"Girls" creator Lena Dunham spoke out against what she described as "rabidly sexist" media coverage of the former secretary of state's presidential campaign on Sunday. Dunham, a Clinton supporter and campaign surrogate, told Variety that media coverage of Clinton was in need of a "full reexamination."
"The way that Hillary Clinton’s been talked about in the media is so gendered and rabidly sexist in every single portrayal,” Dunham said. “Whether it’s the attacks on her personal life or the adjectives that are used to describe her clothing, we have to do a full reexamination.”
Dunham, who stumped for Clinton at a campaign event in Iowa earlier this month, described a possible remedy: “I literally want to make a list that we hand to media outlets that says, ‘These are the words you can’t use when describing a female candidate: shrill, inaccessible, difficult, frumpy, plastic.’”
“I am so frustrated with the dialogue around Hillary among my peers,” Dunham told The Guardian in a separate interview. “It feels so gendered, even from women, so harshly sexist. We never throw claims of too establishment or too stiff or even too selfish at male politicians. It’s unfair in the deepest sense.”
Dunham's comments about sexist media coverage of Clinton certainly carry some weight — the Washington Post's coverage of Clinton's cleavage comes to mind — but her assertion that male politicians are never labeled "too establishment or too stiff or even too selfish" is simply untrue. In this GOP primary season alone we've seen male candidates called all three.
Donald Trump and Ted Cruz owe some of their popularity, in large part, to voters' frustration with "too establishment" candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. The "too establishment" attack line is at the heart of Cruz's entire campaign message — he's now going so far as to call Trump the establishment pick.
"Too stiff" is basically Jeb Bush's middle name at this point.
And Ted Cruz is widely loathed by members of his own party for being "too selfish." One of Cruz's colleagues on George W. Bush's 2000 campaign described him like this to Mother Jones: "He was a smart and talented guy, but completely taken with himself and his own ideas. [...] It was his inability to be part of the team. That's exactly what he was: a big asshole."