July 3, 2008
I know that the American national political race is a popularity contest to some extent. But just how much of the process is sexual?
Before she conceded the race, I voted for Hillary Clinton in the New Jersey Democratic primary. I have observed and have commented on some of the nasty things people have had to say about Clinton. I get it. She’s just not as likable as Barack Obama and that translates to her lesser popularity.
Now, I’m not saying that Obama hasn’t been poked fun of during the past many months…but the witch iconography that has been applied to Clinton is pervasive in the political pundit arena, as well as in some of the online chat locations where average men and women, such as myself, visit and babble. Consider the following imagery:
This type of “humor” is rooted in the fear and dislike Americans collectively feel for strong and confrontational females. Men, in particular, may find Clinton frightening because she threatens to usurp their authority, rendering them castrated, so to speak. Hence, we have these images:
Whether she’s thought to use her thighs to crack nuts or not, her thighs have become another source for our general dislike of Clinton:
The sign reads: “Hillary Special…Two Fat Thighs with Small Breast and a Left Wing.” So not only has Clinton been compared to a notorious, cackling killer of small animals, she is also compared to a piece of meat; and as such, she doesn’t make the grade. I guess that instead of going to law school, travelling the world, raising a daughter and perfecting her political prowess, she should have been starving herself, getting breast implants and posing for Vogue magazine with Angelina Jolie. That’s really the job of a woman in politics, right? (And while we’re on the subject of Ms. Jolie, do people really believe she’s strong enough to pull off any of the stunts in her new movie Wanted? She looks like vermicelli.)
Clinton’s relationship with her husband is also under intense scrutiny. Take a look at these:
What these prove is that she can’t win either way. If Bill Clinton is seen to have influence over her choices, she ceases to exist entirely. If people perceive that she’s the one in control, she comes off as a dominatrix.
I don’t have these ideas of Clinton and I haven’t considered her likability when choosing her as the next President of the United States. I don’t want to have a beer with the woman, I want her to run a country of potentially 400,000,000 morons who do consider her likability in these terms.
I asked a conservative colleague of mine what he thinks of Clinton. “She’s a liar,” he said. “She tells people what they want to hear. She panders to a specific audience.” These are legitimate complaints. I don’t necessarily agree with him, but he has obviously put some thought into a relevant argument against her electability.
But then he said, “I have absolutely no respect for any woman, including my wife, who catches their partner cheating and stays with them.” Whoa! Hold on! What? He took his argument to the place I am now disputing: a contest of sexual likeability and gender marginilization. If he’s thinking ill of her because she made a decision to forgive, or at least to move on with, a lecherous husband then I cannot support his earlier analysis of her integrity. He’s alligned himself with the Wicked Witch of the West and the Nutcracker theorists and put Hillary in a place of sex and gender based scrutiny. He’s decided to judge her based on her place in a marriage rather than her place in the U.S. Senate.
I probed further. It turns out, this conservative has a longstanding issue with Bill Clinton. “Because of Bill,” he said, “the blow job became very popular with 13-year-old kids. They now think that blow jobs are not sex.”
I want to work with this idea in two ways: 1. Is this really true? and 2. What does this have to do with Hillary?
Our Guys by Bernard Lefkowitz is a journalist’s investigation of a 1989 rape in Glen Ridge, NJ. Several popular atheletes raped a mentally disabled girl in one of their basements. They used a baseball bat and a broom handle, in addition to their dicks, to penetrate the young woman. As it turned out, many of these atheletes were not used to “face-to-face intercourse.” “Sex was something that was done to them, not something they actively participated in. Hand jobs and blow jobs-jobs that girls performed at their bidding. The guys were the formen supervising their work crew.”
Lefkowitz’s analysis of this trend was that the blow job was not something the boys considered to be “sex.” And it wasn’t an act that put pressure on them to perform well. Sexual intercourse is often judged successful if both participants get off. If the girl didn’t get off, the boy would have been said to have failed. But the blow job was just something for girls to perform successfully.
This all happened in 1989 before the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal of 1997, and many people who read the book could identify similar thinking in high schools across the country. I think that Bill Clinton, therefore, did not invent the blow job as a means to avoid intercourse. He just put that concept on television.
And where is Hillary in all of this? She’s not the one with her dick in somebody’s mouth. She’s not the one on her knees under a desk. And she’s not the one watching this unfold on television like an episode of The Jerry Springer Show.
So how does Monica Lewinsky’s job reflect negatively on Hillary Clinton? We American’s have thrown every standard in the book at Clinton and she’s managed to meet or cleanly dodge most of them. She has a bright smile and healthy skin. She looks slender in her trademark pantsuits. She teared up when she got emotional about her wishes and dreams, and slammed her fists down hard when objecting to Obama’s smear tactics in Ohio.
The problem for Clinton is that every time she has changed to fit our fickle standards, we throw another one in her direction. If we tell her to be tough, she is. Then we tell her she’s a “bitch” or a “witch.” Then we turn around and tell her she’s too soft when she cries or publically forgives a cheating spouse. She can’t win.
And she won’t until we decide what we want. Americans can be really picky, it seems.
We’re picky about our Hillary Clintons and not about cheap, plastic footware. I get blisters just thinking about these:
One of my friends told me he thinks people hate Clinton on a case-specific basis. “It’s not every woman,” he said. “It’s this woman.”
So let’s hope that the next woman to run for President doesn’t come with her own Bill.