<em>The New York Times</em> Is Okay With Sexism So Long As The Target Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders

The New York Times Is Okay With Sexism So Long As The Target Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Women in Trump's White House are criticized not just for what they say or do, but also for what they wear, although the media used to tell us this was sexist.
Bethany Mandel
By

Do you recall that time the New York Times wrote a fashion takedown of one of President Obama’s Press Secretaries? Yeah, me either. But they just did it this week to Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The discrepancy may, of course, have something to do with the fact that President Obama never had a female Press Secretary. The media paid little mind to what it was like to be a woman in the Obama White House (though they were paid less than their male counterparts).

But now, women in the Trump White House are criticized not just for what they may say or do, but also, for what they wear—all in the name of taking down a sexist President. The ends justify the means, it seems.

Trump Has Problems In His Past—But So Do Democrats

With the nomination and election of President Donald Trump, we’ve been warned that Gilead is coming to America and soon, all American women will in chains. It was Trump’s misogyny that made it impossible for women to vote for him, or so his opponents thought (including myself).

This is not to say Trump doesn’t have a woman problem; one of the most powerful ads during the general election was about his many, many disgusting remarks about women.

What puts a bee in the bonnet of conservative women, however, that how the Left isn’t much better on the issue. It’s not easy to convince women to vote against a man based on his feminist record, when his opponent’s husband has a track record as checkered as Bill Clinton’s—or when the opponent herself was culpable in his sexual escapades. With every assault on Trump’s history with women, Trump countered with volleys about Bill Clinton’s. It proved effective in disarming at least some of the “women solidarity” ploys from the Clinton campaign.

One of the Trump campaign’s talking points, in its efforts to counter his past misogynistic statements, was to point out the many women Trump employed throughout his career in real estate, giving them high-standing positions his competitors did not. In his political life both on the campaign trail and in the White House, Trump is continuing this pattern. Sanders is just the third female Press Secretary and the first mother to fill the position, and Kellyanne Conway broke new ground for women in campaigns.

The NYT Piece On Sarah Huckabee-Sanders Is Unfair

The Left’s response to both Sanders and Conway shows their true colors on feminism and misogyny. They don’t like Trump, they say, because he has made problematic statements about women. They would have just a bit more credibility on that front if Ted Kennedy (who played not such a small role in the actual death of an actual woman) and Bill Clinton were not as lionized as they are.

No, they are in opposition to Trump because he has been deemed The Enemy. Thus, any and every tactic to attack him is on the table—even using sexist arguments against the women in his employ.

While there is a newsworthy angle to Sanders’ fashion choices and how they reflect the culture within the White House, the Times couldn’t resist getting catty. It’s clear that analyzing Sanders’ fashion wasn’t just an effort to analyze how the Trump White House operates—it presented another opportunity to delegitimize and mock it.

The Times quoted others publications characterizing Sanders’ style as “field hockey mom,” “substitute teacher,” and “a real-world figure dressing on a budget.” The Times even went to the effort of pointing out Trump’s issues with women in the beginning of the piece, before criticizing Sanders for dressing too femininely without making an effort to also look sexy.

It means stack-heel beige pumps and a ubiquitous single strand of pearls. It means that, thus far, the cardigans and printed dresses that had become a signifier for her doppelgänger on “S.N.L.” have disappeared, replaced by a series of almost identical knee-length, round-neck dresses in colors like red, green, black and fuchsia. It meant, during her Tuesday briefing, prom-queen-like shoulder ruffles. It has not meant, thus far, suits or jackets.

The Times went on to say about Sanders’ style: “The net effect is femininity that hasn’t been stiletto-weaponized or armored up as much as turned into an access point: No matter her words, they are framed by a style steeped in cheerful Hallmark history.”

Apparently, Only Democrats Can Shirk the Pant Suit

On Capitol Hill in the age of Nancy Pelosi, suits and jackets were a requirement of both sexes in order to maintain a professional environment. Later, under the control of Republicans Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, Democratic lawmakers made a hullabaloo of shaking off these dress codes in favor of dressing however they wanted. Women shirking suits and jackets is an expression of feminism when Democratic women on the Hill choose to do so, but seemingly unprofessional—according to the Times—when Sanders does the same in the Trump White House.

There was a time once when the Times called out the sexist political commentary that women in the Trump orbit, like Kellyanne Conway, had been subjected to. Six months into a Trump White House, it appears sexism is once again an appropriate weapon to battle Trump and the women who have committed the offense of working for him.

Bethany Mandel is a stay-at-home mother of three children under four and a writer on politics and culture. She is a senior contributor to The Federalist, a columnist for the Jewish Daily Forward, and a contributor at Acculturated. She lives with her husband, Seth, in New Jersey. You can follow her on Twitter @BethanyShondark.
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