This primary season has me feeling increasingly uneasy. As a Democrat, I initially attributed this to the mounting dread at the prospect of my (not for much longer) party nominating a neophyte for President of the United States. More recently, I've become aware that my feelings of unease are also related to the free floating hatefulness that has been expressed toward women, with the primary target being Senator Clinton. As the weeks and months have passed, there has been a relentless onslaught of outrageous comments and behaviors that are disrespectful and dismissing. In some cases, the tenor has been one of outright aggression toward Senator Clinton, her high visibility female supporters, and women, in general. I am one of those women and I take it personally.
The media has given itself free reign to treat Senator Clinton with disrespect. Senator Obama also seems to feel free to treat her in a dismissive manner. The Democratic National Committee, in its silence, has left her hanging out to dry. Blogs are full of referrals to her and her supporters as "fat ass bitches".
Senator Clinton has been objectified with nutcrackers being sold in apparent reference to her body form. And now Barnes & Noble is selling a product called the "Hillary Clinton Voodoo Kit: Stick it to Her before She Sticks it to You". Can anyone imagine a comparable product for any of the men running for office being created and tolerated?
CNN has openly called upon Clinton to "reject the votes of racists", including the production of a t-shirt with that statement on it. It's an inappropriate, provocative and inflammatory action. This bastion of news media does this as if racists, sexists, homophobes, and all the other "ists", "obes" and "isms" haven't always had a voice in elections. Curiously, they have not called upon Senator Obama to reject the votes of misogynists.
When an audience member held up a placard at a Clinton rally with the message "Iron My Shirt" on it, there was nary a peep made in the media or from members of the DNC. As Geraldine Ferraro astutely commented, if someone had held up a sign at an Obama rally that read, "Shine My Shoes", one doubts the silence would have been so palpable.
I've wondered if white Americans who are tripping over themselves to appear lacking a racist bone in their body have, perhaps, displaced some of their racists attitudes toward Clinton with over exaggerated expressions of sexism, which appears well tolerated these days.
I've wondered if the number of women being battered across America has risen over these past several months as men with an inclination toward violence against women feel emboldened by the permissive atmosphere to "stick it to us".
One thing's for sure, I've reached my boiling point. Women across America should be outraged, irrespective of whether they support Senator Clinton or not, for we are the ones who suffer as a result of this nightmarish display of hatefulness that has been unleashed upon us this primary season.