Hillary Clinton gets away with reinforcing gender stereotypes: Susan Shelley

There was always something odd, and slightly dated, about Hillary Clinton’s promoted reputation during her years as first lady. 

Women were not a novelty in the workforce in 1992, but you would have thought so to hear the fawning excitement over Mrs. Clinton’s career. She was said to be the most intelligent. The most accomplished. The most influential, qualified, powerful…. The list went on and on, as if some husbands apologize with publicists instead of diamonds.

In 2008, when Nancy Pelosi was the first female speaker of the House of Representatives in U.S. history, Hillary Clinton was not the first woman ever to run for president. But she seemed to get all the press for being the groundbreaking, ceiling-shattering feminist. Nancy Pelosi was treated by the media as the Ethel Mertz of the story, the perpetual second banana who delivers the set-up lines for the star comedienne.
Hillary Clinton gets away with reinforcing gender stereotypes: Susan Shelley
“Comedienne” is considered sexist today, so let me correct that to “comedian.” I don’t want to use a politically incorrect term that offends women, although I am a woman, and that should buy me some slack on these issues but it probably doesn’t.

The rules are so difficult to figure out.

For instance, Hillary Clinton was asked during the recent debate if it was time to change the role of the president’s spouse.

Mrs./Sen./Secretary Clinton answered generally, and then said, “With respect to my own husband, I am probably still going to pick the flowers and the china for state dinners and stuff like that.”

What in the name of Gloria Steinem was that about?

To get a sense of what an outrageous statement that is, imagine the response if a Republican man, or any man, had said he believes that as president, Hillary Clinton will probably choose the flowers and china for state dinners.

Great Betty Friedan, he’d have been strung up with the nearest microphone cord, right there on the spot, and his head would have been impaled on a tall can of hair spray as a warning to the others.

And what Hillary Clinton said next was even more startling. “I will certainly turn to him as prior presidents have,” she said, “for special missions, for advice, and in particular, how we’re going to get the economy working again for everybody, which he knows a little bit about.”

Mother of Bella Abzug! Did the woman who might become the first female president of the United States just say her husband knows more than she does about the economy and jobs? What on Gaia’s green earth was she thinking?

The answer is in the polling data. The Quinnipiac University poll just revealed publicly what a candidate polling privately would already have known: by 53 to 43, voters think Donald Trump “would do a better job handling the economy” than Hillary Clinton.

Some time ago, a conservative-leaning friend of mine, a woman, said she would vote for Hillary Clinton in a heartbeat. “Why?” I asked. “Because we’ll get Bill back to run the economy for eight years,” she told me.

How many voters think that? How many voters would vote for that?

Who knows, but with my own eyes, I saw the woman who once snarked that she wasn’t “some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette,” who once sneered at women who “stayed home and baked cookies and had teas,” announce to the country that as president of the United States, she’d handle the dishes and her husband would handle the money.

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