Trump struck a cord in the final debate last week when he called Hillary a “nasty woman”. Business Insider’s Linette Lopez is convinced that ordinary women will rush to self identify as nasty:
Clinton and her female supporters officially have a name they can be proud of.
This is a huge problem for Trump. Clinton’s “deplorable” comments rallied Trump’s base. But they already despised Clinton anyway. “Nasty woman,” however, is a rallying cry for any woman who works, any woman who is in charge of her home, any woman who decides her own future.
And these are voters that the Trump campaign has needed to woo in order to win the election. But he won’t — not if they’re “nasty.”
Indeed, there are already a slew of T shirts women can order and proudly wear to announce how nasty they are. Lopez even claims the Clinton campaign has formally adopted the term:
Clinton’s campaign took over, which directed anyone headed there to her campaign.
I suspect she is mistaken on this last part, and that the domain was instead picked up by supporters and not by the campaign itself. At any rate, Elizabeth Warren stirred the nasty woman pot in a speech she gave today with Hillary:
For CNBC the money quote was:
Nasty women are tough. Nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote. … We nasty women are going to march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever,
Clearly this is a phrase feminists want to use to motivate their base, and in the short term at least I believe it could work. But I don’t see most women wanting to identify as nasty, something ugly. Feminists could avoid the obvious ugly implication by going with the sexual connotation, framing Hillary supporters as nasty sexual freaks instead of nasty ball busting feminists. But then they would have to change the term from nasty woman (ghostbusters feminists) to nasty girl (sex positive feminists) to really capture the different meaning. Even this would would be limited in scope. In the right setting many women might flirt with such a term, but few would want to fully identify with it due to the risk of slut shaming that goes with adopting such a brazen label. Both kinds of feminism are ugly, and there is no way to escape this fact.
Given how little time there is left before the election, my guess is that this strategy will help Hillary energize the harpy brigade without the image seeping through enough to make the average woman excessively uncomfortable. Six months of Warren and other surrogates shouting that Hillary supporters are nasty women would take its toll, but two weeks doesn’t seem likely to be much of a problem. The only thing I could see that might change this dynamic is if there were a big social media push by women who decided to signal their sweetness in contrast to Hillary’s (and her supporters’) nastiness. But time is fleeting, and Trump’s comments about grabbing women by the p**** and trying to seduce married women would make such a counter movement harder to ignite.