In an interview with the New York Times on Saturday, the defeated presidential candidate spoke frankly about misogyny
While promoting her newly released memoir, Hillary Clinton has placed blame on several factors for her loss to Donald Trump last November – from her own mistakes, to Russian interference in the US election, and the late intervention by then-FBI director James Comey.
But Clinton has also spoken candidly about how deep-rooted sexism played a hand in her defeat, and about the double standards she faced as the first woman nominated by a major party for president in America’s 240-year history.
In an interview with the New York Times published Saturday, Clinton spoke further about how misogyny is used as a tool to hold women back.
“This has to be called out for what it is: a cultural, political, economic game that’s being played to keep women in their place,” Clinton said.
“The idea that women have to fit certain stereotypes; that’s a weight around the ankle of every ambitious woman I’ve ever met,” she added. “We get constant messaging our whole lives: You’re not thin enough, talented enough, smart enough. Your voice isn’t what we want to hear.”
Gender is a dominant theme in Clinton’s book, What Happened, a 469-page autopsy of her campaign that takes readers behind-the-scenes through pivotal moments throughout the race. Although she achieved many firsts, from being the first woman elected to the US Senate from New York to her nomination for president, Clinton confesses in several chapters to struggling with how to tell her story.
“It’s difficult for me to see my story as one of revolution,” Clinton told the Times. “But I was part of the women’s movement that led to a revolution not just in laws, but in attitudes and doors that had been closed to young women opening.”
“I’m also conscious of the continuing double standard,” she added. “I have to be better than everyone; I have to work harder.”
“There’s no margin for me when others have so much leeway. It’s a pressure cooker all the time.”
Clinton said much of her motivation to write the book stemmed from wishing to spell out the consequences of failing to address the gender gap that is ingrained in every level of society.
“It will happen again if we don’t take action against it – shoehorning every woman into a little slot and saying: ‘This is where you belong,’” Clinton said.
“Girls as young as six say boys are smarter than they are. They haven’t even gotten to school yet, but their cultural antennas are already up.”
Although Clinton embraced the historic nature of her candidacy in her 2016 campaign, standing in contrast to her first run for the presidency in 2008, she was largely reticent as to discuss whether she felt as though she was treated differently as a woman until after the election.
In her book, Clinton writes with far more candor, stating: “Both sexism and misogyny are endemic in America.”
“If you need convincing, just look at the YouTube comments or Twitter replies when a woman dares to voice a political opinion or even just share an anecdote from her own lived experience,” she writes. “People hiding in the shadows step forward just far enough to rip her apart.”
She describes the experience as both “excruciating” and “humiliating”.
“The moment a woman steps forward and says, ‘I’m running for office’, it begins,” she writes. “The analysis of her face, her body, her voice, her demeanor; the diminishment of her stature, her ideas, her accomplishments, her integrity.
“It can be unbelievably cruel.”Read more at theguardian.com