Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s latest victory speech came under fire from some commentators who criticised her for “shouting” and coming across as “mad”. Her supporters say this is sexism and double standards.
Mrs Clinton had just won Florida, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina. She’d extended her lead over rival Bernie Sanders in her bid to become US president, and took to the stage to rally her supporters.
But rather than analyse what these latest wins might mean for her campaign or that of her competitor, or question the content of her speech, some commentators took to social media to pick apart her voice and tone.
Critics were quick to point out much of the criticism – which included her being accused of “shouting angrily” and told to adopt a more “conversational tone” and “smile” – came from men.
“Sorry to single out the men, but I scrolled through the coverage of the mostly female reporters covering Clinton and I didn’t see this kind of commentary,” wrote Time magazine’s Jay Newton-Small.
“Clinton faces a sexist double standard when she gets passionate. Sanders yells and people get passionate with him. Clinton yells and people think [she’s] yelling at them,” she added.
Some men took to Twitter to defend Mrs Clinton however. Political social media strategist Andrew Tumilty tweeted that her speech would have been labeled “timid” if she wasn’t shouting, adding: “They’d be ok with @HillaryClinton making about 3/4 as much noise as a man makes.”
Plenty of women also made their voices heard. “It’s called talking to a crowd. Get used to it,” tweeted civil rights lawyer and columnist Cynthia Dill.
It’s not the first time the potential first female US president has been criticised for the way she speaks.
“Hillary Clinton raises her voice, and a debate over speech and sexism rages,” wrote the New York Times in February, after some political observers said she had a “decidedly grating pitch and punishing tone” and called her “shrill”.
The dean of the Senate women Barbara Mikulski told the Hill many female senators feel the Democratic presidential candidate is being subjected to an unfair, sexist double standard on the campaign trail.
The alleged sexism of the 2008 campaign inspired the Women’s Media Center to draw up a guide to gender neutral coverage of female politicians for reporters.
In past interview Hillary Clinton has said she has learned to stop worrying about criticism.
“When you’re in the spotlight as a woman, you know you’re being judged constantly,” she told TV journalist Diane Sawyer. “You get a little worried about, okay, people over on this side are loving what I’m wearing, looking like, saying… I’m done with that. I’m just done.”