Molly Ball said that the political science research shows that women don't get more comments about their looks than men do and that controlled experiments show people are more likely to trust the woman (mainly because women seem like outsiders). The unstated implication is that Hillary Clinton is a specific woman and the dislike for her isn't about women generally but her specifically.
But there's a difference between what's really true and what is useful. If women — notably older women — believe discrimination against women is a problem, that belief might be leveraged. Chuck Todd asked Jose Diaz-Balart if Hillary would be able to "galvanize women." (Putting the "gal" in "galvanize.")
Diaz-Balart just said: "When was the last time that we heard a criticism of a man screaming too much?" And Chuck Todd said "Howard Dean" (referring to this). I couldn't believe it! How did they suddenly forget the man they otherwise can't stop talking about — Donald Trump? Donald Trump's manner of speaking is continually criticized. He's yelling. It sounds mean. It incites violence! It's coming out of a mouth that looks like Mussolini's mouth!
Diaz-Balart said: "I don't understand why Hillary Clinton has to be said she's screaming, she has to smile more. I don't hear men being asked that in the same way." But the speech styles of male candidates are often the subject of criticism. For example, just a few days ago, Chris Matthews said:
"I find Cruz very hard to listen to. He’s relentless, and he whines... He’s got this same angry edge to his voice all the time... There’s no, there’s no lift in it. There’s no hope in it. It’s just this grinding negativity toward anyone he’s competing with."Molly Ball said that Hillary Clinton is trying "very hard to turn herself into a sort of feminist-identity politics candidate... has really leaned into the woman thing this year, and it hasn't worked." But there's this idea that if/when she gets to a one-on-one fight with Trump, the gender politics will get "really intense."
Chuck Todd brought up that anti-Trump ad we were talking about yesterday — the one with various women reading out-of-context quotes from Donald Trump (e.g., "That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees"). Todd enthuses: "Can you imagine if they put money behind that ad and ran it for two weeks?"
There's no recognition of any incoherence and hypocrisy. I'm seeing — in Todd and the others on his show — a willingness to use overt gender politics against Republicans whenever it seems it will work, but Republicans are criticized for using gender politics even whenever it's just an argument that some criticism of Hillary could have something to do with her femaleness.
ADDED: Let me put that "dropping to your knees" quote in its proper context, which isn't a general statement about women, but a specific situation in which someone else had used the expression and he was cracking a mildly smutty joke: