This week, Hillary Clinton travels to Iowa and New Hampshire, proving that her presidential race, which she kicked off in April, is well underway. Since Clinton announced her 2016 presidential candidacy, she has been notably quiet to reporters, answering only a handful of questions. Her silence is not especially surprising, given the way some journalists have treated her during past campaigns.
Female politicians face scrutiny that their male counterparts do not have to consider. For example, what these women wear has become a huge focus: Even respected outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post comment on political fashion. Female politicians must worry about portraying the right amount of femininity to appeal to voters, according to a Dartmouth College study. They must find the perfect balance between having the perfect families and not seeming as if their children would get in the way of the presidential role. They must endure questions about who will take care of their children or even whether they have read Fifty Shades of Grey.
After countless offensive brushes with the members of the media like conservative pundits and critical columnists, female politicians could understandably be wary of taking questions. Clinton has taken more attacks than seemingly anyone because of her high profile and many years in politics. Don't believe me? Here are the most misogynistic comments journalists and political commentators have made about her.
1. The time Rush Limbaugh did exactly what everyone expected
Clinton was no exception in the conservative radio host's famous pattern of misogyny. In 2007, he asked, "Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?"
Maybe the government should just start quietly getting rid of women once they hit 40. That way, they can't do anything silly like have careers or run for president.
2. Glenn Beck being, well, Glenn Beck
Another gem from the far right media, Glenn Beck made far too few headlines in 2007 by calling Clinton "the stereotypical bitch." He complained on his radio show about her nagging voice and asked, "After four years, don't you think every man in America will go insane?"
3. Michelle Malkin's 92-year-old ideas about gender roles
Michelle Malkin proved in 2007 that sexism in the media is not limited to middle-aged white men with radio shows. The conservative columnist said on Fox News, "You all saw the famous photo from the weekend of Hillary looking so haggard and, what, looking like 92 years old. If that's the face of experience, I think it's going to scare away a lot of those independent voters that are on the fence." That comment is the only thing that's ancient.
4. The first wife jokes
Conservative network correspondents weren't the only ones who took down Hillary Clinton. MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle said in 2008 that she "look[ed] like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court." The male-only Morning Joe panelists laughed and questioned her likability, meanwhile hurting their own.
5. Even The New York Times got it on it
Even The New York Times took its turn. Political columnist Maureen Dowd wrote, "At her victory party, Hillary was like the heroine of a Lifetime movie, a woman in peril who manages to triumph." The thin narrative assigned to Clinton and the article's headline ("Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back to the White House?") is even more scary.
6. When things got really personal
Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, added to the discussion of Clinton's personal life in 2008 by saying, "The reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around." Matthews apologized the next day, admitting that he was being nasty.
7. The time cleavage was more important than higher education
Another credible newspaper lowered its respectability in favor of sexism. The Washington Post's 2007 neckline coverage during a talk about higher education was a new win for the patriarchy. Robin Givhan wrote, "There was cleavage on display Wednesday afternoon on C-SPAN2. It belonged to Sen. Hillary Clinton ... There wasn't an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was. Undeniable ... To display cleavage in a setting that does not involve cocktails and hors d'oeuvres is a provocation."
8. Whenever Marc Rudov speaks
Marc Rudov could be a category of his own; the frequent Fox News guest has uttered a multitude of offensive comments about Clinton. The author said, "When Barack Obama speaks, men hear, 'Take off for the future.' And when Hillary Clinton speaks, men hear, 'Take out the garbage.'" Equally reprehensible was: "[Hillary Clinton] is not called a B-word because she's assertive and aggressive; she's called a B-word because she acts like one."
He said in an interview on The O'Reilly Factor on the drawbacks of a female president, "You mean besides the PMS and the mood swings, right?" He added, "Well, you know, I'm joking. Of course, the main problem I have is if a woman has a female agenda." The addition isn't much better.
After going through all that in previous elections, Clinton might be justified in being concerned about how the media portray her. With any luck and a little self-awareness, the 2016 race won't be nearly as ugly.
Images: Getty Images (4); Michal Savage Show Updates - Media Alerts/Youtube; opacity/Flickr; Marc Rudov/Youtube