The hate for Hillary Clinton is emotional and illogical. You can see and hear it in the words of the Bernie fan base; “Democratic Whores,” “Bern the Witch,” She’s a liar.” It goes beyond the disdain for her supposed “relationship with Wall Street,” as the meme goes, and falls int o an entirely different category not related to any facts.
The Bernie fans rejection of a feminist female president is a conundrum.
What is most interesting from the bulk of the pro-Bernie commentary is the complete omission of Hillary’s long track record of work in women’s rights. We are in a precarious time for women worldwide; the actions of ISIS and Boko Haram are unfolding events on the horizon that impact girls and women globally. But we’ve got our own never-ending struggle for reproductive rights (yes there can be an end to the abortion fight) that keeps women fighting eternally for bodily control that needs to be capped off.
So when it comes to the Bernie Bro world and the throwback “make me a sandwich” and “iron my shirt” mentality about Clinton. I’ve been stewing on this one and my conclusion is not earth shattering. You know it yourselves. They fear change.
There is no way else to explain it, my friends, and the sooner we recognize it the easier it will be to interpret the behavior that vexes us; a Bernie Bro ripping a Hillary sticker off the shirt of a woman in New York’s Columbus Circle, personalized tweets that tell us Hillary’s only credential is her “pussy” and, of course, the Susan Sarandon Syndrome which posits that a vote for Hillary must only be a vote coming from your female naughty bits. (I only use the V word with my gynecologist as I believe it’s usage in public to denigrate women is harmful to girls.)
“Bern the Witch” were the words in a recent anti-Hillary cartoon. Some were horrified. I was fascinated because it’s perfect. Hillary is a threat to the male status quo and Bernie is seen as the antidote. He is an undistinguished senator from Vermont whose few legislative victories include renaming post offices. Sanders’ supporters accept that and the angry speeches about revolution (from the man whose income puts him in the top five percent of Americans), over real legislative success that has benefited children and women.
Their fear translates into hate and it springs from an internal archetypical belief in the differences between women and men; that women are only nurturers and men are the leaders. Switch the roles and heads explode.
Oh yes, they have their reasons for hating her. One reason is that she gave speeches on Wall Street when she was a private citizen, she voted for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, and she has a husband who fooled around. Well, these are all true, but Hillary Clinton also brought the issue of sexual trafficking to the attention of the world when she was first lady; as senator she reached across the aisle and co-sponsored legislation that brought health care to children, as secretary of state she put women’s rights high on the priority list in our foreign policy for the first time in U.S. history.
But those things are simply not enough for them. Yet again, it’s the gender thing – women vs. men. The Bernie fans three pet peeves are historically male domains – finance, military, and politics. Hillary has entered them with aplomb and now she wants to lead the country. That’s a big change. The American presidency is a man’s world: Hillary changes it and Bernie keeps it that way.
Among the Bernie people there is a distinct lack of seeing the inclusion of women in the presidency as a success on the road to women’s rights. Women’s liberationists of the seventies knew that women belonged in the House and in the Senate, but couldn’t quite see them in the White House. That consciousness had not gelled. Are the Bernie supporters still stuck with the ‘House and the Senate?’
Fox News Democratic pundit Juan Williams seems to have already reached that conclusion recently when he said, “The Democratic base is not that interested in the female story.”
Jennifer Hall Lee is a filmmaker who lives in Los Angeles. She has spent many years working on Hollywood films, in visual effects, and used her free time (when she had it!) making her own films. Her latest film, “Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation” is being distributed by Women Make Movies and she speaks about the importance of remembering the women’s liberation movement. Jennifer was named Global Ambassador for the Global Media Monitoring Project. To schedule an interview with Jennifer or book her as a speaker, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer is also a contributor to the new Amazon bestseller, Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox.
Image via YouTube screenshot