Vanity Fair’s video suggesting Hillary Clinton take up knitting sparks intense backlash
A lot of the anti-Hillary Clinton rhetoric disappeared from left-leaning publications when Donald Trump became president in January. Clinton wasn’t the first choice for some Democrats to lead their party, but after Trump won, most people decided to focus on how his presidency would affect Americans instead of quibble about a former candidate.
Vanity Fair apparently wasn’t ready to put the issue of Clinton, and what she should do with her life now, to bed. The magazine released a video that shows staff writers and editors holding glasses of champagne and reciting “resolutions” for the former Secretary of State. Most of the suggestions for Clinton in 2018 boil down to this: don’t run again, please. The video also suggested that Clinton take up a new hobby, such as “volunteer work, knitting, improv comedy.”
Maybe it's time for Hillary Clinton to take up a new hobby in 2018 pic.twitter.com/sbE78rA5At
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) December 23, 2017
The video is clearly intended to be silly and humorous, but it wasn’t well received. And that’s putting it mildly. On Twitter, people called the video “garbage” and misogynistic.
.@VanityFair … I fuckin knit. & crochet too while being a Physicist, a cancer patient, an activist, a dying mother, grandmother, friend.
I’ll be working on a big knitted middle finger for Hillary to send you, berating successful women. Fuck you!
— 🎉🦄Gypsy Beech🦄🎉 (@DGB_JAIID) December 27, 2017
Did Vanity Fair suggest that Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kerry or Al Gore take up new hobbies? Hillary Clinton is a Wellesley and Yale Law grad, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, and the only female presidential candidate win the popular vote by 3 million. Apologize #Misogyny https://t.co/ripJWFlSMY
— Nancy Levine (@nancylevine) December 27, 2017
I also thought the @VanityFair "Go Away Hillary" take was garbage, but before you write them off as a faux-erudite aspirational gossip roundup grasping for relevance, where else will you read about Jackie Kennedy's nanny or Martin Scorsese's favorite brand of personal stationery?
— Bess Kalb (@bessbell) December 27, 2017
Show me where you put Joe Biden through the same treatment.
You know, the guy who attempted THREE presidential runs so far and never made it past the primaries. The 75 year old whose track record pre-Obama includes reprehensible treatment of Anita Hill.#DoubleStandard
— Selena Adera 🍩 (@Selena_Adera) December 26, 2017
Six New Year’s Resolutions for Vanity Fair’s Hive Editors: 1) Don’t make videos on Ambien 2) Show some fucking respect to the 1st female Presidential nominee of a major political party & the former 1st lady & Secretary of State 3) Learn what funny is 4) Fuck off 5) see 4 6) see 5
— Caissie St.Onge (@Caissie) December 27, 2017
#CancelVanityFair turned into a popular hashtag.
I subscribed to @VanityFair for the first time last year. It's tons of pages of ads followed by some articles, a couple of them interesting. But now they've decded to shit on one of the most accomplished women in the world. Buh-bye #CancelVanityFair
— chris (@xchrisk5) December 27, 2017
I just now cancelled my @VanityFair #VanityFair subscription. I’m not going to link to the vapid feature because they don’t deserve more clicks. But it’s condescension and #misogyny and so, so tone deaf. @HillaryClinton deserves our respect, not this mess. #CancelVanityFair pic.twitter.com/pnh94j5tGT
— Sybill Resists (@ProfSybill) December 27, 2017
A women's magazine telling a strong woman to "take up knitting". That's just what we need, women telling women to sit down and shut up. SHAME ON YOU VANITY FAIR. #CancelVanityFair
— Pam Kling Jones (@Realmommabear) December 27, 2017
Director Ava DuVernay weighed in.
The people of color staffers at the planning meeting for this: pic.twitter.com/sO4qUr5DGu
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 27, 2017
As well as outspoken actor Patricia Arquette.
Hey STOP TELLING WOMEN WHAT THE F-CK THEY SHOULD DO OR CAN DO. Get over your mommy issues.
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) December 27, 2017
The video was so widely criticized and hated that Vanity Fair staff members who appeared in it were bullied and harassed online this whole week. One writer locked her Twitter account.
The journalists who produced it, many of them women, apparently assumed one of the world's richest, most famous and most powerful political leaders was fair game for mockery, and that journalists sometimes produce criticisms of leaders that aren't "well-received" by followers.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 27, 2017
I have no problem with people who criticize the video. That's very different from subjecting one of the women in the video to days of foul abuse and personal attacks until she's forced to lock her account and leave Twitter until next year.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 27, 2017
Vanity Fair didn’t single out Hillary Clinton in its end-of-year political commentary. The publication also created New Year’s resolutions videos for President Trump and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Those videos feature equally silly suggestions, such as a Sanders joining forces with Bernie Sanders to form a radio show called Sanders and Sanders. Yet producing a video unprompted by any sort of news coverage about the former presidential candidate is strange (Clinton has said she will not run again). What’s even stranger is the backlash. The video seemed like the kind of internet content that briefly attracts negative attention before people move on to the next thing to get mad about. That didn’t happen. Vanity Fair tweeted a link to the video over the weekend, and people are still talking about it.
It’s even devolved—as everything did in 2017—into a wild, Russian conspiracy theory.
You made me look. You are correct. The new editor in chief at Vanity Fair is Radhika Jones who got her start with the Moscow Times. I have no idea what, if anything, to make of that. https://t.co/8UdTGDOWwN
— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) December 27, 2017
Maya Kosoff…is that a Russian name? https://t.co/hr6NF6P3vC
— Gomer W Howard (@GomerWHoward) December 27, 2017
A spokeswoman for Vanity Fair told the Washington Post that the Clinton video “was an attempt at humor and we regret that it missed the mark.”
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