Hell, yes. Not the only factor, but certainly one of them.
I’ve been reading and seeing critiques of Clinton for years that focus on all her flaws as a woman. She’s not attractive. She makes men think of their nagging ex. Men instinctively shield their crotches when she comes near. She destroyed all those women her husband cheated on her with (I’m not sure how — apparently by sticking with him, she discredited them).
More than a few liberal bloggers have predicted that any woman who looks like a strong democratic contender for 2020 will get the same treatment. Kamala Harris. Elizabeth Warren. Or Nancy Pelosi. Matt Lewis at the Daily Beast comes right out and says the Democrats are doomed unless they remove Pelosi as their House leader. Not that he’s sexist or anything, he’s just a no-bullshit, not-afraid-to-be-un-PC guy who calls it like it is: “she’s a liberal woman of a certain age. Now it’s politically incorrect to admit this, but it seems that in much of the county, whether we’re talking Hillary or Pelosi, they come across as hectoring. What is more, this stereotype plays into policy concerns about the “nanny state,” etc. We can label this visceral dislike of them “sexist” if we want, but it seems to be that a lot of men and women alike are repelled by their style. To be sure, it is dangerous for me (as a dude) to note this, but it seems to be an observable phenomenon that liberals would do best not to ignore.”
Ooooh, can we label this dislike sexist? Yes, I think we can. Heck, what else could we call it? Lewis doesn’t suggest Pelosi’s doing a bad job (from most accounts she’s good at her gig), only that she alienates voters because she’s “hectoring.” Likewise Bret Stephens in writing about the Republican win in the Georgia special election suggests it’s because they wanted to deny Pelosi a victory.
Lewis is just a variation of an old argument, used for example to defend segregation in hiring (nobody will come to my store if I hire black staff. I’m not racist, just a businessman!). Or the argument that if Democrats just compromise on all that feminism stuff, to show “respect” for all the Trump/Bush/Reagan voters, they can win back Congress and the White House both. Only carefully phrased to make it sound like he’s stating unpleasant truths, not a sexist himself.
And setting aside that Stephens is just spouting clichés (Repubs are tired of Democratic contempt!) ignores that it’s not Pelosi per se that’s the issue. It could just as easily have been Clinton a couple of years back. Or Michelle Obama. Or Warren. It’s “liberals” and “Democrats” that they’re voting against — the specific face doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even have to be a woman — Bill Clinton and Obama took plenty of hate in their time in office. Removing Pelosi is not the answer, it would be part of the problem.
In other sexist notes:
•According to one juror on the Cosby trial, the question wasn’t guilt or innocence but that he’d suffered enough. Cosby himself is proposing to teach workshops on how not to be accused of rape. As noted at the link, it probably won’t include suggestions like “Don’t have sex with unconscious women.”
•A new Missouri bill would give employers the right to discriminate against women who have abortions or use birth control.
•Women being friends with men is traumatic for men.