Presidential Campaign

Election 2016: Misogyny did not do this


Our nation has just witnessed the most stunning political upset since “Dewey Defeats Truman.” Winners (die-hard Trump supporters, reluctant late-comers, the alt+right) are being declared. Losers (#NeverTrump, pollsters, pundits, and Hillary supporters) are bearing their shame. A crestfallen Democrat Party is trying to figure out how things could have gone so catastrophically wrong.

I can tell you where things did not go wrong: do not blame Hillary Clinton’s defeat on misogyny. It is detrimental to the cause of feminism and the dream of seeing a woman in the White House to blame her defeat on misogyny.

{mosads}I am something of a nerd, so please indulge me this analogy for a moment. The years 2004-2005 saw the wide release of two female-centered comic book superhero film adaptations, “Catwoman” (2004) and “Elektra” (2005). The films had hefty budgets, popular actresses in the leads, and came out at a time when superhero films were doing well. They were expected to succeed, but they were poorly-written, poorly-produced, and tediously dull. They bombed horribly.

The studios blamed the films’ failures on their female-centric nature rather than on the fact that they were just all around bad films. The end result was that a “Black Widow” movie that was in preproduction was abruptly halted, and we have not seen a comic book film adaptation with a female title character in eleven years. Warner Bros. will finally break this drought with “Wonder Woman” next year.

Back to Hillary Clinton. Left-leaning pundits and journalists have, for the past several months, produced article after article blaming Hillary’s unpopularity on the nation’s collective misogyny. The real reason we just aren’t into Ms. Clinton, we were told, is that we don’t like women.

The real reason she is so heavily disliked is because she is a woman — and this from a group of people who insisted that their bizarre, vitriolic dislike of the unremarkable Sarah Palin in 2008 was entirely merit-based and had nothing to do with her gender.

I’ll never forget one encounter on social media wherein I voiced my objections to Bill Clinton’s alleged sex abuse of women and was promptly told by an HRC supporter that I was being “misogynist.” On Planet #ImWithHer, even sincere advocacy for sex abuse victims, something that is normally a very feminist undertaking, somehow constituted misogyny if it hurt Queen Hillary.

The reality is that Hillary Clinton was the Elektra of female presidential candidates (does that make Sarah Palin Catwoman?). She had every reason to succeed. She had the money, the preparation, and (reportedly) the ground game. She won at least two and arguably all three debates. She had the endorsement of a popular sitting president and an army of pundits and pollsters all calling the race for her weeks, even months in advance. Yet she failed, and failed spectacularly.

While the reasons for that failure are legion, the primary cause was Clinton’s own terribleness. She was a weak candidate who had never won a tough election contest, having chosen to vie for a senate seat in the safety of deep blue New York.

She lost the 2008 presidential primary to a late-come first-term senator in spite of having preparing for it for years, and was sheltered from a Sanders upset earlier this year by superdelegates and an arguably rigged primary. She chose to run even though she was under a criminal FBI probe; remember when Democrats thought McCain was insane for picking a VP running mate who was under an ethics probe? It turns out they were right.

And her husband’s history of womanizing and alleged sex abuse made it all but impossible for her to play those cards against Donald Trump. Attempting to do so (as she repeatedly did) may have only increased the general public’s perception of her as a lying hypocrite who would say anything to get elected.

To ignore all of this and blame her failure on her gender is to do a disservice to women. If people believe that she failed in her bid for the White House because she was a woman rather than because she was terrible, it could take years before we see another female candidate for President or Vice-President.  

I can’t speak for other feminists, but I am really excited to see “Wonder Woman” next year, and I will be really excited to see a woman in the White House. Let’s make that happen sooner rather than later.

Bridget Jack Jeffries voted for Gary Johnson. Come blame her for Hillary’s defeat on Twitter and GAB.


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Tags 2016 presidential election Bill Clinton Democrat Party Donald Trump Feminism Gary Johnson Gender issues Hillary Clinton misogyny Republican Party United States Women in politics
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