The Demonization of Hillary Clinton


Bless you, Julia Keller, for giving us this wonderful piece in today's Chicago Tribune, about the untold story of this primary: Devil in a pantsuit or the demonization of Hillary Clinton.
When the doctor checks to see if the patient is still breathing, it's disgust, not compassion, that leaks out between his syllables: "You couldn't kill her with an ax," he sneers.

That patient—the wide-hipped, unwieldy woman at the heart of Dorothy Parker's 1929 short story "Big Blonde"—is a familiar image in books, films, songs, comic books, TV series, video games and, now, politics: The woman as monster. The over-large, over-ambitious, overbearing creature who irritates everybody, the death-defying witch who just won't go away—and who therefore must be destroyed.

...Revealed in the coverage of Clinton's campaign is the persistence of an ancient and distasteful cultural theme: the powerful, ambitious woman as cackling fiend, as fantastically terrifying ghoul threatening civilization. And because this creature (or "she-devil," as MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews called Clinton) is not human, the only solution is to kill it. Not just derail its career—obliterate it. Smash it to smithereens. Vaporize it. Leave not a trace of the foul beast behind.

Hence the appalling preponderance of violent, death-infused imagery in conversations about Clinton, smuggled into otherwise ordinary political discourse like a knife taped on the bottom of a cake plate...
Keller goes on to detail much of the cast-as-inhuman and violent-death-to-the-monster imagery that we've detailed here, over the course of now nearly 100 posts, and notes, quite rightly, that, beyond the "normal" othering of sexism or racism, this is "something different and more sinister," because it is, cumulatively, "an unprecedented public call—albeit metaphorically, but still violently and persistently—for a person's death."
Death, death, death. The steady, depressing drumbeat continues. What these commentators seem to seek is not just a proud female's withdrawal from a political contest—but her outright annihilation. They evoke the nightmarish vision of a commanding woman intent on destruction—thus she must be destroyed before she can launch her evil scheme.
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