Dear Hillary Clinton, From A Woman Who’s Always Been Called ‘Shrill’ — Thank You

Humans of New York
Humans of New York

TL;DR: Holy shit, finally!!!!

Disclaimer: I don’t care what your political beliefs are. I would rather scoop out my eyes with a rusty spoon than politely listen to you try to rationalize the upcoming disaster of an election to me.

Hillary Clinton’s HONY interviews expose a subject that stretches so far beyond the limits of how the media portrays her as a presidential candidate.

And it’s even more important to read Clinton’s reflections on the matter under a lens that distances her message from the upcoming election. She’s saying this as a woman, not as a candidate.

Because her stories touch a raw nerve every woman will resonate with—about how hard it is for us to be taken seriously.

And before anyone explodes about me saying this message is relatable for women exclusively, let me just say: for the love of all that is good in this world, let us fucking have this one thing. ONE THING.

Damn it, this is still a force that we as women—and women alone—have to deal with.

Her self-awareness about how much effort it takes to “present yourself in the best possible way” is an uncomfortable reality for us.

And Clinton’s matter-of-fact way of stating that this is “just a fact” should alarm you. Because we, as women, are reluctantly used to the norm of stressing out over how we can be seen in the best possible way. Not even the best way. Just the least horrible.

Her self-awareness about how people perceive her as “cold” and “walled off” is a sinking feeling that every woman will experience.

Her self-awareness about how her husband and the current President of the United States can both carry themselves with “a naturalness that is very appealing to audiences” and that the men at the same exact events as her will “pound the message, and scream about how we need to win the election” while she “can’t yell too much” because it makes her seem “too shrill” nails It.

Yeah, “It” with a capital “I.” This “It,” while ambiguous, can be more or less filled in with any struggle a woman has coped with, at one point or another in her life, to get to where she wants to be.

The struggle of dealing with and listening to preconceived notions and slandered perceptions about herself that are entirely out of her control—and that absolutely no man could ever properly empathize with.

And that’s exactly what Clinton is doing. She’s dealing with It. She’s dealing with It in the public eye because she’s trying to get to where she wants to be.

It’s exciting, as a woman, to watch another woman make history as the presidential candidate elected by a major political party. Every girl in my 5th grade class in 2005 wanted to be the first female president and our teacher legitimately told us it was “very cute.” It’s 11 years later, and it’s not so “very cute” anymore.

It’s exciting, as a woman, to think about how I grew up with a dinner placemat of all the U.S. presidents’ portraits and names, and now another little girl could be doing the same thing—except it’s not just a list of old white guys with the same exact haircut anymore.

It’s exciting, as a woman, for someone as powerful, well-known, and influential as Hillary Clinton, to be featured on Humans of New York and pointing out how unglamorous, occasionally miserable, and almost always unfair it is for women to constantly be battling It.

I am excited, as a woman and regardless of my political beliefs, that Hillary Clinton is up there and doing this for us.

We, as women, can’t beat It. If we speak up, we’re loud and annoying; if we keep quiet, we’re mousey and unhelpful. If we ooze feeling and emotion, we’re unstable and insane; if we stuff it all down and are ruthless in our ambition, well, we’re a bitch.

We, as women, are constantly cornered into toning ourselves down.

And, again, I don’t care what your political ideals are. Personally, as a woman who has, on countless occasions, been dismissed as “shrill,” I’m relieved and excited to see Clinton push the public’s discussion in the right direction. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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