A “Shrill, Shrieking, Shrew”

This morning, a 70-year-old visually impaired African American woman called in to C-Span’s “Washington Journal” to express her support for Obama and her opposition to Clinton. She spoke for a moment about the discrimination she had experienced as a black woman and about the hope Obama gives her. Then she spoke about how disappointed she is in Hillary and Bill Clinton and about the negative aspect of Clinton’s campaign. Then she went into a higher gear and called Clinton a “shrill, shrieking, shrew.”

Here is a person who has been discriminated against four ways:  In the U.S.,  you are the target of oppression if you are African American, if you are a woman, if you are older, and if you are disabled. She is all four, yet she apparently had no inner conflict over delivering a viciously sexist attack against Clinton on national television.

Can you even imagine what would happen if a Clinton supporter phoned C-Span to call Obama a racist name?

The internalization of misogyny is so strong that women–even a woman like the C-Span caller–think nothing of projecting it onto any female they dislike. This is what is so hard to get across to the thousands of Obama supporters, including many women, who say “But…but…Clinton did this, and Clinton did that”: That is not the point. Work against Sen. Clinton all you like. Attack her policies. Attack her campaign. But when you attack her gender, you display bigotry, pure and simple. And if you are a female and you spew bigotry toward Clinton or any other woman, you are spewing it at me, your mother, your sister, and–most of all–yourself.

As a Second Wave feminist, I frequently feel that everything we did, we did in vain. That is because women’s dependence on a patriarchal system is so powerful, women would rather trash themselves than give it up. Obama’s supporters call themselves “progressive,” but those who make gender-based attacks on his opponent are no more progressive than the right-wing culture-builders who have attacked Clinton and other women for decades.

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7 Responses to A “Shrill, Shrieking, Shrew”

  1. mamameow says:

    one of the dangers, to me the only danger, of having an inexperienced person as head of this country, is having wrong decisions made due to their lack of experience. now obama may be smart, he may put knowledgable people in place but because of his inexperience he can be so manipulated!. i think alot of this happened with bush. the presidency is not a place for on the job training. i hope he involves people who will speak their mind and give him sound advise, even if he does not like it.

  2. ladiesfirst says:

    Obama has run his campaign, in partnership with the media, like a campaign for sainthood. People feel they have to defend him from criticism the way they do a messiah, by any means, including with misogyny and racism. I find such a politician dangerous.

  3. Frenchdoc says:

    That is the one thing at the top of my list of unforgivable things: Obama himself, his campaign, the media and the big blogs have allowed the most vile sexist and misogynyst discourse into the mainstream, so now, people regularly pick up on it. They’ve all benefited from it, but the large-scale damage will be long-term.

    All these words and expressions (and the hatred behind them) will be acceptable in the workplace, in schools and universities (after all, it’s fratboy level thinking).

    And the fact that a big chunk of it came from the supposed liberal / progressive side makes it even worse.

  4. Diane Elayne Dees says:

    All these words and expressions (and the hatred behind them) will be acceptable in the workplace, in schools and universities (after all, it’s fratboy level thinking).

    They have always been acceptable in those places.

  5. Frenchdoc says:

    Diane, I guess I should have said “even more acceptable than before”.

  6. Diane Elayne Dees says:

    Sad, isn’t it, Frenchdoc?

  7. Frenchdoc says:

    Diane, it sure is sad. Again, one of the saddest products of this primary.