Hillary: Beacon or Beast for feminism

I have a friend who, when asked previously about Hillary would say ‘what a shame she might be our first female president.’ I, in my Irish and youngish ignorance would ask why?, and in her obstinance she would return a glare , and simply utter ‘Bill.’

This friend is one of my most intelligent and insightful, but when it comes to politics, perhaps too slimly minded – a republican, I might add. Yet while she may have defended his economic policies as sound in the beginning – she is now very firmly in camp Hillary. And why? Because the prospect of Donald Trump scares the living daylight out of her, and pretty much every woman playing with the full deck/ with common sense.

But to come back to her aforementioned statement – Bill – ie. to qualify a woman’s capabilities in terms of her husband’s downfalls. Is this a harsh judgement, or a harsh reality? As a society, do we place too much significance on what has been done to women, rather than what they’re actually doingIf we continually place the female as a subject that is is always the consequence of an action, can she ever become actionable? This constant placing of the female as the victim, the underestimation of the woman, is how I arrived at the formidable question – is Hillary the smartest person on the planet, or the biggest fool?

During the second debate, she stated that she watched her husband turn $300 billion deficit to a $200 billion surplus –  to command a positive depiction of her husband when his image was flailing post-Trump attack. What she didn’t mention, however, was what transpired while he was doing all this public good – the private bad. She defended a man publicly, who had humiliated and betrayed her privately, and has never apologised or negated that decision. She stayed in the most public of places, with the world’s foremost leader — the most important person in the world arguably — but why?

I would argue here that there are strong and there are weak women. What defines strength is as subjective as what defines weakness, but staying with Bill at the time, was considered weak – by her peers, her friends, the general public. Her husband had embarrassed her in front of the world – had let her deny the affairs, had allowed her publicly humiliate herself, as well as being publicly humiliated by her other half. And she accepted his apology (or whatever he said) – she let him back in, and feminists squealed the world over for another helpless fool, another ignorant woman not strong enough to leave after being battered by the press, bruised by the politicians, and hurt by the man she married.

Diane Blair, a close friend of Hillary’s at the time of the scandal wrote in her personal notes “she thinks she was not smart enough, not sensitive enough, not free enough of her own concerns and struggles to realize the price he was paying.” She shouldered the blame, allowed the onus be placed partially on her for the problem – was that weak? Was she weak, when she stood, making light of the scandal during her acceptance of the role of the Secretary of State? Was it weak of her to move, in January 2007 to challenge Barack O’Bama for the presidency, after all of this humiliation? And was it foolish, when she decided to come back, to do it all over again this year; to allow the past be dredged up in the pre-election battleground; to stay the course even after ‘emailgate’, when other weaker candidates would have bowed out?

Can we still call this woman weak, or foolish when she now stands on the precipice of attaining the highest office in the U.S, arguably, in the entire world?

Or, is she not the strongest, smartest woman in modern history?

When introducing Hillary at the DNC, Meryl Streep said of female ‘firsts’ that they require “grit and grace”. What she didn’t say, and what I will so crudely explicate, is that what they especially do need, is a bigger pair of balls than ANY man that has ever gone before them.

Hillary Clinton has balls. She hasn’t allowed any of the scandals that have racked her life, and plagued her political career to stop her gaining the White House as commander in chief, rather than the woman beside him. What if she stayed with Bill, because she knew she could build on her political capital or ‘approval rate’ to vow for his job in the future? What if she stayed with him, because yes, she did love him and they had a child together? The fact is, it’s irrelevant as to why, the entire scandal is almost negligible now given the state of her opponents raucous private life. The more important issue is how.

How do you stay, after the publicity, the shame, the torment, the lawsuits? You stay because you’re smart. What use is leaving, when the entire world is watching, she may have decided in her mind to put it off for a while – a political marriage. But then, she was in the throws of a new job, new opportunities. And then, well, she became Secretary of State, and there was the White House again, in sniffing distance.

Why not?

This woman took the plague, allowed it to sharpen her, to inform her decisions, and turned the plague into a superdrug that would get her the Oval.

She is a genius.

Come November 8th, she will have the ability to change the perception of  women throughout the entire world, and I don’t doubt her ability to do so, with grit and with grace. We’ve spent far too many hundreds of years in the shadow of our male counterparts – brothers, fathers, husbands. It’s about damned time. 


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