The secretary of state doesn't care what you think of her outfit -- and that's fantastic
“Would you ever ask a man that question?” Hillary Clinton gave that reply two years ago, when an interviewer in Kyrgyzstan innocently asked the secretary of state, “Which designers do you prefer?” But when the Boston Review posted the exchange on its site Wednesday, it became a viral sensation — and just the newest example of how much kicking butt and taking names Ms. Clinton is doing lately.
For 20 years now, Clinton has been one of the most divisive figures in American politics – reviled and adored, mocked and idolized. That hasn’t changed. But what has changed is the woman herself. Because now Clinton, much like the Honey Badger, just doesn’t give a crap.
That terse exchange over her wardrobe caught fire this week because it exemplifies everything that endears Clinton to her supporters – and everything that exasperates so many of us about the current state of womanhood. You can be the secretary of state, even a former presidential contender, and it still comes down to how you look. And what’s fabulous about Hillary is that Hillary isn’t having it.
It’s not that she can’t be frivolous. In fact, lately Hillary Clinton seems to be having a ball. She’s knocking back a beer straight from the bottle in Colombia; she’s dropping it like it’s hot in South Africa; she’s submitting her own entries to Texts From Hillary. You only wish you were having as much fun as Hillary Clinton is right now.
What makes Clinton’s sassy new persona so interesting is how very different — yet equally graceful – it is from Michelle Obama’s. They are two of the most powerful women in the world, but the public is often more obsessed with how much makeup they have on and what they’re wearing than their many achievements. Clinton and Obama have dealt with this in different ways.
Obama rolls with it, posing for the cover of Vogue and saying, “I’m not going to pretend that I don’t care about [fashion]. But I also have to be very practical. In the end, someone will always not like what you wear — people just have different tastes.” She’s a woman who’s graced the covers of More and Glamour, who’s been in People in a hot-pink sleeveless lace dress. Just this week, she was joking around with Jay Leno in a sheer yellow frock. And if you want to talk about what the first lady is wearing, about her fabulous arms, well, the first lady is cool with that.
Of course, it helps that Michelle Obama – criticized and scrutinized though she may be – is generally accepted as a style icon. She doesn’t get much guff for her looks. That’s unlike Hillary, who’s been hearing no end of it since the headband days of the 1992 campaign.
Now, at age 64, Clinton continues to get heat for being, gasp, a 64-year-old political leader instead of Megan Fox. In May, after she’d dared to allegedly appear without makeup (and by the way, she was obviously wearing lipstick and she was only busy promoting democracy in Bangladesh, but whatever), Fox News couldn’t wait to call her “tired and withdrawn” looking. And in June, author Ed Klein took to the airwaves to dismiss Clinton’s chances of running for the White House in 2016 by saying, “She’ll be 69 years old. And as you know — and I don’t want to sound anti-feminist here — but she’s not looking good these days. She’s looking overweight, and she’s looking very tired.” Because you can’t run a country if you’re not under 35 and skinny. Also, if you have a vagina.
What’s righteous about Clinton is how thoroughly emancipated from all the BS she seems to be lately. Hillary is too busy laughing it up with Angela Merkel about their shared love of pantsuits to care what Matt Drudge has to say about her face. (One gets the sense that Angela Merkel isn’t exactly losing sleep over whether or not you want to bone her, either.) And there is something really, really fantastic about a first lady, United States senator, and secretary of state who has just had it with your stupid questions about what she’s wearing, world. Last spring, she told CNN, “I feel so relieved to be at the stage I’m at in my life right now. Because, you know, if I want to wear my glasses, I’m wearing my glasses. If I want to wear my hair back, I’m pulling my hair back. You know, at some point it’s just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention.”
Priorities! Other than the size of her butt! What a radical idea. And it’s why, though she may or may not ever get to be president, Hillary Clinton totally rules.
More Related Stories
- My text blew up in my face
- Boy Scouts end ban on openly gay boys
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- Man arrested for sending Craigslist sex party to neighbor's house
- Greek yogurt, toxic waste hazard?
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Pope Francis: Atheists are all right!
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
- Is recreational pot use safe?
- How I ended up in a pyramid scheme
- My bipolar partner beat me
- Teenagers care more about online privacy than you think
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
- Kicked out of the mall -- for an anti-cancer hat
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11