The American bias Hillary Clinton says is 'darker' than sexism: 'It's rage. Disgust. Hatred.'

Beth Greenfield
Senior Editor
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signs copies of her new book, What Happened, at Barnes & Noble Union Square on Tuesday in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

In her new memoir, What Happened, Hillary Rodham Clinton has tackled two topics that she tended to shy away from while on the campaign trail: sexism and misogyny, and the difference, as she sees it, between the two.

“It’s worth reading Hillary Clinton’s definitions of sexism and misogyny,” tweeted Jonathan Allen, co-author of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, along with screenshots of her definitions.

“A note here on terminology,” Clinton writes. “Others might have a different view, but here’s how I see the distinction between sexism and misogyny. When a husband tells his wife, ‘I can’t quite explain why and I don’t even like admitting this, but I don’t want you to make more money than me, so please don’t take that amazing job offer,’ that’s sexism. He could still love her deeply and be a great partner in countless ways. But he holds tight to an idea that even he knows isn’t fair about how successful a woman is allowed to be.”

She adds: “Sexism is all the big and little ways that society draws a box around women and says, ‘You stay in there.’ … We can all buy into sexism from time to time, often without even noticing it. Most of us try to keep an eye out for those moments and avoid them or, when we do misstep, apologize and do better next time.”

But “misogyny,” Clinton continues, “is something darker. It’s rage. Disgust. Hatred. It’s what happens when a woman turns down a guy at a bar and he switches from charming to scary. Or when a woman gets a job that a man wanted and instead of shaking her hand and wishing her well, he calls her a bitch and vows to do everything he can to make sure she fails.”

Both sexism and misogyny, she notes, “are endemic in America,” and suggests, “If you need convincing, just look at the YouTube comments or Twitter replies when a woman dares to voice a political opinion or even just share an anecdote from her own lived experience. People hiding in the shadows step forward just far enough to rip her apart.”

Then, right on cue, responses to Allen’s Wednesday tweet began, joining the ones that have served as pitch-perfect examples of both sexism and misogyny in the days since Clinton’s book tour began.

As if the tweets didn’t speak for themselves, the Independent chimed in with an analysis, “The Campaign of Hatred Against Hillary Clinton’s Book Reeks of Misogyny.”

“Unlike other books,” wrote Rachael Revesz, “most of the reviews have centered not on the content or the turn of phrase, but on whether she should have written it at all. For anyone else, this would be seen as an unusual focus for a tell-all memoir. But the questions asked of What Happened are not unusual, at least for female writers. Why did you get such a big advance? Why are your characters so unlikeable? And, most insultingly, ‘Why are you writing by yourself?’”

Still, plenty of HRC’s supporters have been turning out for her, many of them thanking her for finally tackling the sexism and misogyny issues head-on.


That was No. 1 of Candice Aiston’s 23-part tweet, which ended this way:

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