This piece originally appeared on BillMoyers.com.
In a recent article, Todd Gitlin argues that misogyny is partly why there’s so much vitriol aimed at Hillary Clinton.
He writes, “A Democrat running for president is going to be smeared by the Republicans. This goes without saying. But a Democratic woman running for president gets extra layers of smear.” While Gitlin says it’s possible that a male presidential candidate could be treated the way Clinton has been — referring in part to FBI director James Comey’s decision to reopen the agency’s investigation into Clinton’s emails — he adds that it’s never happened before.
Below are some lightly edited highlights from the 2,500 plus comments we received on Facebook and BillMoyers.com.
Hate is in style
“The level of bile and vulgarity that’s emerged in this campaign year is straight-up right wing hate media rabble-rousing. They’re off their leash and anything goes. For a newcomer, it’s quite shocking, but it’s also seductive and addictive for the vulnerable. Between the anonymity of the internet and the carte blanche given to media watchers to imitate their handlers, anything goes. It’s in style to hate.” — Countup333
It’s about Clinton, not gender
“You are way off course here… Conservatives would enthusiastically vote for any qualified woman. I was a fan of Carly Fiorina and certainly would have voted for her had she prevailed over her 16 opponents. Being a woman has nothing to do with it. Conservatives are disgusted by the corruption that surrounds her.” — Casey McClellan
“I haven’t voted for a Republican for any office since making the egregious mistake of voting for Nixon in 1972. Ever since then my vote has been for the Democratic candidate — though it often seemed like picking the lesser of the two evils. This time is different and it has nothing to do with Benghazi or emails or her gender. My reason for rejecting Hillary now is first and foremost her vote for the Iraq War. She has apologized for that vote, but still, how could any rational person have believed either Bush or Cheney for one second as they made their case for going to war in Iraq?” — Mkto42
“The reason I don’t like her as a potential president is because of the people she pals around with, and those she gets her campaign money from. Banks, Big Pharma, oil companies, the telecommunications monopolies and other major corporations don’t give millions of dollars to candidates unless they feel those candidates will advance policies that will increase their bottom line.” — Chuck Johnston
Misogyny runs deep
“The male chauvinism and misogyny in this country are obvious. It explains why so few women are in Congress or board rooms. It explains why an equal rights amendment for women doesn’t get passed. It explains why women aren’t paid the same as men for the same work. For 30 years she’s been hounded for being a woman with compassion, intelligence and for having the audacity to play with the big boys. In all that time, despite the accusations, mudslinging and misogyny, no one found her guilty of any crimes.” — Paul Totaro
“This election is highlighting the brutal sexism that still exists in this country. Watching Trump hover over Clinton during the second debate like a disapproving father, interrupt her repeatedly during all three debates, disrespect her, threaten her, call her “a nasty lady,” were all reminders for women of every man who has ever been condescending to us, dismissive or underestimated our abilities and intelligence simply because we are women.” — Roxana Soltani
“I think that the misogyny some people have is sometimes so deep, and a part of a person’s identity, that it clouds their thinking — to the point where Hilary Clinton becomes almost like a witch. She’s become the crucible that people are pouring their own failures into, and we’ve turned those collective failings into problems with her morals. We’ve been punishing her for being smart and trying to help for decades; the only thing that changes are the reasons we think we have.” — Fred Chong Rutherford
“Hillary is the most investigated person on the planet. Nothing has ever been found to suggest an ounce of guilt. Comey is trying his darndest with a last-ditch effort. Epic fail, because in nine days, Hillary Clinton will be Madam President.” — Barbara Laman
Most disrespected – really?
“I do agree Hilary is disrespected but I do not agree it’s more than any other candidate. President Obama has been mistreated and disrespected beyond anybody in history I believe and I think it’s because of the putrid racism that has been hidden from view for many years until now.” — Jay Smith