The New York Time has an article today about how the Obama camp is going to "dispatch" Hillary Clinton and other female surrogates to counter the McCain-Palin efforts to reach out to women. It's your sort of run-of-the-mill story about campaign tactics until someone far more awake than me — specifically, Melissa McEwan of Shakesville — points out the subtle sexism of how the Times describes the Obama-Hillary relationship.The Times says:
Senator Barack Obama will increasingly lean on prominent Democratic women to undercut Gov. Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain, dispatching Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to Florida on Monday and bolstering his plan to deploy female surrogates to battleground states, Obama advisers said Thursday.
As Melissa points out, it's pretty hard to imagine anyone "dispatching" Hillary Clinton anywhere, let alone the imagery of Obama "deploying" legions of female foot soldiers out to do battle. She suggests the following phrasing:
Prominent Democratic women will be providing Senator Barack Obama with key support next week, as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Florida and other notable female players will make appearances in battleground states to undercut Gov. Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain, Obama advisors said Thursday.
That's the difficulty with sexism most of the time — it's rarely the super-obvious kind. It always creeps in, leaving a few strands behind in a conversation or an article and slips away again, leaving you feeling slightly heavier without really knowing what's wrong. It's just so ingrained in our culture and in our way of looking at the world that it's hard to even tease out, let alone notice with any alacrity. Obama Camp Turns to Clinton to Counter Palin [NY Times] Yuck [Shakesville]