#FemTrending: Sexism On The Trail


#FemTrending is a blog series with a feminist kick that wades into the waters of things "trending" in popular culture and politics. Written by GS&NS Digital Content Coordinator, Hailie Johnson-Waskow.

According to a Huffington Post article Is It Going To Be Open Season on All Women in Politics in 2016? from August 10, 2015, “After the 2008 election, a Daily Beast poll revealed that 40 percent of men admitted to having sexist views toward the notion of a female president, agreeing with the statement that men are ‘naturally more suited’ to being in the Oval Office.” 

Arguably, the most contentious issue of the 2016 elections is the inherent sexism associated with female candidates. This ranges from explicit displays like Trump saying “blood coming out of her whatever” to Megyn Kelly to more subtle acts like Clinton being criticized for being monstrous in international relations (when none of her male counterparts faced the same attacks). 

I’ve done a lot of thinking about this – largely because I have been a longtime Clinton supporter. Most of the attacks that I have heard about my particular position include something like “How can you vote for Hillary? Berne is so much better for women.” And, while that could be a good debate, I think this blog post is going to be about something more important.

In the first Democratic debate, Sanders commented about Clinton “all the shouting in the world” wont fix the country’s issue with gun violence. Passing equal pay legislation would mean taking profits away from corporations that fund Clinton’s campaign. Do I even need to isolate Trump’s sexism? My point being, every candidate has practiced instances of sexism. 

And, thus, I advise that during this election we work to make candidates more accountable for instances of sexism. This has proven effective in the past. For example, Black Lives Matters protesters disrupted a Bernie Sanders rally, which shifted voters attention to his race policies and his rhetoric surrounding the organization. As voters, it is well within our power to lead candidates to discuss the issues that are important to us and to make them accountable for irresponsibility. This way, no matter who is the more feminist candidate, we can all begin to create a voting environment that is focused on policy instead of a measurement of who is least horrible to certain identities.  

So we pose a question to our readers; in what way can we hold candidates accountable for rhetoric or decisions that would replicate sexism in politics?

Hailie Johnson-Waskow