacially there will be no sexist “Clinton should take her boobs and go home” arguments from me) Sen. Clinton clearly appeals to a large segment of the Party and their voices should be [...]

By: Rad readr Wed, 07 May 2008 04:29:17 +0000 The thread on Knitting Clio’s link is frightening, even if kind of juvenile. But what can you expect when Carville starts talking about cojones. This reminds me of a campaign in Ecuador some years back when the populist madman Abdala Bucaram said his opponent’s sperm was too watery. At least we know gringos also go for the low blow.

By: Knitting Clio Tue, 06 May 2008 17:36:18 +0000 The misogyny is now extending to men — see the following post on James Carville from Wonkette:

By: Historiann Tue, 06 May 2008 16:28:05 +0000 GayProf–obviously, he’s got a super-secret progressive agenda of unbelieveable awesomeness that will bring us all hope and unity! And, did I mention the awesomeness?

ej: I’ve been thinking along your lines, except a few centuries forward. I hope that Clinton has been reading biographies of Elizabeth I, who in her day developed an excellent leadership style, albeit one that played on her sex and sexuality in ways that wouldn’t go over well today. (For example, I don’t think she can pretend to entertaining marriage offers to the Spanish prince, since she’s already married.) But, as you know, when heredity was more important, women as leaders wasn’t so outre–and in the early modern period, they had that nice, all-purpose term of “Prince” that applied to both male and female sovereigns.

Actually, maybe being “une dame d’un certain age” might allow her to slide into the “Virgin Queen/Warrior” model of Elizabeth’s. You know, the “I have the heart and stomach of a king!” routine? Lord knows it’s about time for another Golden Age.

By: GayProf Tue, 06 May 2008 15:40:53 +0000 It’s mysterious to me what exactly makes Obama “the most progressive candidate” in decades.

By: ej Tue, 06 May 2008 14:22:41 +0000 What that sign was saying was that Hillary is somehow a failure as a woman, since her husband had to go elsewhere to find “pleasure”. When combined with the masculine rhetoric that her supporters have been describing her with, the result is positively medieval. Back then, when a woman acted courageously in the political or military sphere, she was described as a “virago”, literally a “man-like person”, not truly male, but not female either. This is the equivalent of how people are describing Hillary today, especially those trying to convey how dedicated and tough she is.

The problem is that the term was coined because medieval society couldn’t conceptualize a normal woman in the political or military sphere. They didn’t belong there. They needed some term to describe these exceptions.

As long as we continue to use masculine language to describe the actions of women, even in praise, we undermine their right to those very actions. I think the feminists need to get together and come up with some talking points for the Clinton campaign, so that Hillary can convey to her well-meaning supporters that there are other ways to praise her than invoking male genitalia. While all the men around her seem to find this amusing, its really a slippery slope…

By: Delilah Boyd Tue, 06 May 2008 13:16:42 +0000 “She can’t keep me happy” is a far cry from the nation’s response –not so very long ago– to “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country!”

Truly heavy sigh.

By: nicole Tue, 06 May 2008 12:48:56 +0000 Interestingly, the comments to your blog demonstrate what you seem to be talking about- why the “friendly fire”?
Personally, I’m excited about both candidates and will happily support either. There are parts of each candidate that I’m not thrilled about however, I see them as fairly similar overall. I also can’t see where Dems who say they’d rather vote for McCain than Clinton are coming from. As for Clinton seeming right-wing, well, I’ve found in politics, with certain topics, the libs and conservative right wingers do make strange bedfellows. Beyond that, the brilliance of right-wing rhetoric is that they find something we all agree on (ie: we all like the idea of being free) and play on it (if you like ____________ than you must support ____________). I’ve met quite a few conservatives who are surprised when I agree with a general sentiment they’ve made- we tend to disagree when it comes to what should be done about x or what the cause of x is.

I’m completely grossed out by the poster- and appreciate the analysis.
Also, kuddos for the recent use of gender neutral pronouns (total side note)!

By: Historiann Tue, 06 May 2008 12:01:39 +0000 Rad, we just disagree. I don’t think either campaign is “how-low-can-you-go.” They’re in a campaign! They’re going to criticize each other! They’re not in a Valentine fight! I saw a lot of commentary yesterday on “Obama going negative” in his final ad before the votes start today–but I didn’t think it was out of bounds.

Yes, Clinton is emphasizing strength and toughness, but please note that it’s other people who have resorted to talking about testicles in reference to her “fortitude.” She doesn’t use that language, but apparently even many of her supporters can’t think creatively around the outdated notion that one has to have cojones to be tough. She clearly hasn’t authorized them to use that language, either: when she was introduced by a man in Indiana who praised her “testicular fortitude,” she corrected him immediately by saying, ““I do think I have fortitude, women can have it as well as men!”

(Source on the “testicular fortitude” comments:

The fact is that Americans like to see their Presidents as tough and strong, and as a woman, Clinton has to answer double for that. I think it was Bill Clinton who said that the people would rather follow someone who was “strong and wrong,” than the person who was right but perceived as not as tough. Mark my words–this “warrior” brand that Clinton is taking on is all about McCain and the general campaign. McCain is the marketer’s dream of a Republican presidential candidate (except for the fact that the marketer would probably prefer to run the McCain of 2000 rather than the McCain of 2008.) He’s got the whole Vietnam vet tough-guy thing going for him, but he’s the perfect Vietnam vet: instead of napalming villagers, McCain spent the war as a victim of the North Vietnamese, and endured years of torture and captivity that make him look purer and more heroic than if he had had the ususal tour or tours of duty.

Obama gets a pass for not going to Vietnam himself, as he was only a preschooler when the war escalated. But, he’s still a man, and a man who never served, whereas Clinton as a baby-boomer female doesn’t have the same cultural expectations that she should have proved herself by serving in the military. (Gen X and Millenial generation women politicians may not get a pass on that, since our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have unfortunately offered plenty of opportunities for them to serve.) We’ll see what happens tonight–although I don’t think anything is going to fundamentally change, barring a surprise upset in either IN or NC. But Obama has got to think down the road–if he’s getting “beat by a girl” now, how will he take control of the narrative against McCain in the fall?

By: Rad readr Tue, 06 May 2008 05:32:21 +0000 Yes, ej, the Carville comment was one of several that have to do with painting Obama in a certain way — Bill also got in on the action. And it appears that they are going for the Hill as strongman campaign.

To get back to historiann’s original point — she expects and asks for a certain intelligence in the discussion and moving beyond a kind of low-level commentary and pandering. And while Hillary has been target of much sexism, etc., it appears she is willing to ride out the kind of how-low-can-you-go campaign.

And now I want to apologize to BEW for responding to his post with a nasty line.