The issue of gender in the 2008 presidential race has come into sharp focus since Clinton complained on Nov. 2 of battling “the all-boys club presidential politics.”
Hillary Clinton has publicly dismissed suggestion’s she’s using her gender to gather sympathy, particularly among Democratic women voters.
Opponents in the 2008 presidential race such as Barack Obama are criticizing how Clinton is playing the gender card in talking about how the other candidates took her on in recent presidential debates. Obama suggested she claimed her rivals were attacking her because she’s a woman.
There are many choices Clinton has made throughout her campaign that could lead her opponents (as well as the public) to believe that using gender is a part of her strategy. Speaking at an all woman’s college and making statements in her speeches suggesting her male counterparts are looking at her differently because of her sex, have led to recent publicity focusing on her election strategy.
After watching Clinton over the past year, it’s hard not to admire the shear effort she has made. To know the issues, to become a more effective speaker, to be more personable, and to loosen up a little is a difficult task. She has given the people a different view of her with the efforts she is making in this year’s presidential race. She has proven herself as an unrelenting campaigner and a skillful debater.
Clinton was simply attacked by pundits charging that the mere mention of the boys’ club was playing the victim. In all due respect, Clinton met her accusers with the facts, not femininity. As Clinton has said in response to her accusers, “I don’t think they’re piling on because I’m a woman. I think they’re piling on because I’m winning.”
It should come as no surprise to the media or general public that a female candidate will bring her own perspective, grounded in her experiences as a woman in our society, to her speeches in the elections. Clinton, though not the first woman to run for U.S. president, is the first female presidential poll-leader ever, as well as having the lead in her party’s nomination. As a female, I find it refreshing to see a woman with such a lead. From watching both Clintons for the past 20 years, the public feels security in the fact that they’ve been known for getting the job done. There is a sense of comfort and familiarity with the Clinton name that many in society can grasp onto.
At a time when our country is at war, people are looking for hope and positive change. Although Clinton symbolizes some of their hopeful thinking, much of Clinton’s press coverage, while not unique, speaks to a much larger underlying issue at hand: sexist media stereotypes working to undermine one half of the worlds population. It’s disturbing that, even though provocative and scantily clad images of women overwhelm our television screens, when a woman like Clinton with substance and character steps forth in the publics eye, other issues like her playing the sex card gather more attention than the substance she can add if elected to office.
The only thing that scares Clinton opponents as well as media outlets placing her in bad light, more than her running for president is the fact that she might actually win. With or without the ‘gender card,’ Clinton stands strong in these elections and many people fear the outcome if she succeeds. Even if she is playing the gender card, there is a reason a female president has never been elected to office. Some people may allude to the idea that she’s using her sex to gain sympathy from the public but in some respects she can.
The ‘gender card’ is a media manufactured scandal intended to dampish her credibility and ideally her lead. But even with that, it can’t act as a deterrent on the excitement, encouragement, or level of support surrounding her campaign. Hillary is in the race to win. The world of politics has been a man’s world for hundreds of years, but its okay to take a chance and try something different. She’s still a human, and the only thing that separates her from he opponents is her gender.