I heard an old-style phrase recently in a one-on-one meeting. We had looked at a company website where almost every face of leadership was a man. My colleague commented, “Not for anything, but they need a few more skirts.” Of course, I knew what he meant. “And that’s not all,” I commented, as it was quite clear, with one exception, all of the faces were white. The company needed diversity desperately and not token diversity.
One could say the same of the panels of candidates in both the Republican and Democratic debates. But for the first time in US Presidential Election history, we are seeing at least one woman prominently on each stage (at least a year away from the election). But, with Hillary Clinton’s passion for pantsuits, we are not always seeing skirts! (As one who sees my dresses collect a lot of dust, I am right there with Secretary Clinton.)
As both Carly Fiorina and Clinton take the stages, is America finally taking a woman presidential candidate seriously and seeing her on the same footing as the men (whether or not they are in flats or power stilettos)?
In Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox (SheWrites Press, Nov. 2015), edited by Joanne Bamberger, my co-authors and I explore the history, the timing, the resume, the assumptions and myths around Hillary Clinton from her roles as “A Yankee in a Southern Belle’s Court” to her predilection for pantsuits (a power suit?) to her standing as a barrier breaker and role model for post-baby boomers, to her role as “everymother.” I explore how she has become a fixture in her (and my) adopted hometown of Chappaqua, NY, where she has stayed put for 15 years, dines publicly, gets her haircut and shows up for community events.
Forbes has named her the most powerful woman in America and the second most powerful woman in the world behind Germany’s Angela Merkel. And, via the Forbes guidelines on the power rankings, it’s Merkel’s economic clout that is missing from the Clinton equation, especially this year, as she is technically the most public of private citizens.
One reviewer said of Love Her, Love Her Not, there should be a book like this about every candidate–a place where many (in this case 28) ideas are distilled and presented in a way that completes a whole picture of a candidate. In Clinton’s case, she has been a galvanizing woman who has spent more than 25 years in public life, being revered, scandalized, impugned, honored, toasted and roasted. But will she finally stand on the balcony of The White House as the most powerful person in the world?
Video features on Love Her, Love Her Not, interviews with Helen Jonsen
- News 12 feature and interview
- Op Ed: LoHud.com: Why We See Hillary Clinton as a Paradox
- Chappaqua Library events video interview
Events: Love Her, Love Her Not