Meet Bob Woodward. He is a famed journalist who I heard speak about journalism and integrity when I was a college freshman in 2006.
This week, the famed journalist and integrity enthusiast said that Hillary Clinton “shouts” when she speaks. Last October, Clinton addressed the media’s double standard with women: “Well I’m not shouting. It’s just when women talk, people think we’re shouting.”
As women, we lose so much when we’re tone-policed. The substance of our voice falls on deaf ears and the conversation invariably shifts from what we said to how we said it. Not only is this an attempt to discredit our ideas, but it begets one of the most archaic stereotypes about women not being able to say anything without being hysterical. Even worse, it’s a form of silencing that doesn’t even require the accuser to tell us to be quiet. This kind of silence is effectively born from noise. And yet, it is deafening.
What’s so frustrating about Woodward’s comments is that it is impossible not to see them as gender-coded when Bernie Sanders yells and speaks harshly and with such force and yet- where is the inquisition? Why must women bear the burden of satisfying society’s historical discomfort with non-white male assertiveness, confidence and determination?
It is because our value, as women, is purely predicated on our gender. Hearing our voice is not the same as hearing our words and if our judges continue to be deaf ears, society will continue to speak for us.