Leading from the Left

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sexism: The Silence Is Deafening

The most difficult aspect of this year's primary season for me was the sexism: unashamed, open, loud, sometimes angry. Sexist comments were hurled at and about Hillary Clinton with hardly a voice raised in protest.

The silence was so complete, I often wondered if I'd lost my mind. Was I the only person who saw the sexism? Was it all in my head?

Then I started, quietly, raising the question with some of my older women friends. No. I wasn't imagining it. They saw it too; and it disturbed them as much as it did me.

I've wanted to raise the issue on this blog and talk about it; I've wanted to engage in a conversation with some of my friends. But I've struggled with trying to figure out how to broach the subject in a constructive way; folks are so invested in believing sexism didn't play a role in the recent primary that they will hardly stand for a thoughtful discussion.

But if we sweep it under the rug, if we pretend sexism didn't play a role in how Hillary Clinton was treated by the media and parts of the political establish, then we risk allowing sexism to remain rooted in place. I hope that, once passions have cooled, we can have an honest assessment of the role sexism played in framing the political conversation these past few months.

Here's an article by a writer who shares my views on this.