I'm not sure why I'm still surprised when the media quite predictably portrays women in a different light than they do men. Call it systematic cautious optimism -- with every sexist jab the media delivers I sincerely hope that it's the last one. Accordingly, it never ceases to amaze me that there are so many people unwilling to admit that our media is methodically bigoted in its depiction of women. With examples abound, women are undeniably held to a different standard than men.
More importantly, however, is that this representation is not relegated to the hot air emanating from the likes of conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. As leftists often like to claim the moral high ground on issues, this is not one of them. From Keith Olbermann to Chris Matthews, the sanctimonious left is no better in rectifying this matter than their nemeses on the right.
I suppose no woman knows this truth better than Hillary Clinton. As the first First Lady to hold a postgraduate degree and having practiced law, Clinton has been subject to public scrutiny for over a decade now. Making her way into the international spotlight in 1992, one would think that by 2008 when she had decided to run for President, the media would have acclimated to the notion of a woman in a position power.
Yet that was sadly not the case. Aside from her credentials being constantly questioned -- it's important to note that at his point in her life she had already headed the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, pushed through the State Children's Health Insurance Program, had a successful legal career and won her Senate seat -- the media's obsession with her appearance, tone and demeanor were unparalleled.
Thus, it should come as no shock that after yesterday's testimony on Benghazi the New York Post decided it should run this cover:
Whereas I think we can all agree that the Rupert Murdoch owned paper is a far cry from being a bastion of journalistic integrity, it is nevertheless worth mentioning that this cover would never run with a man in the place of Mrs. Clinton, and therein lays the fatal flaw of our society. Nearly everybody can agree that this cover is indeed dripping with chauvinist intent, and yet when asked about sexism in the media the vast majority of people deny its existence or insist that the instances that do exist are simply isolated events unworthy of being part of a larger endemic.
When Barack Obama cried while speaking after the Sandy Hook massacre, it was seen as an unabashedly moving address -- after all, the President of the United States was speaking during a time of overwhelming grief. Yet as Clinton choked up when describing the four American lives lost and having to call their families, she is seen as just another ball-buster feminist in a pantsuit who can't really hack it with the big boys.
We live in a society that denies we have a gender problem, which for the most part is pretty easy to do. Men and women claiming that we live in a post-feminist society will point to the oft-cited example of women now outnumbering men in post-secondary education, increased political representation of women, and the mounting presence of women in the C-suite.
While I am never one to deny the progress we have made in our efforts to achieve gender parity, it is worth noting that women still make less than men on average for the same work, our legislatures are still overwhelmingly male and it would take decades to get enough women into the boardroom for it to be considering anything remotely close to equal. Considering these are all notions that require the use of math, I can understand why some people are still reticent to concede that women have yet to achieve equality.
This time, however, our society's sexism is staring right at us in Henry Kissinger-style glasses and scrunchie-less hair. One would think this would make coming to terms with reality a little easier.