Monday, January 07, 2008

A Crying Shame

A link on Comcast's "news" site reads "Teary Clinton: This is Personal." The article appears if you click on the blog post title, albeit with a different headline: "Emotional Clinton." (There's a big connotative distance between 'teary' and 'emotional,' no?)

The article is a fluff piece but it made me wonder about several things.

Does the media hold women to a different standard than men? Clinton has been repeatedly described as "cold" by major newspapers and television reporters. Do they (do we?) assume that emotions are for women and that the presidency must be reserved for stoical men?

Here's a quick snippet of another article I found on the web. Check out the references to emotions:

Mrs Clinton was asked to explain why voters found her less likable than Mr Obama, a key factor in her third-place finish in Iowa where she picked relatively few second choice votes. “Well, that hurts my feelings - I’ll try to go on,” she said, in a rare public display of humour. “He’s very likable, I agree with that. But I don’t think I’m that bad.”
When Mr Obama responded that she was “likable enough,” Mrs Clinton gave him a frosty, "I appreciate that", before comparing his candidacy to that of George Bush eight years ago.

Pat Schroeder, a Congressperson from CO, ran for president about 20 years ago and cried during a speech about war. Some pundits laughed at this as proof that women couldn't handle the pressure of the office since "they get so emotional so easily." But Schroeder rightly, it seems to me, insisted that sadness and grief were entirely appropriate responses to sad events.
For the record, there have been at least 80 female heads of state since WWII.

[Spoiler Alert!] In Macbeth, Shakespeare's hero Macduff hears that his family has been murdered. His young friend Malcolm says, "Let us put on our manhood and make medicines of our grief." In other words, "Let's get even." But Macduff, instead says, "I will act as a man, but first I must feel it as a man." Once again Shakespeare (Billy Spears to you young hipsters out there) knew: fully developed men feel emotions, too.

Cynically, I also wonder about Clinton's voice "breaking" and "catching" and her eyes "welling" on the eve of the NH primary. Coincidentally, yesterday her pollster, Mark Penn, said she wasn't coming across as a "real person." Does her performance -- yes, friends, she too is a performer -- today establish her as a warm person who seems "real" -- she feels things afterall; her voice broke -- without actually crying, which would feed the stereotypical image of the sobbing woman? We'll know what New Hampshire voters decided by this time tomorrow.

23 comments:

Bernadette said...

I just heard about this event within the past hour on the news. When I watched the clip, I can hardly call what she did as crying. In your post you talked about Pat Schroeder who cried, and she "couldn't handle the pressure." But I think just the opposite. If a presidential candidate is too stiff or detatched to express any emotions, they are not the person I want running our country. This is exactly why I believe Hillary is not doing very well in the polls. I do agree that the timing of this incidence is somewhat suspicious. I think she is desperate for votes, whether they be simpathy votes or not.

Sara D said...

I actually thought this was really itneresting because my homepage when I log onto the internet is AOL.com. The headline of today read "Hilary Clinton gets emotional". I thought this was really interesting how you explained it. From what I have heard and put together from family and peer views as well as the news, the country is afraid to have a woman president for times exactly like these. I have heard that if a woman cannot hold her emotions(personal or not) together, then how is she expected to handle a job as intense as prediency. Mr. O'Connor said that she has been shown to be a colder person. I think this is because of the fact that woman in politics are held to a different standard to men. I feel that women have to prove it more because men are supposed to be "natural" when it comes to politics and they should be man enough to be able to handle it.
When I read the article on AOL one line that was quoted of Clinton said, "It’s about our country, it’s about our kids’ futures.” I think this supports what O'Connor was saying about how she has yet to come off as a "real person". Apparently a real person is turning out to be someone with emotions who can cry?

Josh said...

When i saw the headline "Hillary gets Emotional" i got really disappointed. Any attention like that will definitely not be positive. However after i watched the clip all i saw was someone who actually cared and had a plan rather then someone who hoped for the future. Its interesting how you can compare Macbeth to the other candidates running. It is ridiculous how Hillary gets criticized when she gets emotional about a job she would like to have. If i were interviewing for a job i would want the person with lots of heart and commitment to the job.

Though it is all a show when speaking, i feel that maybe hopefully a little part of that spiel came from her heart.

Elizabeth L said...

Personally I do NOT understand why it matters whether or not she is emotional or not. Everyone is unique and different and responds to events in their own individual away. I do however believe people picking on Hilary is completely horrible and unjust.

I was helping my sister do her current events and decided to chose this actual article-ha! i was shocked to find IOWA didn't pick Hilary. My mom grew up in Iowa and I go there a lot and usually see mostly older white men, who don't want change. I think it is sad that they are shutting Hilary down and saying that "America is not ready" that is so lame.
The fact that Iowa chose both men is interesting because it is so conservative. But in the long run I think this might benefit Hilary because she will work harder and fight for it more now that she lost the first one.

But I am happy Edwards is in it.

Elizabeth L said...

"It's about our country. It's about our kids' futures. It's really about all of us together. You know some of us put ourselves out there and do this agaisnt some pretty difficult odds. And we do it, each one of us, because we care about our country. But some of us are right and some of us are wrong. Some of us are ready and some of us are not"

-Hillary Clinton Comcast.net-Politics- Emotional Clinton says

by not nominating her as a country will this affect the future and other women going into office?

Elizabeth L said...

hey George Bush looks pretty emotional on Maseehs Blog "is it happening to us too" something like that

Eli said...

I think when she teared up, she lost a lot of the man vote that she had. no one wants someone too emotional as president, and that will only hurt her. I think with a man president, crying may be okay, but showing other signs hurts. people embraced eisenhower and george bush when they cried, but rejected nixon when he swept and studdered. time will tell

Brandon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brandon said...

In class today a few people brought up the point that they thought that the crying was staged. In the beginning, I bought the point that it would be beneficial to stage it because it might show that she is really a sensitive person, but I wasn't too sure it was faked.

My thoughts changed when I saw this video where a person gets up during one of Hillary's speeches and holds up a poster proclaiming "IRON MY SHIRT" (during a part where she was talking about change, ironically) while chanting the same phrase. I felt that the piece was staged, a more "obvious staging" than the welling up video. The great seats the guy had, the repetition of the single phrase (instead of saying other sexist things, or perhaps making fun of her "womanly" behaviors in crying), the fact that nobody in their right mind would do something like this in a crowd (there's no real benefit to it), the fact that there were so many women in the crowd were all reasons that I felt that it was fake. After a few chants, Hillary stated "Ah, the remnants of sexism, alive and well," and you can see the women in the background raising their hands to clap. I feel that the reaction to the act is an obvious attempt to reach out and get more women voters just because she is a woman herself.

Brandon said...

Sorry, here's the link

Hannah D. said...

I agree with what everyone is saying here. I think Elizabeth hits it right on when she says that "We are not ready." As much as the American people think that we have stepped into a new era and that we are ready for a woman president or even an African American president, I do not believe we are. I am all for Obama or Clinton becoming president, but are we as a nation ready for it? The generations a couple of years above us lived through the segregation eras and they are the ones that I am targeting with this question. We as students have lived in a diverse world for most of our lives. My grandparents love politics more than anything and they are campaigning for Obama. I think that this has showed that we are getting more integrated as a country. I think that Clinton showing emotion was somewhat relieving because it showed that not all candidates were just boxes of metal campaigning for what they thought was right. It actually showed the nation that Clintion is so involved for what she was fighting for and is shows that she actually cares.
I can't find the pictures Bolos asked me to put up, but we all saw the video in class today, and if you look on Maseeh's blog of "Is It Happening Here" you can see a picture of Bush becoming emotional.

Eli said...

SYMPATHY VOTES!! madness!!

...actually, all the independents went to mccain which only hurt obama.

Jace said...

I believe that that a lot of this Hillary Clinton drama is A)Unimportant and B)way too hyped up by the media. Some people say that she is weak for crying and that the president should be stoic,conserved and strong. I'm sorry, but hasn't she been criticized for being "robot-like"? I DO agree that our president shouldn't be weak, and shouldn't cry if he or she is tired or sad. Although I don't necessarily like Hillary, I believe that she teared up, NOT CRYED, because she was passionate about the issues. I know that this topic can easily be disputed. One could say "well she's faking it to gain sympathy votes" or she faked it to help her image. I get that could be possible, BUT my main point is that I disagree with the amount of attention it received. The bigger point is that we as voters, student, citizens, and active investigators should be more curious about what a candidate is saying, and not trying to figure out if a tear came from her eye or not.

Doc OC said...

I heard that -- for whatever reason -- twice as many people in NH thought Clinton was "compasionate" as opposed to people in Iowa.

Sara D said...

Wow. That really suprises me. In my opinion, I would think if I saw a woman "tearing" that was running for president, I would think of that more along the lines of being weak, rather than compassionate. I agree that it did show a softer side of her, and I have nothing against anyone crying or tearing, but I think even though she is so emotionally worn from the campaign, I am not so sure if it is good for her, election-wise, to be showing too muhc emotion. I am just suprised NH voters thought the opposite.

Eli said...

The election is far from over. I think Clinton will ride into Nevada next week with the "compassion" still rolling but might not take nevada. it will be very close. I think south carolina is for obama because of the african american population and when they come up to super tuesday...we will see that obama and clinton are neck and neck while mccain has run away with it ahead of mitt romney by at least 10...and huckabee all but forgotten (thank god). i think obama was a little in over his head with new hampshire because of the surprise win in iowa. NH is very independent when it is all said and down...and if they had another primary in a couple months, i bet it would be a lot different.

Jace said...

very good point eli, i agree. the hype is was too high, and reality is not being mentioned. the election is months away, and we all saw how much momentum and popularity can change within a week. much to see...

Jace said...

very good point eli, i agree. the hype is was too high, and reality is not being mentioned. the election is months away, and we all saw how much momentum and popularity can change within a week. much to see...

Stephanie H said...

Seeing as she won the New Hampshire primary right after this happened, maybe it actually helped her? Because, like Bolos said, people saw her as a real person for once?

mross said...

Stephanie, your definately not alone with that theory but I really believe that the New Hampshire primary results had anything to do with this incident. Hillary did spend more time campaigning in New Hampshire than Obama. The polls did predict a win for Obama but and Hillary winning was a shock but i really dont think the result had to do with Hillary "tearing up"

mross said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zmalkin said...

I agree with many of you that by crying Hillary Clinton gets some "sympathy votes" but votes are votes and each vote has equal value whether it is sympathetic or not.

On the other hand, I believe that while Hillary gains some sympathy votes, she will lose some other votes as well. These lost votes will come from people with the mentality that they do not want some "wuss" running our country. Or they do not like a leader to show any weakness especially a president.

Overall, I think that this can hurt Hillary's campaign as strongly as it can help it. We will have to wait and see how it plays out.

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