By Mary Honrud
Sowing Notions 

Criticizing Her


I’m going to go all feminist here, and complain about people who are super critical of a certain presidential hopeful for her clothing choices.

I’ve seen too many memes jumping on Hillary for her clothing. The color isn’t right. It isn’t flattering. The cut is wrong. It costs too much. It looks cheap. Where are the memes jumping on Donald for his suits? Oh, wait, there were those way back about his hair and his skin color.

People, including other women, think that because a woman chooses to be in the public eye (politically, athletically, or on TV or in the movies), she’s free game for criticizing for appearances alone. Perhaps her hair is wrong, or her shoes are wrong, or her makeup is deplorable, her clothing is terrible. Maybe her weight is wrong, either too heavy or too skinny. It’s perfectly fine to find fault with a woman’s outward appearance, but don’t look at her actions or the way she actually does her job.

And it’s fine to repeat accusations that might not have any basis in fact. The lie, repeated often enough, becomes the reality. There have been how many congressional investigations into events in Hillary’s past, and how many actual charges have been brought forth? And if, as conspiracy theorists would have it, she’s powerful enough to quash any legitimate charges, does that not, in itself, mean she’s strong enough to hold that office? Or, it could be that there is no truth to the rumors.

And really, of those supposed events, where it is thought perhaps laws were bent, how many men have done the same bending! Men of both parties are just as guilty, or not guilty, of the same supposed wrongdoings, are they not? How many of us have done questionable things? How many of us are perfect?

So why do we heap criticism on women who seek power? We criticize married women for working outside the home. She’s not a proper mom because she isn’t staying home to raise the child(ren). We criticize her for staying home with the child(ren). She’s a lazy freeloader.

If she doesn’t want to have children, she’s suspect. If she has too many children, she needs to learn about birth control. If she gets pregnant and seeks an abortion for any reason, she’s a murderer. If she gives the child up for adoption, she’s a cold-hearted bitch. If she keeps the child, but has to use welfare to make ends meet, she’s lazy and worthless.

If she wants to be paid equally, why, it turns out she’s not really equal. She doesn’t deserve the same pay. It will bankrupt the system. She’s a shrew, wanting “special” treatment because she’s a woman. If she does manage to rise in the ranks, she’s a ball-breaker, a cold, mean-spirited person who will do anything for power and rank. Yet, if she doesn’t, she’s a doormat.

If she’s smart and shows it, she’s a know-it-all and becomes a target for men who want to take her down a peg or two, or put her “in her place.” If she doesn’t show her smarts, she’s a dumb blonde. If she doesn’t put up with catcalls or sexist remarks, she’s a cold fish. If she laughs along, she’s a bimbo. If she dresses modestly, she’s a prude. If she shows a little skin, she’s a slut, and she’s asking for whatever happens to her.

Women have it tough in life. We can’t win. And those of us who point it out are humorless. Why do women also buy into this? Sometimes women are nastier than the men to other women. I don’t have answers, just questions. I hope people will think before passing along the next meme or before speaking or repeating rumors. It’s a vain hope, yet hope I do.


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