Hillary Clinton, "Avenging Angel" for Wronged Women
Reporter-editor Jodi Kantor's love-hate relationship Hillary Clinton definitely tilted toward the love end on Monday's front page with "Gender Issue Lives On as Clinton's Hopes Dim," crowning Hillary, who is approaching the end-game of her fight against Barack Obama, as an "avenging angel" for all mistreated women.
[Historian Doris Kearns] Goodwin and others say Mrs. Clinton was able to convert the sexism she faced on the trail into votes and donations, extending the life of a candidacy that suffered a serious blow at the Iowa caucuses. Like so many women before, she was heckled (in New Hampshire, a few men told her to iron their shirts) and called nasty names ("How do we beat the bitch?" Senator John McCain was asked at one campaign event).
Times Watch isn't sure what Kantor is complaining about. The "iron my shirt" signs (which she has complained about before) were a radio stunt, and Saturday Night Life cast member Tina Fey made "bitch is the new black!" a famous pro-Hillary call to arms. (And no one can beat her philandering husband for the dissing-Hillary sweepstakes.)
But the response may have been more powerful than the injury. In the days after Mrs. Clinton was criticized for misting up on the campaign trail, she won the New Hampshire primary and drew a wave of donations, many from women expressing indignation about how she had been treated.
And Mrs. Clinton seemed to channel the lives of regular women, who often saw her as an avenging angel. Take Judith Henry, 67, for whom Mrs. Clinton's primary losses stirred decades-old memories of working at a phone company where women were not allowed to hold management positions. "They always gave us the clerical jobs and told us we didn't have families to support," she said. At a rally last month in Bloomington, Ind., she sat with her daughter Susan Henry, 45, a warehouse worker, who complained that her male colleagues did less work and made more money than the women did.
Decades after the dissolution of movement feminism, Mrs. Clinton's events and donor lists filled with women who had experienced insult or isolation on the job. Moitri Chowdhury Savard, 36, a doctor in Queens, was once asked by a supervisor why she was not home cooking for her husband; Liz Kuoppala, 37, of Eveleth, Minn., worked as the only woman in her mining crew and is now the only woman on the City Council.
But as others watched a campaign that starred two possibly transformative figures, they felt a growing conviction that the contest was unfair. Mrs. Clinton's supporters point to a nagging series of slights: the fixation on her clothes, even her cleavage; chronic criticism that her voice is shrill; calls for her to exit the race; and most of all, the male commentators in the news media who, they argue, were consistently tougher on her than on Mr. Obama.