Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Women in politics still face sexism from the media

From Hillary Clinton to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, some things have yet to change
Courtesy of IMDB

Prejudice is alive and sustained in the media. Today, some journalists fall back on old habits, basing their questions and commentary on old prejudices like sexism, transphobia and homophobia. Even people in the journalism or political fields get targeted with the same old prejudices.

Journalists, and the media at large, must be held accountable for the awful treatment given to women and members of marginalized groups. One example is the treatment of Hillary Clinton by the media throughout her political career. Anyone alive since the 1980s knows that Clinton has battled it with the press and their sexist commentary and questions. At the same time, her husband got the double standard of not having to face the same criticisms as his wife while being the President of the United States. Clinton says a suggestive photo of her in the 1990s sparked her decision to wear pantsuits. She was also criticized by the media for working while her husband launched his political career.

Sadly enough, Clinton is not the only woman in politics who has had to deal with double standards. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a Democrat from New York. The Bronx native is the youngest woman to ever be elected to the House of Representatives.

In the almost four years she has been in Congress, she has had to juggle her job, ageism, racism, sexism and harassment from many other members of Congress.

One more recent incident happened on the steps of the Capitol building, where a man recorded himself yelling at Ocasio-Cortez hurling inappropriate insults. The main reason for catcalling Ocasio-Cortez with such language was her support for abortion access and being pro-choice. “She likes to kill babies but she’s beautiful,” he filmed himself saying. Sadly enough, Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t surprised at such treatment having experienced such sexual harassment and various types of prejudice throughout her career in Congress.

She tweeted the viral video talking about a “deeply disgusting incident that happened today on the Capital steps.” Later she ended up deleting the video saying, “it was just someone seeking extremist fame.” Such incidents like that are more of a regular occurrence to Ocasio-Cortez with others that are added to the mix.

Thankfully, there has been some progress in the last two or more years for women in politics. While women do still face prejudice and sexism, the United Nations Women group report that women make up 25 percent of parliamentarians globally. “Building a sustainable future for all means leaving no one behind. Women and girls are critical to finding solutions to the biggest challenges we face today and must be heard, valued, and celebrated, throughout society to reflect their perspectives and choices for their future and that is the advancement of humanity” the group wrote.

It’s sad enough to say that prejudice is sustained and alive in the media today. People in the media and powerful companies need to be held accountable for what they say and do, along with the need to change society in how we view and treat women in the public eye regarding prejudice, sexism, harassment and sexual assault.

Hope Jacobs can be reached at [email protected].

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