Aside from Hillary Clinton, another powerful political woman is mocked for her clothes, is the target of pictures on Twitter depicting her as haggard and is routinely called a witch and a bitch — Kellyanne Conway. Whatever legitimate criticisms can be leveled at each woman, it’s striking how often that anger is expressed using the same sexist themes, from men and women.
While Mrs. Clinton’s hair has drawn relentless derision, one Twitter user recently asked: “Why does Kellyanne Conway always look like she’s still drunk & wearing make up from last night’s bender?”
“These sexist memes are not the purview of one party,” said Karen Finney, a senior adviser to the Clinton campaign. “We fear strong women and women with power. These attacks are meant to delegitimize that power.”
Ms. Conway been scorned and disinvited from some news programs for her references to a “Bowling Green massacre” that never took place and her defense of claims about the size of the crowd at Mr. Trump’s inauguration as “alternative facts.” Yet, some of the criticisms have taken on a distinctly sexualized tone. For example, the image of her sitting on her knees on a couch in the Oval Office during a reception for presidents of historically black colleges. While she drew fire for disrespect, some of the criticisms included digs about her spreading her legs and raunchy allusions to oral sex, Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton.
A “Saturday Night Live” skit riffed on Ms. Conway as a “Fatal Attraction” stalker, breaking into the CNN correspondent Jake Tapper’s house to seduce him into having her on his show.
Many conservative women, from Sarah Palin to Ann Coulter, have emphasized their femininity to distance themselves from feminists, whom they accuse of hating men. In a recent interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Ms. Conway said she supported many feminist principles but said she would not call herself one because feminism is anti-male, pro-abortion and identified with the left.
Gillian Thomas, a senior staff lawyer of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union said “I think some of the reticence that might be coming across in not a huge chorus of defense of Kellyanne Conway in the face of these sexist comments is the feeling that she doesn’t have our back,”
“It’s a shame,” Ms. Thomas continued. “If women were more united and speaking up at this behavior, including when it’s perpetrated by the left, we’d all be a lot better off.”