“Along Came Hillary”
Twitter had its fun a couple of weeks ago, when the children’s book, Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead, resurfaced. The book was originally published in January of 2016, in the middle of Hillary’s campaign for presidency. I don’t recall if the book received much fanfare when released but honestly who can remember every insane moment of traveling circus known as the 2016 Presidential Election. Among many, over exaggerated accomplishments the book disgustingly attributes to Hillary, the biggest one comes from when Hillary graced the world with her presence. The author suggests that in the 1950s we were living in a man’s world and it wasn’t until Hillary came along (was born) that woman began to become accomplished. As several have pointed out, many great and accomplished women have flourished before tiny Hillary was even conceived. This Daily Wire article perfectly captures the problematic page and gives a great examples of the recent reaction.
The rest of the book takes you through Hillary’s life in the same bullshit, ridiculous way it introduces the fierce feminist. But that got me thinking, it’s easy to dress up and over glamorize someone’s past but if you were going to give praise to a powerful and strong feminist today, would little Hillary Rodham Clinton make the cut? And if so, I have to ask, why isn’t she speaking for me too? More specifically, as the magical and wonderful feminist glass-breaker that her undiscerning followers love to adore, why hasn’t she spoke more about #MeToo?
You have to live under a rock (or in the woods) lately to not be aware of the recent revelations of sexual harassment and rape by men in power. Almost daily now, new accusations and stories are being revealed. Women are exposing men from various media, film, music, and political spectrums worldwide. Women are using the strength they find in other women coming forward to build up courage to tell their own story. Actress Alyssa Milano started the hashtag #MeToo as a way for women to share (if they can) that they too have been sexually harassed and victimized by a man. The hashtag has spread like wild-fire.
Curiously missing from the national conversation of sexual harassment however is the voice of our leading First Lady of feminism, Hillary Clinton. When the allegations began to stack up against Harvey Weinstein, a major political donor for the Clinton campaign, Hillary responded by admitting she was “shocked’ and “appalled” and she even eventually agreed to give the $26,000 dollars that Weinstein has donated to her campaigns over time.
Studies estimate that 1 in 3 women have been sexually harassed in the workplace. No one should find this statistic alarming, least of all women. In fact, given that statistic it is easy to say that almost every working woman in the United States has probably knows a coworker or has even saw another female coworker being sexually harassed. In many cases sexual harassment is Quid Pro Quo, that is harassment by a person in power, who uses that power to leverage sexual favors and advances. In the cases that are headlining the news now, it is often Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment. What I find peculiar, what we should all find striking, is throughout her professional career, Hillary Clinton has never had a #MeToo moment to share. Surely working her way through a man’s world, has met a “Harvey Weinstein” of the legal world, the White House, the United States Senate, or even the US State Department. In fact, statistically speaking, across her career path, she should have either been a victim, saw someone being victimized, or had a co-worker confide their story to her.
But Not Surprising
Even though it is unlikely that Hillary has never experienced a #MeToo situation, it is not surprising in the least that she is would not share such an experience. There are many reasons why people do not speak out about being victimized by sexual harassment and/or assault. One reason, they may still be under the thumb of that person and they fear job loss and/or retaliation. However, for Hillary “the girl born to lead”, this is not the case now. In fact, Hillary’s public opinion on sexual harassment seems to offer more sympathy to the perpetrator and not the victim. It suggests that maybe she views sexual harassment with a more conservative perspective – something the girl asked for, a means to a way, men being men. From her days as a defense attorney to her reign as our country’s First Lady, Clinton has defended the guilty men more than the victims. Aside from politicizing, Alicia Machado, during the election and making Pussy Hats a thing, Clinton was never really the fierce feminist for sexual harassment/assault victims, such as young Kathy Shelton and never gave agency to Monica Lewinsky, Juanita Broderick, and the long list of women harassed by her husband.
Feminist Are Made Not Born
The problem with Michelle Markel’s children’s book is its pure fantasy, poorly based off a real-life character. Leaders are not necessarily born ready to lead and feminist are most certainly not born. Through life experiences women become feminists. Women gradually become feminists through obstacles the face and decisions they have to make. They see a path for women, one where you proudly defend equality and a women’s choice while simultaneously defending the right to not be sexually harrassed/assaulted by those in power. They choose not to go down a path where they sit silently throughout the years and watch a system use and abuse women in the name of professional advancement. Hillary Clinton may have been born a leader but she was not born a feminist leader. Through her silence and defense of sexual misconduct and perpetrators she chose her path, the path that made her born to lead through the establishment she so desired.