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Series

Broad Strokes for September 30, 2016: Hillary Clinton's Smile & More Post-Debate Recaps

September 30, 2016 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated May 12, 2020 16:26 PM UTC

We dissect the media's coverage after Monday night's debate. Tune in!

Transcript
[MUSIC PLAYING] Hello and welcome to Broad Strokes. I'm Anne VanderMey subbing in for Kristen Bellstrom, and this is Valentina Zarya. We have a lot to talk about today. I mean, obviously the number one thing on everyone's mind this week has been the first presidential debate. After the debate, we saw a lot of coverage about the sexism that took place. By some reports, Donald Trump interrupted Hillary Clinton 51 times. And how many times did she interrupt him? I don't actually know. How many? 17. 17? But then also, like, all the fuss about Hillary Clinton's smile. During the primaries, we heard a lot about how she's not smiling enough, how she looks unfriendly and unattractive. And now all of a sudden, she's smiling too much, right? And her smile is "condescending," quote unquote. It is actually very frustrating. You see people coming at Hillary Clinton a lot with criticisms that aren't related to what she's saying. You know, people are saying, oh, you're smiling too much. You're laughing too much. You're talking too loud, which is one that we heard a lot. You're coughing. Like, God forbid she cough. People aren't focusing on what she's saying. There are huge policy differences that if people wanted to focus on, then they could, but instead we get a lot of stuff about whether she was laughing. There's this really interesting study that Northeastern University Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett did. And she found that we as people tend to attribute female facial expressions to their emotions, to their personality traits, versus for men, we tend to attribute them to a situation. So, for example, for Hillary and Trump, if she's looking serious, it's because she's a really serious, unpleasant, cold person. And if he's looking serious, it's because he's presidential and he's out on a debate stage. Right, exactly. And I think another thing that came up at the debates that was really interesting was Hillary Clinton's point about Alicia Machado. Machado was the first winner of the Miss Universe contest. She's from Venezuela. And after she won, she gained some weight. And Donald Trump, who owns the franchise, took issue with this and staged a very elaborate kind of press conference workout for her, where she could lose the weight. Hillary Clinton brought this up, and I thought what was a very powerful point probably resonated with a lot of women. She put Donald Trump's issues with women and accusations of misogyny on full display but didn't make herself the victim. She sort of brought this up in the debate, and behind the scenes, her campaign had orchestrated Alicia Machado to do a lot of interviews that were embargoed for after the debate. And to do a lot of interviews on air after it happened. So I think she sort of brought this really expertly into the fore of the national conversation. One of the really other big stories about women in the media this week has been the McKinsey and Lean In study with-- of course, Lean In is Sheryl Sandberg's organization. And a lot of their findings were pretty consistent from what we've been hearing. There are fewer women than men in the C-suite. There are fewer women than men getting promoted, getting raises. But one really interesting thing that came out of this for me was kind of this new focus on, not so much leaning in, but on pushback. I mean, what she means by pushback is just the fact that when women ask for more, they're more negatively perceived, right? It's not about companies are refusing to give them raises, but not only are they not giving them raises, they're also then saying, wait a minute. I don't even know if I like this employee. And kind of altering their perception of that professional woman too. Yeah, I thought that was a really fascinating point. It addresses a lot of the criticism that Lean In has garnered as a movement over the years, I think in a really savvy way. All right. That is all the time we have. Thanks for tuning into Broad Strokes, and come back next week for more on fortune.com. [MUSIC PLAYING]