This election campaign has already been a nasty one. It has undoubtedly ignited a fire and inspired a revolution among younger generations, but it has also quickly exposed the sexist double standards that still exist within our society.
Although I am personally feeling the Bern, I can’t ignore or dismiss the inequality and sexism that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continuously faces.
As a woman, I realize that although I may not agree with Clinton or her policies, I must be aware of the way I criticize her. This means I can’t demean her hair, dress, voice or any of the other feminine qualities that clearly make her different from her male running mates.
Sadly, Clinton is too often attacked on the premise of simply being a woman. She literally cannot catch a break.
I began wondering, after realizing Clinton’s campaign is too often questioned and destroyed based on the premise of sexism, what it would be like if she were a man and the other candidates were women.
If Donald Trump was suddenly Donna Trump, there would be much more criticism of her hair. Can you imagine how quickly the media would jump on her out-of-date hairstyle every time she stepped up to the podium? Her orange-tan skin, clearly artificially colored, would be made fun of as the media declared her to be fake.
She would be mocked and criticized for cosmetic touches and people would claim her efforts were all done for the sake of appearing younger or more beautiful. People would say she was focusing too much on her appearance.
Her rants of hatred and bigotry would be laughed at and pushed aside. She would be called crazy or emotional and the banter would never be taken seriously.
Instead, it would be brushed off as people blamed her hateful rants on “that time of the month.”
Her rallies would appear to be too emotional and would be denied any legitimacy. Her policy suggestions would be deemed crazy and radical, and few people would stop to give her words a second thought. I honestly doubt she would even be in the race.
A woman standing in Trump’s shoes would be made a mockery of and the political world would never accept her like they accept Trump.
If Hillary Clinton was suddenly Henry Clinton, his clothes would be left out of the discussion. Before reports question why he appears in pantsuits rather than skirts, few people would bother to discuss what he wore or how he looked. His hair and makeup would suddenly seem irrelevant. His “shrill” voice would no longer be a main point of attention.
His words would be given the power and respect they truly deserve. Rather than his strength being questioned, he would be hailed as a true leader. His power would not be declared as “bitchiness.” His authority and strong will would be empowering rather than intimidating. Clinton’s policies would never be questioned, they would be accepted and widely understood.
If Hillary Clinton were a man, power and praise could be hers. When people criticize the former secretary of state, it would be kept strictly business, without discussion of her voice, clothes, hair, makeup or her other feminine qualities that make her seem weak, inexperienced and not credible.
Sexism plays a bigger part in the election than anyone wants to admit and it has clearly found a home within U.S. politics. It is unfair. It is prejudice. And it perfectly highlights the inequality women face on a daily basis.
Clearly, the tables would be turned if the genders were turned as well. Clinton’s experience and past record surpasses Trump’s by a landslide. Why, then, does it seem as if she is taken less seriously?
So yes, you can disagree with Clinton and you can criticize her campaign, just make sure you do it correctly.