30 [more] ways to look at Hillary Clinton

A new essay collection examines what Hillary Clinton reveals ... about ourselves?

By Catherine Price
January 15, 2008 9:50PM (UTC)
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I promised myself I wouldn't do it. I didn't want to write about Hillary Clinton. I still don't want to write about Hillary Clinton. And yet other people keep writing about Hillary Clinton. So here is what I will do: Point you in the direction of an article from the New York Times about a book called, appropriately enough, "Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary," a compilation of essays by -- you guessed it -- women writers.

Not to invite meta-criticism or anything ("Broadsheet commenting on women commenting on women? Talk about hypocritical!") but really: Do we need any more "female perspectives" on Clinton? How about just regular old political analyses? It's not like Obama is getting entire self-referential essay compilations edited by Cornel West. Enough already!


Part of my prejudice comes from the description of the book in the Times. According to the review, it isn't so much about her policy or politics or her voting record or, as the reviewer puts it, her managerial style -- but "vague feelings about Hillary's karma, her self-presentation or her femininity." I'm assuming that if Hillary had cried by the time this book went to print, her tears would have earned their own chapter.

I should clarify that I do think it's important for Broadsheet to cover Hillary Clinton -- not to discuss her femininity per se, but to address the ways in which her gender affects the way she's thought of, written about and judged. I don't think it's helpful, though, to pull together a compilation of essays that asks questions like, "Is Hillary a dog or a cat person?" or that contains a meditation on her fondness for Boca Burgers. Sure, it makes for a nice Andy Warhol-esque cover -- and provides a unifying theme for what sound like some pretty solipsistic essays -- but unfortunately, it further proves the point that when it comes to not letting gender affect our evaluation of a potential political leader, we've still got a long way to go.

Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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