Palin bashing is women bashing
Sexism in the media is real. Here's what we can do about it.
Let's call it what it is: sexism in the media. No matter your political stripe, pundits are skewering Sarah Palin. Again. Back in the media spotlight for announcing her resignation as governor July 3, she's become easy fodder for misogynistic bashing.Skip to next paragraph
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During the presidential campaign, the press bombarded her with stereotypes that already plague us as a gender – airhead, stupid, not qualified. And no, the media weren't picking on her just because she was a former beauty contestant. If Governor Palin was crucified, Hillary Rodham Clinton was slaughtered. Here, a woman of substance, education, and strength was portrayed as weepy, dowdy, and shrewish.
In a commentary this past week on the Huffington Post, Peter Daou qualifies the reasons for such bashing: "Unlike Clinton, Palin didn't have time to develop the layers of thick skin required to handle the withering glare of the national celeb/politico spotlight, a glare that for some reason shines much more harshly on women like Palin and Clinton."
Some reason? Please. Read the word "women" above and know the truth of it. While it may be true that Palin wasn't "seasoned" enough to bear the spotlight, that "withering glare" shines on all women, no matter who they are. Even the venerable New York Times stooped to this superficial level when Condoleezza Rice was chosen by President Bush as national security adviser. A front-page story featured her clothing selection – that she preferred comfortable pumps and conservative jewelry.
My point is that women, no matter their political leanings, can't seem to get a fair – or balanced – shake from the press. It's the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't scenario, especially for female politicians. This treatment of women in politics, however, is representative of a greater problem: the rampant sexist portrayal of women and girls in general. Whether it's the derisive terms and demeaning depictions in rap and hip-hop music and videos, or the barely dressed women adorning the stages of game shows, sexist ideas and imagery abound in the mass media.