Saturday, January 31, 2009

Framing and the 2008 Election

Over at The New Agenda, they are taking a detailed look at the use of framing by the Obama campaign in their attacks against Clinton and Palin. I find this fascinating. I remember listening to Obama pooh-poohing concerns raised after his "lipstick on a pig" remarks about Palin and thinking how are all of these people buying this bullshit? It was NOT a coincidence that he used that statement. Or that he referred to Hillary as "perioidcally, being down".

His was the "words matter" campaign, and given the lengths he went to put his words in the right setting to elicit the response he wanted,the way he talked about these two women was NOT accidental or unintentional.

Remember, this is the campaign that was touted as the most organized and effective in history. That they were zealously on message, everything was controlled. What we saw when he wandered into the language of framing was not accidental. It was intended - to connect negative images to his female opponents.

I encourage you to read Framing the Cunt: the use of sexist stereotypes in the 2008 election - Part 1. We must keep talking about what happened to women at the hands of this man. We must keep speaking up when PreBO is annointed a super-feminist. A few crumbs will fall off the table, because he wants your votes in 4 years. But he'll go negative on any woman who gets in his way. It's how he won. He's got no problem with it.

"So you carefully choose your words in order to give people hope, to make them dream; you want to inspire them, to motivate them to do what you want, because it seems like the thing that is in their best interests. Or you want to activate their shame, to call up their fear and their disgust so they will respond with aversion to the thing you don’t want them to do. If you want them to reject your opponent and vote for you, you evoke the most unpleasant stereotypes available about your opponent. If these are effective, many of the voters who have identified with your opponent will turn away and reject that person out of fear of being associated with him or her.

This works especially well with women, because we’re afraid—deeply, morbidly afraid—to be called pigs or cunts or harridans. We’re mortified that anyone might think we smell like fish. We will draw back from these images as if from an open flame."


Stray Yellar Dawg? said...

It is an excellent essay at The New Agenda. And it Dovetails well with all the pUMA discussion about "What is a Feminist."

Both discussions explain why Ms. Magazines misinterpretation of Mr. Obama as a Super Feminist grated. Why we, who have suffered from his ommissions and commissions found it so offensive.

I wrote some about that in my blog today... and must get on to discussing the New Agenda article soon.

The sexism on 2008 overwhelms me....

Anonymous said...

Being called a "man identified woman" is a sexist stereotype. Using the pic that so upset you with Hillary getting her breast cupped and replacing it with Michelle Obama's face is just as disgusting and degrading towards women as the original. Hillary is our Secretary of State and she will do a damn fine job. She lost the primary on her own merits, not because some mean men said things about her. Obama won on his own merits and no matter how much you dislike him, he was voted in overwhelmingly. Don't you think it's time to quit complaining and start working on women's issues? Such as healthcare, affordable childcare, freedom of choice? Thanks to our "biracial patriarch", the Lily Ledbetter act was signed into law...

Lastly...most thinking people vote for a president, not a penis or a vagina...c'mon...what's happened to you Willow? You never used to be so bitter!

Willow said...

Obviously you know me, and I can well imagine who you are, even though you safely leave comments as "Anonymous".

Your antagonism toward me for seeing the world differently from you, and continuing to insult me for it, is sad to see. Whose the bitter one? Not me.

I write from my experience, and sometimes it is from dealing with women like you who sling insults and put downs toward anyone who disagress with you. Whatever happened to agreeing to disagree? Or allowing others to have an opinion without smacking them for it?

Thanks for stopping by, although I can't imagine why you still bother :-)