I have continued to think about the role of women in politics and other positions of power.
What is it that continues to be so scary about assertive, intelligent, ambitious women?
Why does Hillary have to have a "tearful breakdown". And honestly - was that really a "tearful breakdown"? Has she not been criticized, again and again, for appearing to have no emotions?
When I was the director of the child care, I was frequently told by my (male) supervisor that I needed to be "warmer". More "nurturing". The women that I supervised found me a bit cold and intellectual. He even told me, at one point, that he was glad I was pregnant because it would "soften my image" with the teaching staff.
In the performance review after I had my daughter, he noted that my change in status had made me "more human" in the eyes of the staff.
At the same time, I was being told that I needed to keep a professional distance from the staff. I needed to be a leader - and leaders are assertive and decisive. They make the tough decisions and do not show any emotion about making those decisions. They lay off teachers and act as if it isn't any big deal. Business is business.
Women like that? Aggressive and bitchy. Cold. Condescending. Masculine. Too big for their britches.
Let's add in a few more things we've been called, shall we?
Of course. A woman who doesn't roll over as soon as any kind of confrontation with a man occurs is surely a dyke. What else could account for their inability to worship the innate superiority of the penis?
While this gem is generally used by other women to denigrate the renegade female, males have also been known to use this moniker. Any female in a position of power must have fucked SOMEBODY to get there, right?
This wide ranging descriptor holds lots of others within it's realm. Fat, ugly, funny looking, exotic - anything which falls out of the limits of conventional beauty can be lumped into this category. The irony is that if you appear TOO attractive than you must be a Slut/Whore - not attractive enough? Dyke.
A woman who seeks any kind of external power or responsibility can't be normal. I mean she is either an unfeeling bitch, or a crazy woman whose uterus is going to erupt into crazy crying hormones at the most inopportune times. Usually when she has to make an important decision or choice. Because as we all know Tears=Crazy. Tears=Mentally Unbalanced. Tears=Inability to think clearly.
As a woman, Hillary has had to deal with all of these contradictory messages IN ADDITION to her job performance. She has to face these spoken and unspoken judgments in a way that is absent from the assessment of the male candidates. If she is exhausted, it isn't because campaigning is grueling. It's because she is a woman and they are, after all, the weaker sex. Newt Gingrich's infamous quote about why women shouldn't go to war still stands: "If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for thirty days because they get infections and they don't have upper body strength".
If she is upset, it is because she is a woman - and you know how they can get. The ones who are not menopausal get all hormonal and irrational. The ones who are post menopausal - they can get all hormonal and irrational.
If she is President, won't she just ask her husband HIS opinion? After all, he would know more than she would, and we all know how easily wives are influenced by their husbands. We all do exactly what they say - everyone knows that.
I may not love Hillary's every position. I may take issue with some of her decisions and choices as a politician. However, I intimately know the razor's edge she walks. My hope, regardless of the outcome of this primary season, is that we find a way to start talking again about why women continue to be subjected to this insane double standard. As the generation of women who benefited from the wave of 1960's feminism, why are our daughters and their friends ashamed to be called feminists? Where did we get hijacked along the way? How do we communicate the ground still left to cover to these young women who we have falsely sold the idea that they can do anything?