Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

So is it okay to call Hillary Clinton a "bitch"? The question came up when some woman referred to Clinton that way at a McCain fundraiser. "How do we beat the bitch?" she asked McCain. (To his credit, McCain was reportedly taken aback.)

But to the point. Since people call Hillary Clinton a bitch all the time, it's beyond futile to ask if it's alright. Of course it's not; that's why people do it. Being transgressive means breaking rules, not following them, even if the rule-breaking is, as in this case, so unimaginative. The question is, why do so many Clinton opponents, men and women both, need to spice up their anti-Hillary zingers with such gender-specific, sexually loaded language? Hillary's not an asshole, not a jerk, not a bastard, not a freak. She's a bitch. Only women can be bitches, and only certain types of women - those who exhibit symptoms of PMS 24/7, who are pushy, who are ambitious. Those who are, well, like Hillary Clinton. Uppity women. You know the type.

Well, well. For a woman like me, who's never been much of an overt feminist, this is a sad and revealing state of affairs. We're still ambivalent about women in this society, aren't we? It's taken Hillary Clinton to make me see just how infantile we still are. I'm no great fan of Clinton's, but I feel sorry for her. How much misguided, misdirected and poorly understood hatred is one figure supposed to absorb?

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