Robin Lakoff — professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley — is angry.
“I am mad because I am scared,” she wrote Monday in a Time magazine op-ed. “And if you are a woman, you should be, too. Emailgate is a bitch hunt, but the target is not Hillary Clinton. It’s us.”
In the wake of the rapidly growing controversy over the FBI’s investigation of more emails from her private server when she was secretary of state, Lakoff declared what single factor she believes is at the root of it all.
“The only reason the whole email flap has legs is because the candidate is female,” she wrote. “Can you imagine this happening to a man? Clinton is guilty of SWF (Speaking While Female), and emailgate is just a reminder to us all that she has no business doing what she’s doing and must be punished, for the sake of all decent women everywhere. There is so much of that going around.”
More from Lakoff’s op-ed:
The people are demanding Clinton act like moral exemplars, thundering from the pulpit like Jonathan Edwards or Cotton Mather. But Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and their many conservative friends are not remotely Clinton’s moral superiors. They are simply bullies, using gender discrimination to give a veneer of plausibility to their accusations.
FBI Chief James Comey has shown himself to be another bully of the same kind. He has repeatedly talked down to Clinton, admonishing her as a bad parent would a 5-year-old. He has accused her of “poor judgment” and called her use of a private email server “extremely careless.” If Comey’s a Boy Scout, here’s one old lady who will never let him help her across the street.
If the candidate were male, there would be no scolding and no “scandal.” Those very ideas would be absurd. Men have a nearly absolute right to freedom of speech. In theory, so do women, but that, as the creationists like to say, is only a theory.
She went on to say that the issue is “about public communication by a woman in general,” sarcastically adding that we know Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and other GOP power brokers aren’t waging a war on women because “they have said so. And they’re men, so they must be telling the truth.”
For emphasis Lakoff shared how readers can tell genders apart — “men are truthful; women are liars. Now you know.”
To conclude, she wrote that Clinton never should have apologized for the email scandal:
Clinton has repeatedly apologized, but apparently not enough for her accusers. In fact, her apologies were her only mistake. By apologizing she acknowledged guilt. But that’s what women are supposed to do (because women are always guilty of something). Several members of her own staff sent emails grumbling that she was a recalcitrant apologizer. But her instinct was right: apologizing has only made her weaker. Her opponent never apologizes, not really. So accusations slide off his back like water off a duck’s.
Imagine the emails the Trump campaign must be exchanging … Now those would be legitimately interesting!