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On Hillary Clinton, Sexism, and U.S. Foreign Policy


On Hillary Clinton, Sexism, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Stephen Zunes

After the strong early primary showings by Senator Bernie Sanders, a few high-profile supporters of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton have seized upon an explanation: sexism — and not only by men. Sanders’ high level of support from young women in particular, they say, reflects the naiveté of younger self-identified feminists.


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I think that many of the people who have endorsed hillary have done so either to curry influence with her or to protect their status. We have had people, who young voters do not recognise, like madeleine albright and gloria steinem and supposedly relics from the civil rights era who are angry because their younger supporters want to pursue change in a way that the activists don't like. They are terrified that if progressive thought becomes mainstream that the liberal hierarchy will be outmoded. That we won't attend their rallys or buy their books, hell madeleine albright has been selling her personal slogans on coffee cups for years and obviously stands to loose if hillary falls. But social justice and the fight for equality should have no regard for dear leaders or grandmotherly figures who want to wag their fingers in our faces and say "now, now children". None of the endorsements for clinton demonstrated an understanding of what the average person, specifically young people, go through in this country. So i support Sanders if for no other reason than his commitment to attacking a liberal hierarchy that shouldn't exist in the movement.


As a mature female Feminist over 50, I want to applaud you, Mr. Zunes for this graceful essay. I wish more men took time to examine life from a woman's perspective.

I also oppose the Hillary critics who call her a bitch, whore, and witch. ALL of those references are deeply sexist as well as misogynistic.

And while Hillary MIGHT do more for women's reproductive rights inside the new Fundamentalist Christian cum Military Homeland, I recognize that her pro-military record is the Greater Evil. And yes, it contributes to ENORMOUS harm to women around the world.

Also, inasmuch as this emphasis on militarism deprives the U.S. budget of funds for policies that would genuinely improve women's lives (especially poor and low-income women's lives), what Hillary purportedly offers is a piss poor trade-off against her willingness to champion policies of EXTREME HARM.

Your essay, Mr. Zunes, is 100% on the mark.

I applaud you for explaining Hillary's actual policy positions, and taking the time to examine why it is that older women might STILL endorse her... while younger women do not.

Please keep in mind that there are also women like myself--older and influenced by the direct experience of a sexist society--who STILL see Mrs. Clinton for the dangerous war hawk, Wall St. proponent, and Monsanto apologist that she is.

No corporatist is a friend of Woman OR Mother Earth.

"Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!"


Until recently the democratic debates were boring because they focussed on broad ideas on how each candidate would make the world a better place. But hillary had to resort to this because it is the DP main selling point, that it is a party filled with people who you would expect to see in a political forum. So without being sexist hillary supporters feel that he is and therefore the distinction flies out the door. This forces Bernie to go on the defensive and shifts focus away from the people behind the scenes who are responsible for our unequal society as it is. Because ultimately it is profitable for candidates to call each other racist or sexist or some other label rather than focus on real problems.


Dana Milbank has a piece in The Washington Post, "The sexist double standards hurting Hillary Clinton." Apparently this is the latest tact of the Clinton folks. As well written as this article is, it too fits into the tact. If all the ills of the anti-feminists fall on Bernie, as the default position, then this campaign is going in the wrong direction.


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I do not think that hillary would do more for women as a whole than Bernie because hillary is still operating on the same second wave feminism that she was about 50 years ago.So in her mind it is still critically important that women seize positions of power and go into fields where there has never been a woman before. The only problem with this is that it assumed all women were of the same culture and had the same needs and wants. So it is only in modern years that feminism has reinforced its commitment to mothers and younger women and has began to address the effects of race or poverty on societal patriarchy. So hillary would make some effort on the broader feminist issues but when confronted with a feminist of a different race or of a sexual minority or even a women of a different class she comes off as inauthentic. She wants to destroy the military's brass ceiling but would put women in unnecessary danger in an unwinnable war and would help rich or middle class women while dismissing poor women.


Zunes makes some excellent points about our misogynistic culture and his cautionary advice is certainly on the mark. However, it's been my experience that for some female HRC supporters, ANY criticism of her quickly earns the label "sexist." We can't allow the fear of that predictable accusation
to mute or even temper our criticism.


If having the first woman President is more important than Hillary's Wall Street hawkish establishment credentials, I think its time for Elizabeth Warren to level the playing field, support Bernie and become the first woman VP.


A "liberal hierarchy"? I don't know any liberal that supports the TPP and is carrying on permanent wars among other things. I do know of lots of neoliberals in the DNC and the Democratic Party that are though.


We have to go all the way back to the 1960s to find a major US war where the involvement was begun by a US president. John F. Kennedy got the US involved in Vietnam and LBJ elevated our involvement into a major war where at one point more than 500,000 US troops were in Vietnam. The loss of the Vietnam War resulted in what was called the Vietnam syndrome. That meant there was a reluctance to get involved in a major war again. The so-called Vietnam Syndrome was overcome by George H.W. Bush who led a huge international coalition into the first Gufl War. The quick victory immediately changed the perception of the US military. From a force that couldn't win a war against a third world country it became perceived as an invincible force unlike the world has ever seen. The US even had missiles to stop Sadaam's Scuds.With this unbeatable fighting force at their disposal and with George W. Bush in command as president the neocons believed they had the ability to turn the entire troubled Middle East in Western aligned democracies. However, they needed a reason to begin this transformation and Sadaam Hussain provided their excuse to begin. The rest is history. Congress gave Bush the authority to act giving up their own power to declare war as written in the US Constitution. Despite the UN finding no weapons of mass destruction Bush gave the go ahead for "shock and awe" and we are still living with the disastrous consequences. Democratic voters are being asked who can deal the best with these consequences, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.


Why are you directing this at me?

I am yet to encounter more than 1 or 2 posters who truly understand patriarchy and what several thousand years of cultural-political-economic systems based on domination have meant to the enculturation of both genders.

I didn't respond to your earlier post due to it sounding like the usual pabulum added to major spelling errors. I am accustomed to seeing "new screen names" appear that belong to posters who have a LONG history commenting.

I also find it very disingenuous that those paying message-shapers always manage to send in a FEMALE sounding name to argue against societal misogyny by suggesting that problems specific to women/girls/females are NOT major problems.

Here is your quote:

"Because ultimately it is profitable for candidates to call each other racist or sexist or some other label rather than focus on real problems."


Code word from Conservatives. They also use the "liberal media" frame, and references like "you lefties."


If an activist of any stripe does not primarily fight class issues than their voice is meer commentary. hillary believes prejudices always naturally occur without acknowledging that people deliberately imply them because they are convenient for cementing ones power. Take abortion for example. The rich and powerful will always have safe and discrit family planing, but arguing that poor women shouldn't have access to these things gives them a hypocritical feminine mystic that from a practical and psychological point of view gives them dominion over their poor counterparts. If the ultimate goal of the rich and powerful is to cement their importance over the lowest members of our society than race will be used against people of the same race, sex will be used against people of the same sex, and homophobia will be employed by gays simply because it is useful to maintain social hierarchy.


You are using the word liberal differently than i am. I am talking about people who support social issues but benefit from war and poverty simply because social issues effect them but the activist hierarchy will never be effected by the war or poverty of those outside their class. They are conscious of the fact that they may be disregarded if their aren't monsters to go slay.


Yes because she is interested in the women's issues that affect her personally but seems to care little for the most impoverished in our society.


Wow I had my personal opinions about what you said and instead of responding to my idea on its merits you replied with condensention and paranoia. This is what i was talking about when i mentioned liberal hierarchy people who feel the need to establish themselves as more important and their way of doing things as more sound than anyone else. "I am yet to encounter more than 1 or 2 posters who truly understand patriarchy and what several thousand years of cultural-political-economic systems based on domination have meant to the enculturation of both genders." Really you don't know me.

And when i said "Because ultimately it is profitable for candidates to call each other racist or sexist or some other label rather than focus on real problems." I was referring to people in the democratic party who disregard opposition in the primary by simply arguing that everything Bernie says is sexist or that everything hillary does is racist instead of debating the issues between them honestly. But instead of asking me what i meant you implied that i think sexism and racism don't matter at all which is not my position.


Being a 62 yr old female professional, I've seen and experienced sexism in many forms. I was pleased to see this article. I deplore the sexism leveled at HRC, but deplore her world view and political agenda more. I was thinking that her alleged support for girls and women in the Arab world comes to naught when she's blowing them up just before I read the author's same words. She certainly didn't create the policy, but she sure seems to enjoy it. She back-pedaled on her vote to invade Iraq (victim of faulty intelligence, really?), but orchestrated and/ or oversaw the destruction of Libya, Syria and Ukraine. You can certainly argue that the three counties had despotic dirty leaders, sort of like an unbound Dick Cheny, I imagine, but no sane person can argue that our interventions have improved the lives of their citizens. And she really thinks she will bring Russia and China to their knees. I consider her to be the most dangerous candidate for foreign policy in the race. Cruz would face some nominal congressional opposition, but I can't see the Democrats tryIng to rein her in. After all, Obama's had unfettered power to drone civilians and assassinate American citizens at whim.


Hear hear!!