College Prof at WashPost: Telling Hillary to Smile a 'Gendered' Comment

The Washington Post recently gave a platform to a political science professor at George Washington University to make a mountain out of a mole hill regarding tweets critical of Hillary Clinton written by male pundits.

In her blog entry headlined,“Do gendered comments help or hurt Hillary Clinton?” Corrine McConnaughy – who apparently specializes in how political identities from party identification to race, gender, and ethnicity are formed and function in the American political system – tried to make an issue out of tweets by a Fox News’s Brit Hume and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. They are as follows, respectively: 

Hillary having a big night in the primaries. So she’s shouting angrily in her victory speech. Supporters loving it. What’s she mad at?

Smile. You just had a big night. #PrimaryDay

I’m not sure how these tweets constitute gendered comments, unless, well, it’s men who wrote them.  Regardless, Ms. McConnaughy thinks these kinds of comments will actually help Clinton because “they play right into the Clinton style of “running as a woman.”  What exactly does “running as a woman” mean?  As McConnaughy points out:

The idea of "running as a woman"— which gained traction in the wake of the 1992 "Year of the Woman" elections — is the strategic embrace of a female candidate’s gender in particular political contexts…

So basically, it’s playing the gender card – and if there’s one person who does that exceptionally well – it’s Clinton. McConnaughy writes:

Clinton has repeatedly played this strategy against her "anti-establishment" Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders. Most visibly, she rebuffed his efforts to pin the establishment label on her in the February MSNBC debate with the line that only he would think of “a woman running to be the first woman president as exemplifying the establishment.

On why females seem like the best candidates, she continues:

Stereotypically, women are honest and moral, while politicians are not. Women are compassionate, while politicians are aggressive. Indeed, many studies in political science and psychology document the disconnect between widely held stereotypical notions of women and notions of political leaders… There is even evidence that in times of crisis, voters are less interested in “male” leadership traits, because they associate women with positive change.

Clearly this description of women seeks to destroy Clinton’s characterization considering 1 out of 5 Americans view her as a liar. If anything, McConnaughy’s blog shows that Clinton is the epitome of what folks consider the worst in politicians – aggressive, dishonest and immoral.

Melissa Mullins
Melissa Mullins
Melissa Mullins is a freelance writer and PR professional living in the Washington, D.C. area.