Hillary Sexism Watch: If a woman is president, who will iron the shirts?

ironmyshirt.jpg
The last few days have really brought out some sexist assholery concerning Sen. Hillary Clinton. In the past, we’ve ran a post series called Hillary Sexism Watch, but given just how many different sexist things have happened recently, one post isn’t enough. So therefore tomorrow we’re launching a 24-Hour Hillary Sexism Watch: all day I’ll be posting different instances of nasty misogyny leveled against Clinton. (If you have any you think I should post, please email me.)
But just so you have something to look forward to (as much as one can look forward to hearing about sexism), I’ll put up one today.
This I’m a little late on–it seems several young men at a campaign event in New Hampshire yesterday started yelling out “Iron my shirt!”

Mrs. Clinton asked for the lights to be turned on, and the shirt man was removed along with another man who had stood up too.
“Oh, the remnants of sexism are alive and well,� Mrs. Clinton said.
When everyone had settled down a bit, she said, “As I think has just been abundantly demonstrated, I am also running to break through the highest and hardest glass ceiling.�

Indeed. Also, for the dude with the sign–I’ll iron something for you, but it won’t be your shirt.

Join the Conversation

  • sistercoyote

    The gentlemen in question were part of a local “shock jock” squad (I can’t find my link at the moment, dammit.)

  • sistercoyote

    (Hit “post” too soon.)
    Not that that makes it any better, of course.

  • http://digg.com/2008_us_elections/Iron_My_Shirt_man_at_Clinton_event_Was_it_staged zoelawgirl

    In doing some more reading on this incident, it seems possible that the sign guy may have been a plant by the Clinton campaign. Word has it that he and his friend had a “Clinton For President” button and sticker on his bag when he was being escorted out.
    While I see how some guys could have put those stickers on as a disguise to get into the rally, its also possible that Clinton needed to regain her composure after her voice broke in a statement last night and maybe garner some last minute female support.

  • aniri

    Jessica, I’ll help you iron, although it’s not my favorite pastime. As for Hillary, I am starting to respect her more and more. She has really carried herself with such dignity through this campaign. Wow! I don’t know how I would have handled it.

  • sistercoyote

    (Hit “post” too soon.)
    Not that that makes it any better, of course.

  • aniri

    zoelawgirl, I think your logic makes sense, but I would be so disappointed if that were true. I hope not.

  • betty

    first of all, it’s pretty outrageous that anyone would think this is a plant.
    second of all, what, do you imagine (especially the plant poster), would have happened if a group of white people greeted Obama with garden tools with signs, “work my fields”?
    why are we so accustomed and okay with the “take the uppity woman down a peg” approach, yet outraged when it is applied to a race?

  • http://profeministmale.wordpress.com ProFeministMale

    Yeah, because women play victims ALL THE TIME, to get what they want, right? Give me a fucking break … the fact is anyone who claims this was planted is denying that sexism exists.
    Why the hell is it that for everything Clinton does, someone questions it? You’ve all been living under old, white men patriarchy for the last 200 years and you didn’t bitch or question their intentions or what they say, but you do it now when a woman is running for president?
    And people say sexism doesn’t exist.

  • Liza

    I seriously doubt this was a plant. You don’t plant someone to vocalize what is held against you, you plant someone to ask strategic questions. It’s unfortunate that you don’t NEED a plant for this kind of thing to happen. If you’re on Facebook, go search groups for “Hillary Clinton.” You’ll mostly find the “get out of the race and make me a sandwich” type of thing (gag).
    My uncle met her in New Hampshire yesterday. He said she was genuinely polite, gracious, and incredibly intelligent.

  • zoelawgirl

    Believe me, I am fully aware that sexism exists. Today, a female golf announcer said that “all young golfers should go lynch Tiger Woods in a dark ally and I was online to my husband right away, drawing connections between that and Imus’ comment about “nappy headed hos” last year.
    I just wanted to point out the possibility since i read that the plant was a possibility because of the buttons and stickers. I think that’s a logical conclusion because, after all, Clinton is a politician FIRST at this stage of the game. It would be sad if we let anger at sexism blind us from the truth of the matter in this situation.
    I agree that this sign would be getting a lot more outrage and would be much less acceptable and maybe even considered a threat to his physical if it were a “work my fields” sign directed at Obama.

  • Becca

    There is an interesting OP-ED by Gloria Steinem in todays NYT called “Women are never Front-Runners”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/08/opinion/08steinem.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
    im appalled that the iron my shirt thing is not getting any press. and the constant “CLINTON BECOMES EMOTIONAL” headlines are a little much
    one of my favorite things from the debate this past saturday was when hillary was like, Im a woman running for president– id say thats change alright.

  • UltraMagnus

    But if it happened at an Obama rally, and two guys were wearing “Obama” pins, would you then question Obama’s motives, zoelawgirl and say that Obama was *probably* trying to garner sympathy? That’s really the point.
    The only thing you keep saying that they *could* be plants is, “they were wearing Hillary pins!” when you’ve already stated that they probably put those on just to get into the speech in the first place. However, with no further evidence, just the finding that the guy and his friend were wearing support pins, you jump to the second theory that Hillary might have planted those men herself because she needs the sympathy. This is just like when *some* people assumed she must have masterminded the man who took several volunteers at one of her campaign headquarters in order to gain sympathy.
    Like ProFeministMale said, we don’t question white males, but anyone else, especially women, is fair game.

  • llevinso

    I come to this site all the time and never comment, but this obvious sexism made me feel the need to actually start an account here.
    I could not agree more with what betty said. People always seem to see these things as a funny joke but if it were turned into some sort of racist comment everybody would be up in arms. And that’s the first thing I thought of when I read this article.

  • e

    This may be nitpicking but is anyone else disappointed in the language Clinton used to respond? We are not dealing with “the remnants” of sexism. Sexism isn’t dying out and we are not at the end of the battle. I guess I just wish Hillary had taken this chance to acknowledge how pervasive and institutionalized sexism is.

  • llevinso

    Completely agree UltraMagnus, well said!

  • JenM

    Am I being too finicky? I’m kind of annoyed by the original New York Times blog post that refers to Clinton as “Mrs.” instead of “Senator.”
    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/07/iron-my-shirt/

  • EG

    That does it. I’m voting for her.

  • mischka

    Jen M: No, I don’t think you’re being finicky. That bugs me too. I am so impressed by the way Hillary is handling all this. I was on the fence, but I’m going to vote for her now, mainly because she has the most experience.

  • http://www.whynotcantdance.blogspot.com cantdance

    jen M & Mischka: agreed, but if she had said “sexism is alive and well” or something to that affect she would once again be accused of playing the gender card. . . grrrrrrr

  • a_human

    That does it. I’m voting for her.
    People were saying this about the video when she choked up.
    Are you seriously voting for her because of this?
    Seriously?
    Being harassed is not a good reason to vote for someone.
    Let’s keep in mind that she wants to invade Iran.
    Also, while I know that hundreds of people would be willing to do this, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were staged.
    It wouldn’t be the first time in politics a cunning publicity stunt was performed. And with high stakes and campaign funds this year, I can see it happening. Swift boat anyone?

  • Faerylore

    “That does it, I’m voting for her”.
    You and me both, EG. Well, unless, of course Kucinich starts looking like he has a chance…
    Anyone else wish that Obama would at least give us a little credit and finally deliver some actual substance with his speeches, the last one I watched was almost painful with all the bullshit and meaningless buzz words.
    And when I read the “remnents of sexism” part I read it to be more in the sarcastic sort of light rather than the dismissive sort.

  • Faerylore

    a_human do you have any proof that she wants to invade Iran? And seriously, I think that for a lot of us on the fence, this could make a difference.
    Esp bc if you ask me there is no appreciable difference btwn Clinton, Edwards, and Obama.

  • EG

    Yes, a_human, seriously. I think it’s important for feminists to show solidarity in the face of sexist attack, and like Faerylore, I don’t see much difference among the three Democratic frontrunners, with the exception that Edwards does acknowledge that class exists and hurts people. Edwards lost my vote with his backhanded sexist crap re: Hillary showing a teensy bit of emotion. Clinton wants to invade Iran? Well, Obama talked about bombing Pakistan. Clinton voted for the Iraq war? Obama voted for the Patriot Act.

  • http://blog.qusan.com qusan

    People always seem to see these things as a funny joke but if it were turned into some sort of racist comment everybody would be up in arms.
    I said the same thing but how different the story would have been had some guys had signs telling Obama to “Shine My Shoes.” People are more excited about Hillary’s defeat than they are about Obama surging ahead and sexism seems to play a pretty big part in it.

  • a_human

    Since the attack was organized on the radio, what are the chances that Hillary was tipped off?
    Pretty good if you ask me.

  • A male

    I do not see why sexism is being compared to racism and which is worse. Sexist comments about Clinton are *at best*, extremely disrespectful to her as a Senator, and certainly should not be an issue in the Presidential race.

  • MoodyStarr

    My boyfriend and I were sitting at his family restaurant in Manchester, New Hampshire. Some Hilary campaigners were eating before attending this rally. I heard one of the supporters say, “Get men out of the white house!” and I was proud to see men supporting a woman leader.
    “Iron my shirt?” really clever, guys! How long did it take to come up with that one?

  • A male

    “This may be nitpicking but is anyone else disappointed in the language Clinton used to respond? We are not dealing with “the remnants” of sexism. Sexism isn’t dying out and we are not at the end of the battle.”
    That is an important point I missed, e. Most likely because I am a man. Thank you.

  • A male

    “‘That does it. I’m voting for her.'”
    “People were saying this about the video when she choked up.
    Are you seriously voting for her because of this?”
    “Seriously?”
    Yes, a-human, adults as voters are allowed to vote for personal reasons, like how I and most others vote along party lines (I vote Democrat as a rule). And these people probably know the candidates quite well to decide.

  • lyra27

    Faerylore — I totally agree about Obama’s speeches. I’ve been testing them by breaking down his core messages after they’re over, and I usually come away with little that’s definitive. He’s very very vague — and if I can get past the initial charisma, that’s totally obvious. It’s *the way* he says things that riles people up, not really *what* he says.

  • jessedouglas

    First of all, “remnants” of sexism? This is sexism that is still prevalent today, Senator, not what remains of something long gone.
    I’m not voting for Hillary in the primaries but I wouldn’t be at all upset if she won the presidency. If there really is an ironing shortage due to the inauguration of a woman president, I’ll gladly pitch in to fill the void; it’d be well worth it.

  • Lilitu

    Am I being too finicky? I’m kind of annoyed by the original New York Times blog post that refers to Clinton as “Mrs.” instead of “Senator.”
    JenM, that’s SOP for the Times. They use “Mr” and “Mrs”, etc. for everyone, after the first reference. Even the President. (That said, it bugs me every time. But I don’t like the term “Mrs.” for anyone, ever.)
    Also, oh god, the comments on the NY Times blog you linked. Some of them are fine, of course, but all the, ‘Oh, it must have been a plant,’ as if no one ever does this shit…. It makes me awfully stabby.

  • natmusk

    a_human
    even if Hilary was tipped off about the stunt it still was planned by someone else. By letting them come in allowed people, who may be in denial of the sexism rampant in the commentary of her campaign, get visual proof of it. It also gave her an opportunity to call out the sexism she experiences with an actual incident so that people can’t just accuse her of playing the “gender” card

  • MyBabyPanda

    JenM and Lilitu – it bugs me too they call her Mrs. Clinton. I wish they would at least use Ms. I strongly believe that “Mrs.” should be a social title only and that whenever discussing someone in the context of her profession, Ms. is more appropriate.

  • a_human

    Exactly, she capitalized on it.

  • natmusk

    what is wrong with her capitalizing on a situation that she had no control over? You are stating it like we should be skeptical of the situation. She could have ignored it but why should she have to?

  • unklef

    I have to wonder if conservatives are gearing up for the possibility of a Clinton presidency by using the already rampant misogyny in this culture to make sure she tows the line on recent neo-con trends in America’s foreign and domestic policy. Not that they need much help given the mountain of bullshit sexism that exists throughout this society. But still you have to wonder, because this type of abuse isn’t hurled at Republicans like Condoleezza Rice to anywhere near the extent it is at Sen. Clinton. True, Rice isn’t running for President but she has been directing America’s foreign policy and if she gets criticized it is for her policy decisions not her gender vis-a-vis the job of actually being in a position of power.
    I can only imagine how much pressure Clinton is going to feel if as President she backs off on some of the bellicosity of the Bush years. I got a hint of this today when a co-worker- a Bush supporter shouted “WEAK” while listening to the report of Clinton’s emotional response on the campaign trail. I don’t consider Clinton all that progressive- she would have never gotten this far if she was, given how narrow the mainstream political spectrum is- but that almost begs the question of how much established patriarchal institutional norms circumscribe the choices that even very capable women like Sen. Clinton can make in the halls of (male) power. Its much easier for more politically conservative women like Secy. Rice to function in this arena and that says something about the way sexism is used as a weapon to encourage “acceptable thinking” on a whole range of issues both within and more tangential to the core concerns of feminists.

  • llevinso

    In response to ‘a male’ I don’t think anyone was comparing sexism to racism to say which is worse. I was simply saying that sexist comments are seen as funny while racist comments are seen as wrong. I don’t think either one is worse, I just wish that people would take a sexist comment like this one as seriously as they would a racist comment like the one ‘betty’ mentioned.

  • A male

    “I was simply saying that sexist comments are seen as funny”
    Then I consider that a pity, as in the numerous T-shirt or offensive product threads. I have a fair tolerance level regarding comments about men and women, or race from stand up comics, but negative comments based on the Senator being a woman are clearly just dirt.

  • A male

    “Exactly, she capitalized on it.”
    The point is, the Senator is a politician coming from a lifetime of politics. I have read credible allegations of her using plants. So what? It is part of what politicians do, and it’s not like fraud or lying to the public. Others in this race have been accused of using plants. And if Clinton ever does want to recognize the fact she is a woman or has compassion, why is this any different from a male candidate emphasizing his own love for his country by flag waving or emphasizing their military service? I would prefer such an approach from Clinton than a man showing how capable or wiling he would be to go to war. And personally, I watched the video, and did not perceive her to be tearing up or crying. I’ve done worse in college or at work.

  • EG

    Exactly, she capitalized on it.
    Yes, she did. She’s a politician, and she’s able to think on her feet. Good for her. Those are both qualities I want in a president.

  • a_human

    Did I mention she opposes gay marriage?

  • Becca

    a-human,
    no politician “opposes” something as touchy a subject as gay marriage. they just re-word their beliefs about it.
    and for the record, Hillary *believes* in civil unions with the SAME benefits as marriage.
    and i disagree with people who say “but its not callled marriage, therefore its not equal!” because im glad to drop the term marriage along with the historically oppressive notions and traditions it represents.
    check out hillary on the ellen degeneres show. its good stuff =D

  • http://rantingraving.wordpress.com/ Nikita

    Also, for the dude with the sign–I’ll iron something for you, but it won’t be your shirt.
    Promoting violence against men does not help emphasize your point and certainly does not further our efforts towards equality.

  • Jessica

    Actually, I’m just promoting violence against assholes.
    Seriously though, I hear you. That line was definitely written in anger and perhaps not the best response.

  • http://rantingraving.wordpress.com/ Nikita

    He was definitely an asshole. :)

  • Liza

    a_human, have you actually READ any part of Hillary’s platform? It really doesn’t sound like you have.
    -She favors diplomatic means with Iran. NOT war. “I believe that a policy of diplomacy backed by economic pressure is the best way to check Iran’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons program and stop its support of terrorism, and the best way to avert a war.”
    -She has a 3-step plan to pull out of Iraq, starting her first 60 days in office.
    -She plans to rescind the ban on ethical embryonic stem cell research.
    -Rebuild the Department of Justice’s traditional role in defending civil rights and the rule of law.
    -Accessible health care for everyone.
    -Supports civil unions: Hillary will work to ensure that all Americans in committed relationships have equal benefits — from health insurance to life insurance, property rights, and more.
    -End Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
    -She is proposing a national Pre-K initiative that would provide funding to states to establish high-quality pre-K programs.
    I could go on, but I don’t want to bogart the thread with all of the great things she plans to do.

  • AlaraJRogers

    This is a thread about a credible, electable candidate for president who happens to be a woman, and you people are whining that she should have said “Sexism is alive, well, and all-pervasive!”?
    No, she *shouldn’t* have. She should have said exactly what she said. Because the very fact that she was *there*, even if someone told her to iron his shirt, proves that sexism *is* dying and *is* in remnants of what it used to be. Yes, progress on this front is slower than we’d like, but if you forget for a moment that your grandmothers were *legally* not people after they got married — that they needed their husband’s permission to get credit, that their husband raping or beating them wasn’t even a crime (as opposed to now, when it’s a crime that is rarely provable or prosecutable but at least IT IS LEGALLY A CRIME), that employers had every right to fire them when they got pregnant and in fact refuse to hire them pre-emptively because they *might* get pregnant…
    …The feminist movement *cannot* be all about how bad women have it now. Recognize that we have made real, serious, massive progress. No, sexism isn’t dead, but yes, it is on its way out. Again, more slowly than we’d like, and with frequent backlashes, but the momentum is mostly on our side.
    Otherwise Clinton couldn’t have *been* at that rally as the candidate stumping for election. So she’s right, you’re wrong, get over it.
    (Disclaimer: I am not likely to vote for her. Not that it matters because I am in Maryland. I think she’d make a decent president but I think she’s probably the most conservative of the front runners and I dislike how she sold out American women in droves by signing a bankruptcy bill she knew would prevent divorced men from being able to make their child support payments, just because she needed Citibank and Chase to support her run for Senator. However, I like her quite a bit as a person, and I’m not disappointed to see that she won New Hampshire.)

  • haaaley

    MOW MY LAWN
    That’s right, buddy. Get on your knees, open up wide, and mow my curly black lawn.

  • CoCo

    All of the sexist and mysogonistic comments towards Clinton (that started waayyyy before her candidacy) is nothing short of disgusting. To claim that she was crying in that video that the media has been propping up non-stop is ridiculous. And, to ask a Presidential candidate whether they prefer diamonds or pearls is outright insulting.
    However, the comments being made towards the suggestion that this particular incident *may* have been planned are a bit disappointing (especially comments that attempt to compare this incident with racism…as if racism NEVER gets downplayed.)
    I’ve worked on a political campaign before, and I’m shocked that anyone who is not a paid staffer or a well-known volunteer would be able to even get into the event, let alone stand anywhere near the candidate, the stage, and/or the cameras. Blending into an organized campaign operation is not as easy as putting on a “I heart _____” button. Besides, politicians are not above such occasional tactics.
    I haven’t seen a full clip of the event to lean one way or the other…but either way, acts of sexism in and of itself is not a voting factor for me. I’m more interested in the policies these candidates propose that will help to alleviate and ultimately eliminate sexism in this country. And so far, I haven’t heard anything new.