Say Hillary Clinton does get elected president. A lot of people will be pleased. A lot of people will be unhappy.
And a lot of people will unleash misogyny like hounds of hell.
That’s what Michelle Cottle of The Atlantic magazine says, anyway. “A Clinton victory... promises to usher in four-to-eight years of the kind of down-and-dirty public misogyny you might expect from a stag party at Roger Ailes’s house,” she writes. “You know it’s coming.”
Gender anxiety finds its megaphone
Cottle explores the idea that men will see a Clinton (woman-version) presidency as proof that their status in American society is tanking. Leonie Huddy, a professor of political science at Stony Brook University, sees this as a latent fear in many American men, and posits that it will flare when Clinton begins addressing female-centric issues like equal pay and child care.
Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University, agrees, and sees Trump actively aggravating the fear. “He has really motivated a lot of his supporters to be concerned and sort of feed on this gender resentment—the idea that women are getting too far, that Hillary is getting too far and is not really qualified, and that the only reason she has been successful is because she is a woman,” said Lawless.
Sexism is convenient
At the same time, says Cottle, sexist verbal abuse may simply be the handiest rock for any angry citizen to hurl at Clinton. She’s a menopausal monster. She’s a c**t. She’s a bitch. Or, more subtly, She’s a woman—that’s why she’s making so many mistakes and that’s why we can’t trust her to do the job, let alone a good job. She’s too aggressive. She’s too passive. She’s too emotional. Her Chief of Staff must be on the rag. Attacks against Clinton will inevitably be couched in her anatomy because they can be. And because there is a full and ever-growing number of ways to diminish and insult women based on their being, you know, women, there are a lot of rocks to throw.
Stemming the backlash in your office
Cottle offers advice for women and men at all levels of leadership and political stripes to handle the sexist tsunami possibly on the way and “to avoid further pressurizing the situation, and setting Hillary up for massive failure.” Here are a few suggestions from Cottle's piece in The Atlantic.