Sticks and stones

Gendered insults have been leveled at female politicians throughout history

Hillary Clinton is by no means the first female politician to be the subject of a sexualized insult. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

“For as long as women have wanted to have a voice in our political process,” writes Jessica Valenti in an op-ed for The Guardian, “there have been men looking to shut them up with slurs and condescension.” Republican candidate Donald Trump’s recent gender-charged comments towards Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton are the latest of a slew of attacks endured by the politician, who “has been called a bitch, hysterical, emotional, and has had a nutcracker fashioned in her image.”

These kinds of slurs, Valenti notes, have been a means of disenfranchising politically-minded women since even before women had the right to vote. Suffragists were called ugly and emasculating, the first woman to run for president of the United States, Victoria Woodhull, was called, “Mrs. Satan,” a witch, and a “harpie,” and Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for vice-president, was frequently referred to as “Ms” or “Mrs” instead of “congresswoman.”

Studies have shown that sexist name-calling hurts female candidates at the voting booth, and that ignoring slurs instead of calling them out does not help. Clinton is fighting back, but as Trump’s popularity shows, calling female opponents names is still an all too effective tactic.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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