Barbra Streisand lashed out at political pundits and the media at large on Friday, accusing them of demonstrating “outright sexism” and “sexist condescension” while covering Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“Why is it that today even a woman as impressive as Hillary Clinton is judged not by her merits and extensive resume alone, but held to a pernicious double standard?” the ten-time Grammy Award-winning singer wrote in a short essay for the Huffington Post.
It seems that nothing much has changed. It’s been 24 years since I said in a speech for Women in Film, “Men and women are clearly measured by a different yardstick. And that makes me angry. Of course, I’m not supposed to be angry. A woman should be soft-spoken, agreeable, ladylike, understated. In other words, stifled. Language gives us an insight into the way women are viewed in a male-dominated society.
A man is commanding, a woman is demanding.
He’s assertive – she’s aggressive.
He strategizes – she manipulates.
A man is forceful – a woman is pushy.
He shows leadership – she’s controlling.
A man is a perfectionist – a woman’s a pain in the ass.”
It’s been decades since those speeches, but there is still outright sexism in much of the commentary on Secretary Clinton’s campaign.
As evidence of the “explicit and implicit” sexism of the media’s treatment of Clinton, Streisand cited tweets from Fox News’ Brit Hume, who wrote that Clinton was “shouting angrily” in one of her victory speeches, and from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, who urged the candidate to “smile” after a particularly “big night.”
“Hillary Clinton has a great smile and smiles often. So does Barack Obama. So does Bill Clinton. But no one would tell those two men to smile,” the singer wrote.
Streisand, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in November, has long been an outspoken advocate on sexism in society, women’s rights and the media’s treatment of Hillary Clinton.
During the annual Women in Entertainment breakfast in December, the 73-year-old singer claimed women “are still treated as second-class citizens” on equal pay and representation issues, and added that “[g]ender inequality even extends” to mice used in laboratory experiments. The longtime Democrat and Obama fundraiser also blasted female journalists’ treatment of Clinton, calling them “antagonistic” and “judgmental.”
It’s “as if they want to prove how tough and hard-hitting they can be against someone of their own sex,” she said.
In her latest essay, Streisand also harshly criticized Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, as she has done before:
“The rise of Donald Trump as a likely GOP nominee is at once terrifying and a joke that isn’t funny. I notice the press doesn’t even call him out on his own lies or his refusal to answer questions. If you repeat a lie loudly and long enough, people may come to believe it is true. Is the press partially responsible for the rise of Trump in its greed over his temporary ratings boost? And what would the press say, for instance, if Hillary Clinton displayed anything like the crassness of Donald Trump in debates? Or his staggering lack of knowledge on foreign or domestic policy?”
Streisand concluded the essay by imploring Americans to “stop being afraid of women, and meet them on a level playing field without resorting to name calling and sexist condescension.”
“Hillary Clinton isn’t afraid,” she wrote. “It’s about time that a woman with strength, experience and compassion leads our already great nation in this time of global insecurity. If the pundits or certain GOP candidates are afraid of that, maybe they should just try smiling more.”