Past Event

Is the Media Sexist? Hillary's Battle with the Press

Presidential candidates are subjected to tremendous scrutiny by the media. However, is the coverage of Hillary Clinton different because she is a woman?

Some critics argue that the media focuses on Clinton’s appearance, her facial expressions, and her voice in a way that is not consistent with how they cover male candidates. Critics point out that her choice of pant suit or skirt is promoted as a national concern in the press. She has been criticized for speaking too loudly, abrasively, nasally, or pinched. Why focus on a woman’s appearance or the sound of her voice? What purpose does it serve and what impact does it have? Is this coverage appealing to the public’s desire for fashion, or does it serve to trivialize or objectify the female candidate?

Another critique of the media involves the portrayal of behavior. Some claim that the media depicts Clinton as being soft when she displays emotion or weak when she seems too feminine. They point out that at the same time she is admonished for being too hard or strident when she shows confidence or asserts herself.

Others defend the media by arguing that Clinton has made her gender a focus of her campaign and has therefore opened the door for “gender-oriented scrutiny.” Are words like “soft,” “weak,” “hard,” or “strident” sexist? Is Clinton being judged by the media with a double standard? Should gender be a part of the analysis of a candidate? How can we consider gender without being sexist?

Join us this week as we consider whether the media holds women candidates to a different standard than men.

Suggested Readings:

Cutting Women Out

Hillary comes to rescue her little girl, but saves nothing

Misogyny and the American Dream

CNN’s, ABC’s Glenn Beck: “Hillary’s voice makes angels cry. … Brace yourself, men of America”

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.