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.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.