Not Confronting Sexism: Not An Option
A Clinton victory also 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.
As head of the Australian Labor Party, Gillard served as prime minister from 2010 to 2013. Her tenure was turbulent and notable for what Gillard termed in her exit speech the “gender wars.” What surprised the former PM most about the experience: that the sexist attacks grew worse as her time in office progressed. “I expected the maximum reaction to my being the first woman prime minister to come in the first few months,” she told me. “What I found living through the reality was that the sort of gendered stuff actually grew over time” as she tackled tough policy decisions. (Gillard too was derided as a “menopausal monster.”)
Then there were the two hecklers at a New Hampshire rally who waved signs and chanted, “Iron my shirt!” Clinton laughed it off, and the incident was reported mostly as dumbass 20-something guys acting like dumbass 20-something guys. But if someone had yelled an equivalently demeaning remark at Obama—like, say, “Shine my shoes!”—the public response likely would have been very different.