Barack vs. Clinton

I notice that many people refer to the male candidate by his last name, and the female candidate by her first name.

Why? Is there concern that she'll be mistaken for her husband?

Is it because it's her first name on the sign?

I'm genuinely curious.

17 comments:

RadioKeri said...

Interesting. I usually hear people refering to her as "Senator Clinton" and him as "Obama" ...

At least I think I do.

Maggie said...

Keri, I was in the car and looking forward to listening to you, and it's a &*^%$ Red Sox game!!

I try to consistently refer to them by last name because I think "Hillary" sounds disrespectful, but I assume she put it on her signs to distinguish herself from her husband and possibly to seem warm and friendly. (Hmmm.) People probably don't know whether "Obama" is his first name or last name. I'm serious.

RadioKeri said...

Kind of like people who call Deval Patrick -- Patrick Deval -- my absolute BIGGEST PET PEEVE EVER!

Dr. Momentum said...

I usually throw a "Senator" in there if I'm trying to round out a paragraph and vary stuff. You know, make it interesting.

But yes, "Senator Clinton" distinguishes her from hubby.

Julie said...

I rarely hear professionals (that is, people on TV, even the ones who otherwise seem quite unprofessional) call her Hillary. I mean people I know socially - some of whom claim to be feminists. Maybe they feel that they should be on a first-name basis. To me, it seems disrespectful.

My grandmother, who is a staunch Democrat but watches Faux Nooz all day, keeps forgetting that Obama's name isn't really Osama. And that Hussein isn't his first name.

Julie said...

Oh, btw, here's why this occurred to me when I posted it earlier:

I've been recapping episodes of Celebrity Apprentice. (Not the noblest of pastimes, but it amuses me.) I started doing this shortly after I had had this first name vs. last name conversation with someone else.

What surprised me was that I kept referring to women as Carol, Marilu, and Nely, but to the men as Adkins, Baldwin, and Simmons. I had to make a conscious effort to be consistent in using last names only. (This was compounded slightly by the godawful Omarosa, who uses only her first name professionally and whose last name is a lengthy, hyphenated monstrosity... also, I don't like her.)

But even with the conscious effort, the first names kept slipping through.

I didn't realize I was doing it, and I think some people don't realize they're doing it with "Hillary" either.

Julie said...

D'oh, I see your point now, Keri. You're right that people who like her more are more likely to refer to her as "Senator Clinton" and to him as Just Obama... but my point was that no one ever refers to him by his first name.

I just thought it'd be nice to refer to both of them the same way, and I'm surprised at how uncommon it is.

Mike said...

She's been on the scene much longer so we know her as Hillary. Clinton is too ambiguous as it could easily refer to the godfather of funk.

We're still in the Obama phase. Maybe in another decade he'll be known as Barack but I doubt it. Obama has gravitas. Barack sounds like a belch.

Dr. Momentum said...

I checked, and in the recent past I've referred to him as "Barack" in three recent posts on Aces Full. But it's not my first choice.

And her own campaign posters refer to her as "Hillary."

"Shrillary" -- now *that's* disrespectful.

Maggie said...

I think "Billary" is disrespectful, and gives me the impression of a floating bag of an unspecified gas.

The only reason I would consider referring to her by Hillary is because it's on her signs, which to me means that's what she wants to be called. But it still just feels too disrespectful, and I'm more comfortable using last names. I suppose Senator X is more polite.

Dr. Momentum said...

"Senator X" also sounds more mysterious and exciting.

If she wore dark shades and had called herself "Senator X" since the beginning of the campaign, she'd have the delegate lead.

But then Barack could have countered by dressing all in leather and calling himself "Vitamin B."

Julie said...

"Shrillary" would be disrespectful, yes. But funny.

Vitamin B - he'd have to be more specific. There are a lot of B vitamins.

Last night, both Stewart and Colbert referred to "Hillary," as did Colbert's guest.

Since neither Bill nor George Clinton is running for president, I think there's no possibility of confusion there.

Dr. Momentum said...

It depends on the context. There have been a number of occasions during the campaign when Bill made news.

Julie said...

He has made the news, but he's not running for president. In the very few cases where there could be the possibility of confusion, it's easy enough to distinguish between the two of them without calling her by first name only.

I just did a search with the terms women "first name" diminutive because I was looking for a specific term, not "infantilzing" but something like it, I couldn't remember what it was. I didn't find the word, but I was surprised to find several articles and blog posts specifically about "Hillary" vs. "Obama." I guess more people have noticed this than I thought. And evidently more people have done this than I've noticed, as evidenced by specific examples observed here.

This is upsetting to me because even though it's not overtly hostile like an "iron my shirt" sign - in fact I don't think it's necessarily intentional or malicious - it's proof that there are still deeply ingrained, wildly different standards of respect based on gender.

I'm guilty of it too, pretty heinously, since the Apprentice example vividly proves that liking isn't a even factor - I like some of those women much more than I like Hillary Clinton (even if I don't want them to be president), and I admire most of them more than I do Gene Simmons.

You've done it too - I had no trouble finding several examples on Aces in which there was no chance of thinking that you referring to Bill Clinton.

But we are ordinary people, speaking or writing more or less casually, and I can't get too worked up over what people say on a fake news show or on a talk show. When it comes to actual news coverage, however, I'm going to be paying much closer attention to what professional journalists say and write when they're on the clock and on the air, providing facts rather than opinions (there are a few left who still do that!).

Dr. Momentum said...

I agree that women are still not treated equally in our society.

I disagree that referring to Senator X as "Hillary" is an example of this.

Julie said...

Sorry, I missed where you said you referred to him as "Barack." I guess that qualifies as equal treatment.

At least you didn't call him Hussein. Or Brak.

Dr. Momentum said...

I'm not claiming equal treatment, or even a conscious attempt at equal treatment, only that I have used his first name a few times.

If you want the bottom line, I think that anything other than "Senator Clinton" and "Senator Obama" is at least ever so slightly disrespectful. But unless I'm calling someone a name, I just want you to know who I'm talking about.