New York Times writer Amy Chozick tweeted Wednesday about an email she had received from a group called the HRC Super Volunteers. Supporters of Hillary Clinton, the group warned Chozick that they “will be watching, reading, listening, and protesting coded sexism” as it pertains to Hillary’s coverage in the mainstream media. According to the group, the following sexist words should never be used to describe their chosen candidate:
Will do anything to win
Represents the past
Out of touch
Huh. Leaving aside the fact that few objective journalists would use most of these words in a news piece unless quoting a critic, it’s hard to imagine how these words and phrases can be deemed “sexist” in any way. Name one political candidate of any import that has not been described as polarizing at some point. What presidential candidate cannot be termed ambitious? How does Hillary Clinton being perceived as “representing the past” have anything to do with her gender?
This list of words may be somewhat inscrutable, but this is hardly the first time feminists have insisted there is a secret, coded language of sexism being used to put women in their place. In a Medium article last year, a writer took great exception to the way journalists and insiders were describing Jill Abramson, the fired NY Times editor. She called attention to a Politico piece from 2013, where it was written than “more than a dozen current and former members of the editorial staff…described her as stubborn and condescending, saying they found her difficult to work with.” The Medium author insisted that was “coded language.”:
Abramson is described as stubborn, condescending, difficult to work with, unreasonable, and even sometimes impossible. Men are never discussed this way.
Politicians themselves have played the sexism card when faced with criticisms they don’t like. Following the disastrous November midterms, a reporter asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi if she might think about stepping down. Pelosi reacted with indignation. “When was the day that any of you said to Mitch McConnell when they lost the Senate three times in a row – ‘Aren’t you getting a little old Mitch?’ ‘Shouldn’t you step aside?’ Have you ever aksed him that question? It is just interesting as a woman to see how many times that question is asked of a woman and how many times that question is never asked of Mitch McConnell.”
Hillary’s champions have even played this card before, turning their wild eyes on Barack Obama when the two were duking it out for the 2008 nomination.
“You challenge the status quo,” said candidate Obama of the attacks Clinton was launching at him, “and suddenly the claws come out.” The next month, Obama again raised the ire of feminists when he said of Clinton’s attack ads: “I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she’s feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal.”
No good, said Hillary’s supporters. Blogger Taylor Marsh said that Obama’s language was “a way of demeaning women in power; even saying we’re not up to the job. Seriously, Senator Hillary Clinton is a woman running for president. Not some emotional, menopausal diva popping pills because she’s depressed she broke a nail.”
Might she have read just a little too much into the comments?
All of this, of course, is an attempt to deflect legitimate criticism, just as the left tries to protect Obama by finding racism where none exists. If you can slowly but surely label every possible negative adjective that might be applied to you as an -ism of some sort, then you can successfully dismiss your attackers with a wave of the hand.
Hmm, sounds kinda…calculating.