The 2016 presidential campaign has been viewed by many as a clash between the establishment and the disenfranchised voter. But that is a superficial analysis of what really transpired. In essence, the 2016 presidential campaign was a quest to conquer the final frontier--to boldly go where no wo-man, literally, had ever gone before the realm of redefining gender politics. #Hillary Clinton's candidacy was an affront to the male right of claim--a president should be a man, and not just any man, a man's man.
Unsexing herself for political gain
Clinton has drawn many comparisons to Lady Macbeth, the Shakespearean vixen who believes she must "unsex" herself in order to achieve her own political ambitions. But Clinton demonstrated a more ambitious goal. She wasn't trying to "unsex" herself or become more masculine; she was attempting to "re-sex" herself by literally and metaphorically shaping the way the public and the media view female political candidates.
The pantsuit becomes an emblem of female empowerment and perversion
As Clinton ushered the pantsuit onto a national stage, she also redefined how a woman should act on the campaign trail. Essentially, she declared that she wears the pantsuit and you better get used to it. However, America was not ready to embrace a female president. Clinton bent the public's perception of power and politics by playing with the big boys on their turf, and the media helped brand this behaviour as perverse.
Clinton juggles her femininity and fortitude
Dr Courtney Beggs is a professor of Women in the Media at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. She says the media has coded Clinton as hyper-masculine. "She is the anti-woman. She is doing everything and wearing the pantsuit," she said. Dr. Beggs says there's a double standard in the media where male candidates are lauded for their strength and assertiveness while a female candidate with the same qualities is viewed as aggressive or bitchy...in Clinton's case, even "nasty."
Clinton's great expectations extend far beyond glass ceiling
"We expect our political leaders to have a set form of qualities, but in women, we've coded these qualities in negative ways," Dr. Beggs said. Dr. Beggs agrees that Americans may be afraid of a lady president. "Absolutely. That's what's threatening--a woman trying to be too masculine."
The Palin effect
In contrast, Dr. Beggs says that female candidates like former Republican vice presidential nominee #Sarah Palin are viewed differently if they espouse more feminine characteristics. "We saw this in 2008 with Sarah Palin. She was paraded around as a wife and doting mother, even the camera shots were positioned between her legs underneath her skirt." Dr. Beggs says not much has changed in the area of gender politics since the 2008 presidential election when Clinton and Palin were foils for how to behave on the campaign trail. "Female political candidates especially the higher you go bring out gender anxieties, and it heightens them, " Dr. Beggs said. #Election 2016