Only women ‘snap’

Yesterday, Fuck Politeness blogged about a news story in which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “snapped” at a student who asked for her husband’s opinion on an issue. Go read it, it’s great.

Anyway, she blogged around lunchtime and I was disappointed that by 6.30pm the SBS World News was reporting it the same way. The ABC also reported that Hillary “snapped”. (Follow the leader journalism is alive and well.)

So when a uni student in Kinshasa asks the US Secretary of State what her husband thinks about a deal between China and the Democratic Republic of Congo, I think she has every right to reply: “You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? If you want my opinion, I will tell you my opinion, I am not going to be channeling my husband”.

Let’s imagine a different scenario: Condoleezza Rice’s husband (I don’t even know if she’s married, it’s just an example) is now US Secretary of State and a student asks him for his wife’s opinion on foreign policy. The story would be reported as one of ridicule. That this student blew their chance to ask someone important any question they wanted, so ha ha, let’s all laugh at them and it’ll get a million hits on YouTube.

She’s the third woman to be US Secretary of State (Dr Madeleine Albright was the first, from 1997-2001), so why all the hoo-haa?

4 responses to “Only women ‘snap’

  1. Good post. I actually think Hilary’s response was quite restrained.

    • Me too. Was chatting about it with some other journos and they said the same thing, yet it was still presented as “Hillary snaps”. *Sigh*

  2. Was just chatting about it with a journo on Twitter who claims she would agree with that she was sensitive about her position and ready to attack in hindsight. I said I don’t think either of those phrases are accurate but he thinks as the top US diplomat she should have handled it better. Your thoughts?

  3. Perhaps. But are you supposed to be gracious towards every idiot who asks you an offensive question? (Gracious – now there’s a word that wouldn’t be used to describe a man!) But the issue (on this blog) is the way it was reported. If she was a bloke the word ‘snapped’ wouldn’t have been used. If every time a man in a position of power ‘snapped’ at someone it made the news, then the news rooms I’ve worked in would be forever reporting on themselves.

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