Don’t Call Her Hillary | Teen Ink

Don’t Call Her Hillary

October 29, 2016
By rachelzerdin BRONZE, London, Other
rachelzerdin BRONZE, London, Other
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“Donald calls Hillary a ‘nasty woman’”
“Trump and Clinton go head-to-head in the final debate”

How often have you seen news stories phrased in that way during any part of the presidential campaign? I, for one, can think of only one person who has referred to Trump by his first name – Clinton herself. A seemingly harmless issue of wording, this discrepancy in the appellations attributed towards the candidates masks a point of gender politics which runs much deeper. Donald Trump, a grown man running for arguably the most powerful position in the world, is referred to by his surname, a means of address indicative of respect and professionalism. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a grown woman running for arguably the most powerful position in the world, is referred to by her first name, a means of address which indicates familiarity and insouciance.

And, yes, this is a gender issue. By using this demeaning epithet, we reduce Hillary to a little girl, incapable of adequately performing the task at hand. In the same way it is ridiculous to imagine a “President Donald” (for more reasons than one), we should find “President Hillary” an equally bizarre sobriquet. Yet over a year of hearing Clinton referred to mononymously has led most of us to become fairly used to this phrasing. And, no, it is not a matter of avoiding confusion with Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton. I am deeply confident that if people are truly incapable of distinguishing between a male former President and the woman running for the role today, then modern civilisation has far more pressing problems than who wins the US Presidential Election.

I would even go so far as to say that this way of talking about Clinton could potentially be damaging to her chances of securing the presidency. Constantly hearing her referred to by her surname can, over time, build up a subconscious idea that she is not to be taken seriously and is not a real contender. No one is going to vote for “President Hillary”, but if we continue to refer to her by her first name, that is the title people will have in their heads come 8th November.

Clinton is a grown woman who has achieved remarkable professional success, by very virtue of being a presidential candidate. Whatever you may think of her policies, she is at least owed the respect of being addressed by her surname, like any man in her position would be.

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