we don’t write about men this way…

the article in question…

there’s an article in the new yorker, praising hillary clinton for her political acumen and intelligence. it’s as if the writer has been asleep since 1993. here’s but ONE example of how ridiculous this piece is.

Bedazzled as many in Congress were by the force of her intellect, so evident in these presentations, it was hardly an unknown quantity: her reputation as a formidable lawyer with a first-rate analytical mind had preceded her.

omg, this whole article is problematic:

  • we don’t write this way about men. their intellect and political prowess is usually assumed. i mean, how is it possible that clinton could manage to make a nuanced, persuasive argument? how’s it possible she would have a “first-rate analytical mind?” she used her training to become a politician? WOW! do we point that out about men? nope.
  • hillary clinton has been part of the political machine for a very long time. she was first lady, but more important, she was secretary of state. of course she’s been privy to how washington works. writing about her in this way actually undermines her experience by making it a shock that she paid attention all these years and just let bill have his career while she just chilled in the background; shouldn’t the writer assume that she would know this stuff rather than acting surprised at the way she has navigated the political world? first ladies have more power than many assume. they hear a lot of stuff. of course she’d take that experience and use it when building up her own political cache.
  • pointing out the ways she worked with other politicians in washington – what she chatted with them about, how she could be businesslike, her followup with them – again, things that the media doesn’t usually write about men. it’s assumed they do these things. who cares if she talked with some congressman about his kids and took photos with starstruck politicos? this type of characterization of clinton sets out to prove she’s likable despite her political maneuvering, that she’s a caring person, that she’s warm and concerned – perhaps nurturing even. these are ways that our society minimizes or softens a woman’s leadership. she can lead, but has to also perform the stereotypical duties of making sure she’s not too threatening. (this whole thing is truly complicated, given that i’m really not into anyone stepping over people to get ahead, but still.)
  • the writer is female. way to go, connie bruck. you managed to write a very long piece about hillary clinton that just perpetuates the kind of “what dress are you wearing?” line of discussion about women in politics. couldn’t you have focused on what she’s doing with her current campaign? or at least have not bought into the wonder that so many people have about how clinton carries herself and goes about her work?!
  • i’m not opposed to pointing out a candidate’s track record. i just don’t like the way this was gendered.
  • finally, this just smacks of DNC propaganda.

to be completely honest, after the first few paragraphs, i started skimming. it’s going to be a long campaign season if and when we see more of this style of reporting on hillary clinton and other female candidates.

we don’t write about men this way…

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