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Slut-Shaming & the Presidential Candidates

The Huffington Post, October 28, 2016

We are at a pivotal moment in public conversation about the sexual objectification of women. The claim that feminists have been making for decades—that grabbing or kissing someone without consent constitutes sexual assault—is finally understood and acknowledged.

This can also be a watershed moment in recognizing the mindset that creates the foundation for assault: slut-shaming. Looking at Hillary Clinton’s past in addition to Donald Trump’s helps us understand how far we have come.

Back in the 1990s, Hillary Clinton engaged in slut-shaming: she denigrated the credibility of women who claimed they had been sexually involved with or abused by her husband, Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton’s supporters should address this piece of her history head-on instead of burying it. Betsey Wright, then a close adviser to the Clintons, told The New York Times earlier this month that discussing this history is “dredging up irrelevant slime from the past.” But acknowledging Clinton’s tactics from over two decades ago and putting them in cultural context is necessary to show how much Clinton—and awareness about slut-shaming—has grown....

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