Katha Pollitt, in an article called “Whatever Happened to Candidate Obama,” writes this (emphases mine):
I’m still glad I supported Obama over Hillary Clinton. If Hillary had won the election, every single day would be a festival of misogyny. We would hear constantly about her voice, her laugh, her wrinkles, her marriage and what a heartless, evil bitch she is for doing something–whatever!–men have done since the Stone Age. Each week would bring its quotient of pieces by fancy women writers explaining why they were right not to have liked her in the first place.Liberal pundits would blame her for discouraging the armies of hope and change, for bringing back the same-old same-old cronies and advisers, for letting healthcare reform get bogged down in inside deals, for failing to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan–which would be attributed to her being a woman and needing to show toughness–for cozying up to Wall Street, deferring to the Republicans and ignoring the cries of the people. In other words, for doing pretty much what Obama is doing. This way I get to think, Whew, at least you can’t blame this on a woman.
Now, I’m actually sympathetic to Pollitt’s viewpoint that “at least you can’t blame this on a woman.” If we had elected Hillary Clinton President of the U.S., I’m sure she’d be getting even less credit for things that had gone well and even more blame for things that had gone poorly than President Barack Obama. But–did Pollitt or anyone else proofread this paragraph? As my professors used to say in cultural studies seminars in the early 1990s–there’s a lot of “slippage” here.
I’m sure everything will be so totally different when we have that perfect, unassailable, totally awesome female Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidate! Instead of that unstable freak Victoria Woodhull, or the dangerously radical Shirley Chisholm, or that crooked, incompetent Geraldine Ferraro, or that unserious, stupid “Caribou Barbie” Sarah Palin, or that old b!tch, Clinton. (Or, as Pollitt calls her instead, “Hillary,” in a column in which she never refers to President Obama as “Barack.” Not once.) We’ll never, ever have to hear about that perfect fantasy candidate’s “voice, her laugh, her wrinkles, her marriage and what a heartless, evil bitch she is for doing something–whatever!–men have done since the Stone Age.” Because that’s exactly how history operates: ancient prejudices vanish overnight when a perfect leader appears to show us the way. Thank goodness we’re all saved from having to see, read, and hear misogyny now! It’s such a relief. (At least I’m enjoying the break–aren’t you, too?)
And, I’m so glad that “fancy women writers” in prominent national magazines, for example, aren’t bothering to lecture us on “why they were right not to have liked [Clinton] in the first place.” As Pollitt writes, “Whew!”