If the endless “Will she? Won’t she?” speculations about Hillary Clinton running for the presidency in 2016 were not bad enough, we now have the ‘big news’ that her daughter Chelsea Clinton is pregnant. I saw it on news headlines of practically all the news sites that I visit and it received some comment on many blogs as well.
I could not believe that so much media attention was being given to the fact that the child of prominent parents was having a baby. Who cares? Well clearly some people in the media care a lot, but does that mean the public at large cares? This strikes me as one of those situations where political insiders are so wrapped in this kind of gossip that they project that interest onto the rest of us.
Of course, part of the fascination of media gossip-mongers is the question that is their main source of interest and that is what an event, anything at all, implies for the next US presidential election. This topic is their bread-and-butter. And the question is whether becoming a grandmother is an advantage for her (because it ‘softens’ her image) or whether it is a disadvantage (because it adds to the perception that she is old) is one that allows for endless fact-free speculation, the thing they love most.
I dread the thought that Hillary Clinton may be the Democratic nominee for many political reasons. The idea that if she does run we will drown under endless discussions of the electoral implications of being a grandmother and a woman and close scrutiny of her clothes and hair and looks just adds to my foreboding.
Of course, the blatant gender bias inherent in such speculations is obvious. I don’t recall ever reading how a male candidate’s image and political chances would be affected merely by his child becoming pregnant. I am also well aware of the irony that by simply writing about this absurdity, I am adding to the media scrum about this non-event. But I just had to get it off my chest.