Let's be honest, this thought has crossed all of our minds at least once during this election. Can we truly trust a woman to run this country?
We are expected by society to raise newborn babies, but not trusted to pick a Supreme Court Justice. We are expected to clean the house, cook the meals, and run day-to day household tasks, but we can't make decisions about the Federal Deficit.
Where and when would it ever be ok for a woman to change out of her sexy Loubatin shoes and into Cole Haan work wedges?
If some people had their way, the answer would be "never".
I'm an Attorney by profession, ironically an employment discrimination Attorney at one time. In my career I have been told to "smile more", "laugh less", "not get pregnant", and my personal favorite, "show more cleavage".
When I was a fresh, young law graduate, I used to cry about these comments. Now, I shrug them off as the norm.
The norm of every morning waking up and very thoughtfully picking out my clothes. I want to look feminine to make my male colleagues feel at ease, but not too provocative to lose the respect of other females. I don't talk about my children with other Attorneys, so that they know that I am a serious professional woman, and not just a mom. I speak in a brusque voice to Clients to let them know I mean business, and they can trust me as much as any male attorney.
Watching Hillary Clinton accept the nomination at the Democratic National Convention, I wondered, can she really be President? How many hours did people discuss her outfit to make sure she looked serious, but not mean? How many discussions must they have had about her tone of voice, how much she smiled, and whether her haircut made her look manly. I can just imagine the number of hours that this Presidential Candidate had to spend on her appearance to make us accept her as a potential Leader. (And yes, men have to do this as well, but lets be honest, is it truly the same critique as women face?)
Forget the fact that she was a first wife, a senator, the Secretary of State. To a lot of people, Hillary is first and foremost, a woman. A woman who still has to prove her capabilities.
So how many hours, people, and money did it take to make Hillary appear to be an acceptable Presidential Candidate? I don't know, but in my opinion, too many. If we put our traditional notions aside, think about the time and money that could be used to push bigger ideas forward.
- Time discussing the color of Hillary's business suit could have been spent on how to get better health insurance for kids with disabilities.
- Time discussing whether Hillary looks too intimidating for a woman could have been used to discuss Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Teachers who are paid too little.
- Money spent on image consultants could support Senior Citizens who are homeless and fund Social Security Retirement.
But we spend the time and the money because we have to. The Hillary Campaign, as well as all of us women, know that to survive and win in this world we have to play this game.
However, I could not help but imagine, that if we did not have to participate in these traditional notions of what a woman should be, and just got to focus on what we needed to [our jobs], how much MORE we could accomplish.
So can a woman really be President?
YES. And if we let her just focus on being President and less on fighting your gender stereotypes, then I believe she will be a great one.
"When there are no ceilings, sky's the limit." Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic National Convention, 2016