Hillary Clinton: a victim of leftist misogyny?Gage Skidmore

There are few things I hate more in life than ‘feminist’ misogynists. This might seem paradoxical – that’s because it is. These are the people who pay lip service to gender equality and female empowerment, but sexually harass and assault people all the same, or fail to support survivors who come forward. They wear the label ‘feminist’ like a shirt from UNIF; it is nothing more than a fashionable, status-boosting accessory.

One such man is Sam Kriss. If you are at all familiar with the dark depths of Marxist twitter, you’ll recognise his name. He formerly wrote for Vice and BuzzFeed and was the ultimate leftie. He railed against the misogyny of the gaming community, constantly calling out right-wing politicians and the media for their sexism. He has since been dropped from all major news organisations that associated with him. Richard Myers of GQ faced similar allegations, despite having called meninists “cave-dwelling idiots”.

The left loves to moralise about the right’s sexism. I’m not about to deny that misogyny doesn’t exist on the right – of course it does. Especially in America, where most of the Republican party believes Roe vs Wade should be appealed and defunding Planned Parenthood (America’s most important women’s health organisation) is a top priority; sexism spills into policy making. We should call out the misogyny of some people on the right. However, what grates me is the fact that some people think that taking on the label feminist exonerates them from thinking critically about their treatment of women.

“A long, hard look at sexist behaviour and tacit assumptions about women is overdue on the left”

These misogynistic tendencies don’t just manifest themselves in sexual violence. Hillary Clinton has continuously insisted that an important reason for her loss was America’s sexism. She decried the “double standards” women are held to in public life. Take her most famous scandal – the one that many analysts argue fundamentally undermined her trustworthiness in the eyes of the electorate – her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. Would it surprise you to find out that Steve Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart, the news outlet which spewed more vitriol about this scandal than any other newspaper, also used a private domain when he was a White House adviser? I certainly was not.

Women are consistently held to higher standards than their male counterparts. It is easy to see how the comments about her “likeability” were deeply gendered criticisms; would a male candidate really have to meet the same standards? Can we say Trump did? In fact, his dis-likeability could be seen as strength of his candidacy (he was not constrained by society’s norms of politeness and etiquette). A phrase from the American political TV show Scandal comes to mind here: “You have to be twice as good to get half as much.” We constantly elect deeply flawed men but refuse to extend any benefit of doubt to women.

I think we saw some of this in the NUS delegate campaign. Carine Valarche left the hustings upset after being subject to pointed questioning by audience members from Zero Carbon Society. Even if their actions weren’t driven by a hatred of women, it plays into a disturbing pattern in politics and wider society. There was a man on the panel who openly disagreed with divestment and there was a woman who supported divestment but hadn’t actually taken part in the campaign itself. The audience decided to attack the woman, an ally to the Zero Carbon campaign and a liberal, rather than their professed enemy, the conservative. I can’t say that this was motivated by misogyny. I do think, however, it is important to highlight the gender politics at play here – and that it is another example of women being held to a much higher standard than male peers.


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Mountain View

Feminism should mean freedom to do what we want

Bernie bros, Marxists, and leftists have long claimed that such criticisms from the centre are a way to discredit socialism without critically engaging with its ideas. Let me come out and say that is not what I am trying to do. I agree with many of the criticisms the hard-left level against capitalism and its flaws. But I also think that a long, hard look at sexist behaviour and tacit assumptions about women is overdue on the left – especially when so many lefties ostensibly stand for gender equality and ‘feminism’

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