All female politicians are Tracy Flick

Hillary as Tracy Flick Slate’s very popular video mashup New York Magazine: “Is Hillary Clinton secretly the exact same person as Tracy Flick, the beloved Reese Witherspoon character from the movie Election? She’s blonde, she’s driven, she’s oddly sexless (even … Continued

Hillary as Tracy Flick

Slate’s very popular video mashup

New York Magazine: “Is Hillary Clinton secretly the exact same person as Tracy Flick, the beloved Reese Witherspoon character from the movie Election? She’s blonde, she’s driven, she’s oddly sexless (even as she is sexualized by others), she’s competitive and ruthless, and sometimes you wonder whether she has the emotions of normal people.”

The Washington Times: “Sen. Hillary Clinton, her armor temporarily pierced by Midwestern working-class grit (with sudden redemption by middle-class Northeastern posh), is like Tracy Flick in the dark comedy classic “Election” re-emerged.”

Daniel Spiro: If I’m right, Clinton’s “Flick issue” will follow her more and more with the passage of time. Come November, she’s going to have to bribe voters with a whole lot of customized cupcakes if she hopes to win a popularity contest.

From Flickr

Palin as Tracy Flick

Keith Olbermann: “Perhaps Norma Rae by way of Tracy Flick, Reese Whiterspoon’s character in Election.”

Andrew Sullivan: “She has this weird tick of scrunching up her face to make a forceful point. Kinda Tracy Flicky.” “To prep for her role as Tracy Flick in “Election,” Witherspoon spent the ‘98 seal clubbing season with Palin.”

And a lot of miscellaneous blog posts. Click here to see for yourself.

14 Comments on “All female politicians are Tracy Flick”

  1. Gab #

    All this does is prove the mysoginy of society. Why is it all female politicians have to be compared to a psychotic one in a dark comedy? Male politicians at least get variety when they’re compared to characters. And hell, male politicians sometimes ARE ACTORS (Reagan, Thompson, etc.) or celebrities (Bono). It comes down to how in order for a woman to succeed she either has to be or gets portrayed as either a slut or a heartless non-human, whereas the same characteristics she demonstrates that get he criticized are praised in a man: if a woman gets a tear, she’s too emotional/using her uterus, but a man is just being sensitive; if she doesn’t back down, she’s stubborn (to a fault), but a man is just tough. It’s a double-standard. Clinton and Palin are absolutely NOTHING alike (so why McCain thinks Palin can get him Clinton’s supporters… well, that’s a different rant), yet they’re both being paralleled to this character. Why? Because Flick is crazy, and a woman MUST be crazy to want to go into politics.


  2. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    I think what this shows most of all is that there are precious few images of female political leaders in pop culture.


  3. mlawski OTI Staff #

    I was just doing a search to see if anyone ever called Pelosi a Tracy Flick (it looks like no) and I ended up finding some very interesting conservative blogs. The articles and comments seem to go something like this:

    “The media called Hillary Tracy Flick and now they’re calling Sarah Palin Tracy Flick. Sarah Palin ISN’T Tracy Flick, which proves Obama supporters are misogynistic. However, Hillary Clinton IS Tracy Flick because she’s a self-serving bitch.”

    See something wrong with this argument? Note to Republicans: you can’t play the misogyny card with one hand while playing the “women are bitches” card with the other. Thanks.


  4. Gab #

    Mlwaski, you’re awesome.

    Pelosi never got called a Tracy Flick because the press didn’t care enough that she became Speaker of the House to do so. The fact that she is the first woman to have that position wasn’t played up in the media nearly as much as how Obama is the first black man on a major ticket. The press is more concerned about the color line than the glass ceiling. Not to say one issue is more important than the other, but she got that position well before he became the nominee, so the difference in time makes the difference in concern apparent.


  5. lee OTI Staff #

    I think the other factor re: Pelosi is that the nation hasn’t scrutinized her on the campaign trail. She rose to prominence when she *became* Speaker of the House–she didn’t have to run for it. The essence of Tracy Flick is how she behaved while campaigning.


  6. mlawski OTI Staff #

    Ah, good point, Lee. I didn’t think about that.


  7. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    You know what? I might agree with the right wing blogs a little. Calling Palin Tracy Flick seems like just a smear that’s not based in the way she is.

    Hillary, on the other hand, WAS a little Tracy Flick. Maybe I’m being sexist, but I definitely think Hillary is MORE Tracy Flick than Palin.


  8. Gab #

    Belinkie, how was Hillary like Flick?


  9. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    “You might think it upset me that Paul Metzler had decided to run against me but nothing could be further from the truth. He was no competition for me; it was like apples and oranges. I had to work a little harder, that’s all, see I believe in the voters; they understand that elections aren’t just popularity contests, they know this country was built by people just like me who work very hard and don’t have everything handed to them on a silver spoon. Not like some rich kids who everybody likes because their fathers owns Metzlers cement and give them trucks on their 16th birthday and throw them big parties all the time. No, they don’t ever have to work for anything. They think they can just all of a sudden one day out of the blue waltz right in with no qualifications what’s so ever and try to take away what other people have worked very, very hard for their entire lives. No, it didn’t bother me at all.”


  10. Gab #

    Matthew: I don’t see how that makes Hillary more like Flick than any other politician, males included. Every politician on the campaign trail says stuff about believing in the voters and thinking they can relate better and bulls*** like that all the time when running, so Hillary is no different. Obama has said that sort of thing countless times (“The people in this country are tired of the way things have been going!” and “I was raised by a single mom putting herself through school,” and the like), as did all of the other nominees during the primaries. If you say Hillary is like Flick, then unless you really are sexist (but I think it actually has more to do with anti-Clinton airwaves than her gender), you have to say the others are, too. And if you’re going off of the message in that above little speech, then Palin is just as Tracy Flick as Hillary- her *entire* image is based on her background, since she has no experience to speak of. So if you really believe Hillary is more Flick than Palin, I think the right-wing blogs could call you a success story, Matthew, in their never-ending quest to convince people that everything wrong with the world is the fault of the Clintons and to spread the belief that they are evil… How sad. ::shakes head::


  11. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    Gab –

    Far be it from I to pick a fight with the blog’s biggest fan, but…

    Election is about a female politician who has wanted to be president for years. She doesn’t expect to face any rivals. But suddenly, there’s a male competitor who has more charisma than she does. She feels that he’s completely unqualified and inexperienced. She thinks of him as an elitist, whereas she’s down-to-earth. She thinks he’s a newcomer who doesn’t respect how hard she’s worked.

    Look, I like Hillary. I believe Obama should have put her on the ticket, or at least considered it. But there ARE similarities in the plot of Election and what happened in the democratic primary.

    – Matt


  12. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    AND… here’s another thing I hadn’t considered. Election is partially ABOUT sexist treatment of female politicians. Matthew Broderick is out to get her – he’s conspiring to destroy her because she’s an ambitious woman, and he’s frustrated by the women in his life and he wants to crush one.

    So there’s another way Hillary is like Flick (if you believe sexism played a large role in Hillary’s loss): the Matthew Brodericks of the world claimed to be on her side, while secretly stabbing her in the back.


  13. Gab #

    Oh, I do see the parallels, but in Hillary’s defense, it isn’t like she really wasn’t more experienced. So yeah, her equating the experience with qualifications makes her like Flick. But still, she wasn’t the only candidate to say their experiencequalifications made them the better candidate. Richardson brought up the various posts he had under Clinton when talking foreign policy and all of the improvements that Arizona experienced with him as governor when talking about stuff like economy or general ability to lead (all stuff Obama sidestepped or BSd through).

    I suppose I’m not saying Hillary is NOT like Flick in some ways, but that she’s not THE ONLY ONE- but the parallels between Flick and the male candidates don’t come up- and that’s sexist. Ovaries aside, if it walks like a duck and all that kinda jazz, then, well, don’t call it an eagle.

    The underlying problem is: What did Hillary really DO (or not do, if you want to approach it that way) that was sooooo terrible to deserve such treatment from the media and pundits other than be married to Bill and be born with a uterus? Answer: NOTHING. That’s why this bothers me. I mean, God, they still talk about when she teared up in June, but Edward’s *affair* and potential BASTARD CHILD have already been forgotten? Why can’t they just back off of Hillary? She endorsed Obama more than once, the convention is over; but they’re STILL bringing her up negatively over and over again. They STILL speculate as to whether she’ll try to get her supporters to vote for McCain or a third-party candidate, and it’s completely unfounded and nonsensical. I’ve always felt the bias against her, and it originates from her husband’s time in Office. It has nothing to do with how well she may or may not do in office, it’s all about the underlying loathing that has existed for her family in general for years before she decided to run for President. And yeah, she’s a woman. She was always either too womanly or not womanly enough (i.e. the crying incident- days before, she was too robotic, then as soon as that happened, she was too emotional). Making fun of her suits? AAAAGH!

    So yes, a great similarity is that she has been targeted for being a woman, and her Matthew Broderick is the media and all of those stupid pundits that hate her and Bill so much (and for no legitimate reason- Bill got a blow job, Bush’s lies killed people… STOP THE BLOWJOBS!).

    (Oh, and thanks for the compliment about fandom. ;))


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