The media plot to dismiss Clinton Jan. 9, 2008 By Georgie Is it possible the Democratic voters of New Hampshire are savvy enough to vote for the best person and ignore a silent media campaign to destroy Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency based on her gender? Today I'm looking at Clinton's face beaming in victory across the newspaper front pages, in what's reported to be a "comeback." Tuesday it was a different story. I had to get out my magnifying glass to look at the photograph of presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on the cover of the Globe and Mail newspaper. The headline screamed, "Clinton shows the strain," and I figured that somewhere on her face I would find a tear which, of course, the media would read as a stunning indictment of her. Oh my God, she's crying, just like women do. (Actually just like men do too, come to think of it.) Like the creeping culture of porn that has given us the slutty clothing revolution, Girls Gone Wild, Brazilian bikini waxes, cleavage in the office workplace and wreaked havoc on the lives of women ever so quietly and successfully, the media's coverage of Hillary Clinton from the beginning has been an insidious plot to make her seem ridiculous simply because she is a woman. Before the alleged "tears," Clinton's clothes and hair were the main fodder for the media. Clinton biographer Carl Bernstein pens in his book A Woman in Charge a snide little morsel that you have to love: "Shopping was a manifestation of Hillary's inclination to sometimes go overboard with a new enthusiasm, not necessarily with great skill." Ouch! Taking shots at a women's ability with a credit card is really hitting below the gold lamé belt. After all, men get to choose from a closet of suits distinguished only by colour and I use that term loosely when talking about dark blue, medium blue, grey and black. On the other hand, women are made crazy by hundreds of different skirt lengths, jacket styles, shoes in a bevy of colours just waiting to be analyzed by "serious" journalists. (Don't wear red you're aggressive; lime green flaky.) Globe columnist Karen von Hahn, in an incredibly catty column last summer, said that John Travolta doing his star drag turn in Hairspray came across as more feminine than Clinton. Double ouch! People age, so what? U.S. radio host Rush Limbaugh doesn't beat around the bush with his comments nothing hidden about his motives. Limbaugh, himself with a face perfect for radio, asked his audience several weeks ago, "Do Americans want to watch a female president age daily before their eyes, given that this is a society obsessed with perfection when it comes to looks?" I've been watching white men age in front of my eyes for years and I'm none the worse for it. (Although now that I think of it. ) I'm more worried about watching myself age. If Hillary wants to address those wrinkles and I think I saw a few while searching out the "tears" she could always try Botox injections, and then Limbaugh won't have to fret so. Veils of tears Last July, a New York Times/CBS poll was conducted specifically on the gender issue. In it, a third of Americans said most people they knew would be "less likely" to vote for Clinton because she was a woman. Strangely enough, when you search the Times website, you can't find a similar poll asking whether race is an issue. So right now, the big kafuffle is about the possibility that Hillary might have had tears in her eyes during an exchange on the campaign trail after she had lost the Iowa primary. When von Hahn wrote her column in July she dissed Clinton for not being emotional enough. I guess she'll be cheering now. I figure if I had a crack at being leader of my country and it's something I dearly wanted and I saw it slipping away, I might be a tad upset. What might be worse, though, is the communal smirk of the media and Clinton's political opponents. "Come on, Hillary, you don't really want to be president, do you? You're a good lawyer with great connections and good ideas, but seriously, Hillary you?" Back to the potential tears. Clinton's voice was lowered, she sounded passionate, and was possibly blinking faster but I didn't actually see tears. (The TV gets dusty sometimes.) But even the "possibility" of tears had the media in a frenzy. Were they potentially real tears, which would show weakness, or potentially fake tears, which would indicate manipulation? Limbaugh went with the manipulation theory. He blasted Clinton's "calculated tears" for setting feminism back 50 years. Funny, I would think he'd see that as a plus and merrily embrace Hillary's candidacy. Men in suits A photograph I find much more frightening is those five white guys dressed in the same blue suit all running for the Republican ticket. And even more terrifying is that when it comes down to the vote, I don't think Americans will ever have the courage to elect a black person or a woman. The last adventurous thing they did was to elect a Catholic, John Kennedy, in the '60s something many people found abhorrent. How ironic that Pakistan, which many Americans consider to lag behind the States on the human rights food chain, elected a woman as prime minister nearly two decades ago. Writing in the New York Times on Tuesday, feminist Gloria Steinem calls gender the most restricting force in the United States. Steinem says while Barrack Obama is seen as unifying by his race, Clinton is viewed as divisive by her sex. She says Clinton is accused of "playing the gender card" when citing the old boy's club, while Obama is seen as unifying when he mentions civil rights confrontations. It actually explains why Oprah went with Obama rather than Clinton, something I hadn't been able to figure out until now. Hillary Clinton is a smart, experienced woman who has worked very hard and who would likely make the United States a better place in which to live. There seems to be a lot of unhappiness there and she might be able to fix it. Unfortunately that won't come to pass. It's not that the media hates Clinton. They really just hate women. She just happens to be one. What's different is that they don't have the guts to come out and say it like they did 20 years ago. There's a quiet backlash goin' on. You don't need a magnifying glass to figure that out.