The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Media treatment of Clinton health incident is sexist

For the past year, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have created ongoing buzz about secret emails, foreign policy, racism and sexism and rightfully so. However, the media coverage has recently taken a rather sexist turn when it comes to Hillary Clinton’s health.

According to the Huffington Post, Clinton left the recent September 11th remembrance ceremony for the World Trade Center due to the fact she had been dealing with pneumonia for quite some time, a fact new to the public.  

Reporters quickly stirred up conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health when a video emerged of Clinton having some trouble getting into her car on her own and receiving help from what looks to be a security guard. 

Tom Brokaw got in on it when he stated Clinton, “should go to a hospital and see neurologist,” based on the fact she was attending events while experiencing health issues. Clinton’s correspondent,Rick Leventhal, simply stated that Clinton had a, “medical episode,” and her campaign staff claimed it was due to Clinton overheating. 

Pundit opinions of Clinton’s illness were generally ridiculous and belittling. A 68-year-old woman is fighting through pneumonia and continuing to campaign without a complaint but is nonetheless supposedly crazy and, “needs to see neurologist.”

Republican presidential candidate Trump has repeatedly stated he does not believe, “Clinton’s all there,” and,“Clinton doesn’t have the stamina to be the President of the United States.” 

I personally find it hard to hear those statements and believe that Trump and everyone else giving commentary are not truly referring to her female body. 

Throughout history, statements have been made about a woman not being able to be president due to her, “feminine weaknesses,” and I believe this assumption is at the root of Clinton’s pneumonia controversy. 

New Republicshared an article covering this topic and revealed many of the outlandish and sexist claims that had been made regarding Clinton’s health. For instance, republican based news outlets like FOX and Breitbart have conjured up conspiracy theories claiming Clinton never recovered from a concussion she received in 2012. 

Last time I checked, a concussion almost five years prior to being diagnosed with pneumonia—a lung infection—have never been connected. 

These theories also claim that she carries a hidden defibrillator, cannot walk up the stairs and suffers from dysphasia. Some theorists have even made claims that she has a body double. 

US News also shared an article claiming many Trump supporters and journalists are not pleased that Clinton did not publically announce her pneumonia. 

I think it is reasonable to assume she believed the antibiotics she was given would take care of it, and I think that it is strong of her to continue campaigning despite her illness. 

However, even if she had made a statement about it, I do not believe it would have improved her current position in the eyes of the media. She is damned if she does, and damned if she does not simply because she is a woman. 

Clinton has already released a detailed, two-page health report from her doctor intended to quash the conspiracies, and now both of the candidates claim that they will continue to release their most up-to-date medical statements.

While Clinton may be suffering from sickness, the media and her opponent are blowing the situation entirely out of proportion. Many past presidents—all male— had chronic illnesses. 

Sure, they were in office before the age of the 24-hour news cycle, but it does make you wonder if they would get as much flack as Clinton has, just for a non-chronic illness.

I will admit that I understand concern over Clinton’s health, because after all, President is a hard position to fill. If a President did become too ill to do their job, it would be a national issue. However, Clinton is still on the campaign trail, proving she is fully capable of powering through her illness. 

The media and public should understand powerful women are people too and just like everyone else, they sometimes get sick. Their smaller female frames and supposedly erratic female hormones should not inspire us to assume women in power are generally weak. 

The media should give Clinton points for fighting through her illness, instead of exaggerating her sickness and forming conspiracy theories. 

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Media treatment of Clinton health incident is sexist