Understanding the factors that determined the 2016 election will require time and deep analysis. But Susan Bordo contributes to that understanding with The Destruction of Hillary Clinton, how the right and left vilified and brought down “an extraordinarily well-qualified, experienced, and admired candidate” through a combination of smears and misogyny. She compares the treatment of Hillary to that of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII who became queen in her own right, only to be beheaded by Oliver Cromwell. Bordo wrote The Creation of Anne Boleyn.
The nasty caricatures of Boleyn, like those of Hillary, were manufactured by political enemies. They portrayed her as an “overly ambitious, calculating, untrustworthy schemer,” who “while not always represented as guilty of adultery and treason (the crimes for which she was falsely charged and executed), nonetheless got the fate she deserved. There’s astonishingly little factual basis for this nasty version of Anne,” and it’s based almost entirely on inflammatory gossip, Bordo writes.
I suspect that if Hillary won the presidency, she would have faced the modern far-less- savage equivalent of what Boleyn faced: she would have been impeached, and possibly removed from office, by a hyper-partisan Republican majority in Congress deeply divided on issues but unified only in its hatred of Hillary.
Bordo is a media critic, cultural historian, and feminist scholar. Her other books include Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; and The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private. She is Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Kentucky.