In “Misogynistic Hate Speech and Its Chilling Effect on Women’s Free Expression during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign,” Caitlin Carlson discusses how “merchandise sold at the Republican National Convention … in July 2016 … prominently featured misogynistic hate speech” (102). She quotes Atlantic reporter Peter Beinhart, who describes the merchandise being sold outside the hall:
Black pin reading Don’t be a pussy. Vote for Trump in 2016. Black-and- red pin reading Trump 2016: finally someone with balls. White T-shirt reading Trump that bitch. White T-shirt reading Hillary sucks but not like Monica. Red pin reading life’s a bitch: don’t vote for one. White pin depicting a boy urinating on the word Hillary. Black T-shirt depicting Trump as a biker and Clinton falling off the motorcycle’s back alongside the words if you can read this, the bitch fell off. Black T-shirt depicting Trump as a boxer having just knocked Clinton to the floor of the ring, where she lies faceup in a clingy tank top. White pin advertising KFC Hillary special. 2 fat thighs. 2 small breasts . . . left wing. (Beinhart, “Fear of a Female President,” The Atlantic, Oct. 2016)
As these examples attest, violent, misogynistic words and images targeting Hillary Clinton were extremely popular at the 2016 GOP Convention and other MAGA events throughout Trump’s presidency. What accounts for such virulent misogyny? Was it specific to Hillary Clinton, or is it more generic, transferable to future female politicians who come equally close to achieving the nation’s highest office?