If you’re unfamiliar, Humans of New York is an insanely popular photography blog and book by Brandon Stanton documenting different New Yorkers and telling a snippet of their life stories. What initially started as a photography project aiming for around 10k portraits has blown up into a cultural phenomenon.
This Thursday Stanton added a particularly notable New Yorker to his list of portraits.
And that, is former Secretary of State, Senator of New York, and current Democratic Nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.
Last night during the NBC prime-time forum, chairman of the RNC Reince Priebus sent out this unsurprisingly misogynistic tweet about Clinton.
@HillaryClinton was angry + defensive the entire time – no smile and uncomfortable – upset that she was caught wrongly sending our secrets.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) September 8, 2016
It’s just one stupid comment to add to the continuation of the incredibly patronizing, condescending, and overall ridiculous statements that surround Secretary Clinton’s personality.
…Because someone’s personality and how much they smile is what should CLEARLY come under a microscope when talking about things like education, national security, and terrorist attacks.
This morning’s moment with HONY sheds some light on the “cold” comments, the “aloof” comments, and the never-ending criticism that Clinton is fed over being viewed as “walled off” and, apparently, not smiling enough.
This glimpse at what life has been like as a woman in a world primarily dominated by men, what it’s like to be constantly subjected to public scrutiny from everything from her pantsuits to her desire to bake cookies, is not only incredibly moving, but undeniably relatable to every woman ever.
“I was taking a law school admissions test in a big classroom at Harvard. 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: ‘You don’t need to be here.’ And ‘There’s plenty else you can do.’ 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. But I had to learn as a young woman to control my 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.”
Woman everywhere have sounded off on the post (which at time of publication had over 65k shares and 10k comments) due to its vulnerability, and the chilling relatability about what it’s like to be a woman.
If you’ve ever been called a “bitch” for not smiling to a man on the street, you can relate to this. If you’ve ever been called “intimidating” for speaking up at work, you can relate to this. If you’ve ever been asked, “You okay?” because you weren’t smiling, you can relate to this. If anyone has ever commented on how you seemed off because you didn’t include an exclamation point in an email, you can relate to this. If you’ve ever heard mutterings of your personality in any way that didn’t deal with polka dots and sweethearts, you can relate to this.
Because as women, we’re damned if we do and apparently damned if we don’t. If we remain stoic we’re “cold” and “unapproachable.” But if we show emotions we’re “weak”, “soft”, and “unpredictable with difficult decisions.”
And I, as a woman, am over it.
Actually, that’s just what taking the office of President seriously looks like. https://t.co/Pyn92mesom
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 8, 2016
Maybe moving forward, we’ll stop worrying about a woman’s facial expressions, and start worrying about her intellect.
Maybe instead of worrying about whether or not Secretary Clinton’s smiling, we should worry about what she can do for our country.