I?m not Barack Obama, I?m not Bill Clinton: Hillary Clinton blogs about battling sexism
'Because you need to protect yourself, you need to keep steady, but at the same time you don?t want to seem ?walled off,' she has said in her blog post. Photograph: (Getty)
For Hillary Clinton, the journey to being the Democratic presidential nominee has been tougher than it was for her husband Bill Clinton or former boss Barack Obama, she feels.
In a hardhitting post published on the blog, Humans of New York, the American politician spoke about how difficult it is for women in politics and the sexism she's faced from her Harvard law school days to her bid for the presidency.
“I’m not Barack Obama. I’m not Bill Clinton. Both of them carry themselves with a naturalness that is very appealing to audiences. But I’m married to one and I’ve worked for the other, so I know how hard they work at being natural. It’s not something they just dial in. They work and they practice what they’re going to say. It’s not that they’re trying to be somebody else. But it’s hard work to present yourself in the best possible way. You have to communicate in a way that people say: ‘OK, I get her.’ And that can be more difficult for a woman," says the former first lady in her post.
She rues the absence of role models in politics and says it is all the more tougher for her to communicate with people because "women are seen through a different lens."
"It’s really quite funny. I’ll go to these events and there will be men speaking before me, and they’ll be pounding the message, and screaming about how we need to win the election. And people will love it. And I want to do the same thing. Because I care about this stuff. But I’ve learned that I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’ Which is funny, because I’m always convinced that the people in the front row are loving it.”
In her Harvard days, things got 'very personal' and while taking the lawschool admissions test, Hillary reveals she was taunted with sexist comments like ‘You don’t need to be here’ and ‘there’s plenty else you can do.’
"While taking the law school admissions test My friend and I were some of the only women in the room. I was feeling nervous. I was a senior in college. I wasn’t sure how well I’d do. And while we’re waiting for the exam to start, a group of men began to yell things like: And It turned into a real ‘pile on.’ One of them even said: ‘If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die.’ And they weren’t kidding around. It was intense. It got very personal. But I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t afford to get distracted because I didn’t want to mess up the test. So I just kept looking down, hoping that the proctor would walk in the room. I know that I can be perceived as aloof or cold or unemotional. "
As a woman, she's learnt 'how to control her emotions.'
"And that’s a hard path to walk. Because you need to protect yourself, you need to keep steady, but at the same time you don’t want to seem ‘walled off.’ And sometimes I think I come across more in the ‘walled off’ arena. And if I create that perception, then I take responsibility. I don’t view myself as cold or unemotional. And neither do my friends. And neither does my family. But if that sometimes is the perception I create, then I can’t blame people for thinking that,” states the US politician in the blog.
Humans of New York is a blog and bestselling book featuring portraits and interviews taken on the streets of New York City.