I’m going to take the lazy way out here and re-post a comment I made to an article (via Shakesville) that seems right on to me, focusing on the “death to Hillary” rhetoric that now seems to be routine among commentators advocating that she drop out of the race, disappear from the public consciousness, stop tormenting us with her continued presence, etc. As with pretty much any set of comments to a news article, a Sanity Watchers warning applies–with relation to feminism, not fat, in this case. Though of course there are several commenters who are all too willing to post their unsolicited opinions of both Clinton’s and Michelle Obama’s appearance, but remember, there’s no such thing as sexism anymore.

Anyway, here’s my comment (incidentally, I don’t live in Farmington, but apparently that’s the information the system gleaned from my IP address):

Why can’t some of the previous commenters understand that this is not about who is the better candidate or the better person, but about cultural themes that are perpetuated over and over, and what that means about us as a society? Whether or not a person is “horrified” by the character Nurse Ratched is beside the point; I doubt if anyone here is saying that they approve of Nurse Ratched’s behavior or like her as a person. Similarly, I’m horrified by the behavior of the “Jan” character on The Office, but I am much more interested in why the only strong, powerful female character on a popular TV show was written in the first place as such an irredeemable caricature of… well… all of our worst fears and stereotypes about women in power. This to me is much more important and significant than whether the actions of one fictional character are to be approved or disapproved of.

And to those who are saying that the “death wishes” are a one-off, necessitated only because Hillary is such a horrible person, ask yourself honestly if Nancy Pelosi would be treated the same way if she became a truly viable candidate to lead the most powerful nation in the world. You know she likely would be.

This is not about Hillary being vilified, or having her worst character flaws highlighted or her past dug up and used against her, or the grueling scrutiny and schedule she faces as a presidential candidate. Any candidate, male or female, faces these pressures. It is about the theme–death and obliteration–of the particular wording that is used by commentators to describe what they would like to see happen to her, and how that theme relates to other examples in the culture of a desire to “obliterate” strong women that the author outlined in her article. You can ignore these types of themes if you like (a similar one would be the “exotic,” “savage,” or “scary” imagery that is often evoked in opposition to minority candidates or public figures) and pretend it is all about one distasteful individual, but that does not mean the themes do not exist.

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