August
26th 2008
Vagina Dentata to address DNC tonight!

Posted under: American history, Gender, women's history

cu-527.JPGEric Bohlert at Media Matters looks at the recent history of Democratic party conventions (h/t Susie at Suburban Guerrilla.)  And guess what, boys and girls?  Hillary Clinton is being treated very differently by the media than any other presidential candidate in recent American history!

What’s so startling in watching the coverage of the Clinton convention-speech story has been the complete ignorance displayed about how previous Democratic conventions have dealt with runners-up like Clinton. It’s either complete ignorance or the media’s strong desire to painstakingly avoid any historical context, which, in turn, allows the press to mislead news consumers into thinking Clinton’s appearance (as well as the gracious invitation extended by Obama) represents something unique and unusual. Something newsworthy.

Based on previous conventions, if a candidate had accumulated as many delegates and votes as Clinton did during the primaries and then did not have her name placed into nomination, that would represent a radical departure from the convention norm.

Read the whole thing to re-live all of the ugly accusations and obscene language of the primary coverage, in its new, improved summer 2008 version!  Aside from showing once again that there’s nothing that anyone can’t say about the Clintons, Bohlert provides plenty of evidence of the misogyny that has been characteristic (rather than exceptional) in the coverage of Clinton’s presidential campaign.  I don’t know why Bohlert continues to claim that he doesn’t understand the origins of this media hate-fest: 

Even after all these months, I still don’t completely understand why Clinton’s essentially centrist campaign for the White House ginned up so much open contempt from the press corps, which has felt completely comfortable addressing her in an openly derogatory and condescending manner. The issue of her convention involvement simply allowed the press to whack her around like a piñata one more time, regardless of the facts.

The allegations and accusations about Clinton and her character are usually fact-free, mutually contradictory, and make no sense–but we’re not supposed to notice, because she’s a monster.  A woman who seeks that kind of power is clearly not a woman, but a she-devil who can embody any monstrous contradiction we can imagine.  Remember these golden oldies?

12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Vagina Dentata to address DNC tonight!”

  1. The_Myth on 26 Aug 2008 at 11:59 am #

    “Clinton was having a hot affair with Vince Foster before she killed him, because in fact she’s a frigid lesbian. (I think there are 4 contradictions right there!)”

    I laughed hysterically at that one.

    When I thought I wanted to be a media scholar/teacher, these were the sorts of media-generated contradictions I’d point out to students and talk them through. So many *hated* me afterward. But many would get it. Some even thanked me.

    Alas, those days are gone now…

  2. Clio Bluestocking on 26 Aug 2008 at 6:50 pm #

    You had me at “vagina dentata”!

    Nothing intelligent to add. You nailed it. The astounding negative reaction to HR Clinton, particularly from people whom you would expect to support her, seems to be almost a warning to all women not to be too ambitious, too powerful, too anything. I’ve heard people say “it’s just her.” No, it isn’t. It’s outright misogyny.

  3. Historiann on 26 Aug 2008 at 8:07 pm #

    Heh–I considered posting a picture of the title, but they were all way too creepy. Just go to image.google.com and type in the first two words in my headline to see what I mean.

    Anyway, glad you two liked the post. Misogyny is just sooooo boring and second-wave and not hopey-changey, isn’t it? Good thing that no woman in her teens or twenties will ever have to deal with THAT again!

  4. Rad readr on 26 Aug 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    Well, her surge as a kind of heroine for the working class shows how off they were when they portrayed her as an elitist during the Clinton years. The right wing now calls anyone who attends an Ivy League elitist — but only when they, ala the Clintons/Obamas, get in with their grades. When C students get in with money/legacy connections, they are not elitist.

  5. PZ on 26 Aug 2008 at 9:21 pm #

    Rad readr, that is because to be elitist you have to actually know stuff. That’s the big anti-American crime.
    And that’s why people have always freaked out about HRC, or so I theorize.

  6. Historiann on 26 Aug 2008 at 9:24 pm #

    She sure knows how to give a good speech, too. And with a nice shout-out to Broncos colors, with her orange pantsuit against the blue DNC backdrop!

  7. Delilah on 27 Aug 2008 at 5:01 am #

    The rightwing hated Hillary long before they even got to know her husband.

    She was targeted for extinction when she sat at the Watergate Hearings legal table… across the room from my husband’s great uncle, Senator Sam.

    What’s sad is that Dems are using the same bogus rightwing smears against her today that they dreamed up back in 1992.

    Truly heavy sigh.

  8. Historiann on 27 Aug 2008 at 6:42 am #

    Delilah–you’re right. But, how has it all worked out for the right wing? Did they vanquish the Clintons and extirpate them from the face of the earth? No? In fact, Bill Clinton is probably the most popular living ex-president, and HRC isn’t going anywhere. She will remain a force to be reckoned with, and may yet run again for president.

    Too bad Dems didn’t think of that before they rolled out the same lies and demonology.

  9. Candy Man on 27 Aug 2008 at 8:09 pm #

    One of my favorite professors in college encouraged us to remember the term “vagina dentata” with that song from “The Lion King,” “Hakuna Matata.” It makes for a pretty nifty tune.

    What a speech, though, eh? I’m still on an HRC high.

  10. Historiann on 27 Aug 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    Hey Candy Man–nice to hear from you. I love that song, “Hakuna Matata!” (Why didn’t I think of the possibilities myself??)

    She did a great job, and so did Bill tonight. Reports of their political deaths have been greatly exaggerated. That’s the amazing thing about the Clintons: opposition and even dirty tricks only make them stronger. And you know they’ll be back!

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