Is calling Hillary “Hillary” and not “Clinton” sexist?
American television host Sean Hannity recently criticized presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for creating a grandmotherly image of herself and claimed that she is “kind of stale, and tired, and out of ideas.” Such an ageist, sexist attack will hardly be the first for Hillary.
Public relations are highly relevant to the world of political campaigning. Candidates and their teams work tirelessly in attempt to create an image of a candidate as someone voters can relate to and as someone capable of holding political office.
Unfortunately, this sort of political branding becomes much harder when a candidate is, like Hillary, a woman.
A group called The HRC Super Volunteers have taken preemptive action by imploring journalists to assume editorial responsibility and avoid falling into sexist critiques of Hillary. One of the sexist words they included was “tired,” which Hannity included in his attack.
These sort of anti-sexist efforts are certainly important, as they will help to draw attention to the additional challenges that Hillary faces as a female candidate. Societal expectations and assumptions about gender should not jeopardize any candidate’s success in running for office.
Some critics, though, would disapprove of this very article for reinforcing sexist notions against Hillary — that is, for referring to Hillary Rodham Clinton as simply “Hillary.”
These critics argue that referring to a politician by his/her first name denotes a lack of respect. However, it’s important to note that Hillary herself has consented to the use of her first name by labeling her campaign “Hillary for America.”
In the coming months, Hillary will fight sexism and attempt to win presidency. It’s important to listen to her voice as an individual and allow her to create her own image of herself.
Perhaps, she has her own motivations behind choosing the name Hillary; maybe she wants to distance herself from or differentiate herself from her husband. No matter what her reasons may be, she is the ultimate authority of her own identity.