So Where is all the Breathless Coverage about Whether Bernie Is Too Frail to be President?

In the middle of the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton once caught pneumonia. That became a dominant story in news cycles lasting through to an election that was nearly two months later. The gnashing of the teeth, the breathless drama, the stupid obsession over whether a woman who catches a bug can ever be trusted with the nuclear button was seen not only as acceptable but essential.

The fact that the electoral college was about to hand the presidency to the most mentally unstable man ever was, well, besides the point, as was the fact that Hillary Clinton was back out campaigning within days.

The other day, Bernie Sanders ran into a glass shower door and got six stitches. And yet, somehow we are missing the big national freakout about making a 77-year-old man who runs into and hits their head on shower doors president. 

The contrast is obvious, and so is the reason. Hillary Clinton is a woman. Women are perceived as weak, and so to prove their strength, they are never allowed to get sick, or get emotional, or display any qualities seen as 'feminine.' Men, especially white men are seen as strong, and as long as they can make it appear that they are "taking it like a man", randomly running into shower doors just gives you battle scars.

Aside from exposing this glaring double standard, one set of stitches on Bernie may or may not be worth spending that much time on. But an introspective examination on how our political media and our political discourse treats women politicians in contrast with how they treat men is long, long overdue.

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