This post is a review of the above book, but it’s also the first of others that I will be writing about Hillary Clinton and the upcoming presidential election. The editor of Love Her, Love Her Not, Joanne Cronrath Bamberger, graciously sent me a copy of her book. My summary opinion: this book is an interesting collection of 28 short and extremely readable essays, all written by women who have taken an aspect of Hillary’s life or an individual personal view of Hillary’s accomplishments and/or foibles and run with it.
Love Her, Love Her Not will probably not change anyone’s vote. But it does zero in on an historical moment in American politics and history: we might be about to elect the first female president, now, in 2016. That’s awesome in itself. Bamberger writes in her introduction something that many people feel: Our country has a very complicated relationship with Hillary Clinton.
MEDIA SKEWS and SCREWS THE TRUTH
I think it’s more accurate to say that THE MEDIA has a complicated relationship with HRC and that we who are reading and viewing get sucked into it. For every candidate. Because politics is dismal these days–full of anger and in some cases hatred. On both sides, with both genders and affecting every citizen with every kind of background.
That’s why I enjoyed Bamberger’s collection–the writing is thoughtful, not hostile. It is honest and covers many aspects of Secretary Clinton’s persona. It feels fair to me and that’s what is missing in a lot of media coverage these days. FAIRNESS. HONESTY. If someone were to thrust me into the spotlight, I’m sure they’d find something wrong with me too. My hair, my clothes, my penchant for enjoying reading rather than sports. WHATEVER. So when reading about Hillary Clinton–ask yourself how you would measure up. That’s exactly what these thoughtful women writers did. BRAVO!!
THE FEMALE AGE QUESTION
Columnist Froma Harrop focuses on age discrimination and how it affects females in her essay Hillary’s Age as Shorthand Sexism. It’s an eye-opener to any woman who dwelling in a similar decade feels the power of the future and that life after child-bearing age is a time to grow, not shrink away. But obviously there are pundits out there who are going to USE it against Hillary. Harrop refutes the writing of Charlie Cook saying: Cook clearly had fallen into the cultural prejudice that perceives middle-aged women as over-the-hill while their male contemporaries remain vibrant, powerful and sexy. Like Harrop, the women and many of the men I know wouldn’t buy Cook’s garbage,
WHY DOES SHE STAY WITH HIM?
Oh get over it! The essay, Bill Clinton as Metaphor for America and Why Hillary Is Uniquely Qualified for President was a favorite. Written by Rebekah Kuschmider–she gets it. What person living today, man or woman, hasn’t been “betrayed” by someone or by some situation. And consider this, as Kuschmider writes, Bill Clinton was “the American Icarus sailing so very high and falling in a heap.” But afterwards, he got it–he set up an office in Harlem and paid back many times over. Kuschmider writes: Hillary wrote in LIVING HISTORY that Bill was a force of nature and that she resisted his marriage proposals for a long time because she didn’t know if she could weather his storms.
Bill Clinton’s “affair” was ignorant and foolish. His selfish actions brought sorrow into their marriage. But how Hillary handled it–that was her business, no one else’s. As Kucschmider writes, Hillary has experienced sorrow in her life: turned down by NASA because she was a female; unable to get national healthcare up and running; the loser in the 2008 election. This is a woman who knows how to pick herself up and get on with it. And here is why. Kucschmider writes: Hillary loves Bill, yes. … But Hillary loves America more, the real America, good and bad, weak and strong, right and wrong. That love, that loyalty, that ability to see the real America–the raw, striving grasping with hope America–is Hillary’s strength, a nearly wifely attitude of loyalty–in richer and poorer, sickness and health, weakness and strength. A steadfast determination to stay…the way she’s always stayed and made it work with Bill.
Considering that if Hillary becomes president the media will still obsess over her clothing, two essays in the collection brilliantly address this. In Worshipping the Semiotic Brilliance of Hillary’s Pantsuits Deb Rox writes: …she forced the debate to the singularity of “what color pantsuit is she wearing today?” In doing so, Hillary degendered the playing field, making her appearance effectively recede to a question almost as innocuous as “what color is his tie today?”
And in No More Glass Slippers, Kim Cottrell explains the history of female shoes and how they hobble movement and become a metaphor for the female inability to keep up with the opposite sex. But Hillary has conquered that for Cottrell: So here’s my idea, Hillary friends. Let’s lace up our own shoes–you know the kind–tie back our hair, and celebrate the badass lines on our faces, the way our countrymen have been doing since forever, and get to work…we will do so (retain our superpower status) when we unhobble women and unshackle men and let them go to work together creating a shared vision of the future–wrinkles, flaws and all.