Richard Cohen’s description of Hillary Clinton in his April 14 op-ed column, “A campaign where she is the message,” was sexist and misogynistic.
He implied that Clinton’s main problem is being “a woman of some years of womanly experiences.” This insulted all women, but especially those of us “of some years.” To stress his point, he added “a woman of some years who has led a hell of a life.” In case we misunderstood, Cohen commented, “She has been around.” (Did he not realize this may imply promiscuity?) To emphasize further, he wrote, “She has been walloped. She has been publicly betrayed and damaged and hurt.” Was he trying to evoke images of Hester Prynne? Anne Boleyn? Uppity women in general?
Cohen used highly charged language, language often used to disempower women in general. Like so many hackneyed crime dramas and old-fashioned fairy tales, he tried to portray Clinton as a victim, and not the strong, intelligent, goal-directed woman who is successful in her own right and resilient in the face of a flawed husband.
In the end, Clinton’s biggest problem may be the inability of men “of some years” like Cohen to overcome the old stereotypes of women — the very sexist cliches they grew up with.
Beverly A. Fourier,