Playing the gender card

Hillary Clinton has built her campaign on the premise that she is tough-as-nails and can go toe to toe with all comers, whether they be foreign heads of state, other candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, or right-wing political hacks.

One image that comes to mind with this assertion is a kind of roller derby with elbows flying and no holds barred.

Or maybe not so much.

During this week’s Democratic presidential debate, Hillary was targeted by her opponents with some criticism of her votes and her views. At one point John Edwards commented that he had heard Hillary say two contradictory things within the space of two minutes — a legitimate point to be pounced on by an adroit opposing candidate. Other candidates lobbed verbal attacks which appeared to be normal political discourse to those watching the interchanges.

But the next day, Hillary hid behind a metaphorical skirt, albeit her own. Hillary’s campaign staffers let everyone know that they felt that the debate was simply a case of all the boys piling on a girl. They pulled the gender card and called “foul”. It was not “nice” for all those boys to pick on the only girl.

This is playground stuff. It contradicts the image that Hillary has so carefully projected of a strong, competent leader who happens to be a woman. She always appears at these debates wearing a tailored pantsuit, never a skirt. Her concession to femininity in her attire is the choice of fabric and color, not the cut of her clothes.

My feminist core is outraged by Hillary’s campaign playing the gender card.

She can’t have it both ways. Either she is a strong, tough professional — or she is not.

Hiding behind a skirt is not an option if she wants to be sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Clinton, Democrats, John Edwards, politics

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