This year marks the 20-year anniversary of Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Fourth World Conference on Women titled, “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights.” It was 1995 when then-First Lady Clinton went to Beijing and while on Chinese soil challenged the world to see women’s issues as not separate from the rest of humanity.
“The progress of the last 20 years was not an accident,” said Clinton at the U.N. this week. Did you miss it? Probably. The press was singularly focused on Clinton’s emails and her server. According to the assembled circus, Clinton was only at the U.N. to give a press conference and “break her silence” about her Blackberry during her tenure as Secretary of State. A speech about the advancement of women and girls? Ironically, overshadowed by the odd double standard that applies only to Hillary (see: Colin Powell’s emails).
“Despite all the obstacles, there’s never been a better time to be born female,” said Clinton. But cautioned, “We’re not there yet.”
Of course she’s right. Thanks to people like Hillary Clinton, women around the world have seen their prospects improve dramatically in areas such as equal rights, reproductive rights, property rights and other personal freedoms. Currently there are 22 female heads of state in office. Since the mid-20th century 81 countries have had at some point a female head of state. But not the U.S.
And whether it’s Hillary or another woman in 2016—or someone else in four or eight years—we will have a female in the most powerful position in the world soon. We will have a person who as a little girl was both disappointed and challenged that we’ve never had a female president before.
And she, much like the first black president, will have to deal with weird and blindingly stupid things no white male president has ever had to deal with. And we, as Americans, who always admire and romanticize pioneers, will have plenty to cringe over.
President Obama’s detractors gasped the first time they saw a picture of his feet on his desk. It was a scandal! Every president since the advent of shoes has put his on the desk in the Oval Office. When the shoes were filled by a black man suddenly it was totally disrespectful!
Every president goes on vacation. When Obama does it—he’s lazy! It’s a thing menacing “others” do—go away with their family and not work for weeks at a time!
A third of Louisianans blame Obama for the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when the man was a state senator in Illinois.
It’s important to remember before Obama, the way you denigrated a white president was by calling him black. And not the honorary Bill Clinton-is-black either. Like really black.
Lincoln’s adversaries called him “Abraham Africanus the First.” His detractors said he was half black. Which was insulting to a president until we got an actual half black president.
Now what do they say about Obama? He’s either an angry black man or a pansy in mom jeans.
And that’ll be offensive to a president until we get a president who’s an actual mom in jeans.
Our first woman president, that person who believed as a little girl her country could be better for all women everywhere, will at some point in her presidency be called an ugly, unattractive, nut-cracking, ball-busting, bunny boiling, castrating, emotional, crazy, weeping, bewildered, menopausal, menstruating, angry, excitable, hysteric hag.
Someone (perhaps also a woman herself) will write that she’s a bad mother, battle-axe, unladylike, granny, haughty, domineering, pantsuit-wearing, frumpy, chunky, skanky, PMS-ing, street-walking, fat, mean girl, she-devil, girlie, ice queen, hooker, hussy, baby-mama, diapering, baby-sitting, bratty, catty banshee, dog.
A shrill, superficial, petty, silly, childish, wrinkled cow, overly-Botoxed, barren, turkey-necked crone, too thin, too fat, too curvy, a saggy-boobed, MILF, GILF, coquette, cankled, Spanx-wearing, face-lifted, vain, narcissistic, ambitious, wench, man-hating, muff-diving, lesbian, butch dyke, manly, bossy, shemale, sexless, trampy, slut, drag queen, tranny.
A bustling, fussy, blue-haired, biddy, erection killing, baby killing, schoolmarm, nurse maid, Nurse Ratched, Golden Girl, femanazi, dominatrix, cougar, bimbo, broad, Barbie, butter face, floozy, dingbat, ditz, nag, bitch, diva, whore, tart with bad hair! And surely at least one with the acronym taken from Citizens United Not Timid (and no that’s not the Supreme Court case).
So brace yourself. It’s coming.
Photo credit: New Bedford Whaling Museum