If you’ve ever read a celebrity profile in Vogue—and I congratulate you if you haven’t—you know the basic formula: hushed, glowing, and unintentionally hilarious. The first paragraph usually goes something like this:
I meet Ursula Andresskina at the Ivy, storied hangout of the stars. She’s just where her publicist said she’d be. She offers an impossibly dainty hand; her knowing chuckle makes me feel like I’m at home, wrapped in a warm blanket, or in Croatia, splashing against the boat of a Russian oligarch who likes to swim naked with lit cigars. “Oh, Hollywood,” she sighs. “No, no, that’s not me.” She’s wearing that famous white bathing suit of hers, but effortlessly. She clearly does not care how she looks—which is stunning and makeup-free, like just she rolled out of bed, on a farm somewhere, with $895 high heels on, available at Bergdorf Goodman; her flawless skin glows like the morning sun over the Michelin-starred yurt where I once stayed in Cappadocia. Later, as Ursula painstakingly eats a single leaf of kale—she usually eats cheese fries wrapped in bacon wrapped in another layer of cheese, she tells me, and I can tell this is true, because of our instant connection—and I marvel at her perfect, shiny teeth, so precise, lined up like military gravestones, but without the fog of war.
So it was rather stunning to see the various slips in Jonathan van Meter’s profile of Hillary Clinton—“Will Hillary Clinton Make History?”—in the latest issue of Vogue. The article opens at a crazed town hall in New Hampshire, with Hillary going through her standard stump speech. She’s wearing “brown slacks” and a “grey sweater,” which, as Vogue mysteriously fails to point out, wouldn’t match at all.
At first, van Meter gives his potential glowing profile the old college try: “She was connecting,” he writes, describing Hillary’s Q&A with the audience. “You could feel it.” But then, just one paragraph down, we come to a glorious, revealing moment. It makes me laugh every time I read it:
When she finally headed backstage, she passed me in a hallway and said in a cartoon-happy voice, ‘Well, hello, JONATHAN. Isn’t this FUN?’ I think she was being sarcastic about the drudgery of the modern American presidential season . . . but maybe not! Maybe she was actually having fun.
I mean, come on, man: We all know Hillary Clinton was not having fun. Hillary Clinton is a power-hungry political shell with disastrous taste in clothes. She is under FBI investigation for a series of potential national intelligence breaches. Her performance as secretary of State was ho-hum at best, disastrous at worst; she is not, contrary to the words of her longtime frenemy Barack Obama, “likeable enough.”
Women Aren’t the Problem, Hillary—It’s You
Later in the article, longtime Hillary wing-woman Huma Abedin, explaining the magic of her candidate, helpfully points out that Hillary “is, in fact, a real person.” Electrifying! How could she possibly fail?
Hillary could possibly fail, Vogue goes on to suggest, because she is…wait for it…a woman. “If New York City still isn’t ready for its first female mayor,” van Meter asks, “is the United States ready for its first female president? Why is this still such a hurdle for women in our country?” Here’s Hillary:
‘You know,’ she says with a sigh, ‘I really don’t know. I think it’s gotten better. But I think there still is a very deep set of concerns that people have, which very often they’re not even aware of or they couldn’t articulate. There’s nothing overt about it in most instances. People are very convinced they want to vote for the right person. And then . . . you know, you get little hints that maybe they’re not as comfortable with a woman being in an executive position.’
Ah, that insidious, subconscious “executive position” sexism strikes again. Someone might want to inform the late Margaret Thatcher—who somehow conquered that beast in 1979—Angela Merkel, Janet Yellen, or the 37 women who have served as governors in the United States. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Hillary Clinton’s problem is not that she’s a woman. Hillary Clinton’s problem is that she’s, well, Hillary Clinton.
Personally, I’d be fine with a woman president, and I think most Americans would be as well. If there’s a fantastic woman candidate in the next election, hooray!
But let’s keep it real: I also don’t care if there is ever a woman president. We could have male presidents for the rest of my lifetime, one after the other, and I wouldn’t be bothered, as long as they were good presidents. After all, as the painful process of the last few months have shown, it’s hard enough to find a decent presidential candidate at all, regardless of gender. Also, it seems kind of sexist to judge people based on their sex, but what do I know?
Feminists Close Ranks Against…Women
This blows the minds of many feminists, both old-guard and new, who are so worked up about being gender blind they’ve become completely gender obsessed. There’s Madeline Albright, who condemned women to a “special place in hell” for not supporting Hillary—Albright also appears in Vogue’s Hillary profile, helpfully noting that “women are very judgmental about one another,” which makes me suspect she might not like women at all—and Gloria Steinem, who accused female Bernie Sanders supporters of being in it for the “boys.”
Albright and Steinem have since walked back their remarks, but Bernie Sanders— God bless Bernie Sanders, who continues to throw repeated monkey wrenches into the wobbly spokes of intersectional social justice activism—has been more than happy to feed the outrage machine. Recently he hosted a rapper, Killer Mike, who infuriated feminists by correctly pointing out that a uterus doesn’t qualify you to be president. Standing up for Killer Mike, Sanders went even further: “No one has ever heard me say, ‘Hey guys, let’s stand together, vote for a man.”
This seems like common sense to me, but ooh, boy, did it make people mad. Across the leftist Internet, swarms of bees dive-bombed proverbial uptight bonnets; NARAL issued a huffy press statement, as is their wont; various heads exploded. Bernie’s remark came “perilously close,” MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted, righteous and disapproving, “to ‘how come there’s no white history month’ territory.”
This is all fairly silly, as most knee-jerk social-justice activism tends to be. Sadly, it’s also just one part of an endless, exhausting, self-perpetuating cycle. Over at the Washington Post, Alyssa Rosenberg reminded the world of just that: Even when we do manage to get a female president, she wrote, that female president—the commander in chief of the most powerful military on earth—will still be terribly oppressed. A female president, she argued, would “provoke a nasty wave of sexist response. As much as I will be proud to see a woman serve as president, I’ve also come to dread that time and the ugliness that will inevitably accompany it.”
Once you’ve embraced victimhood, apparently, it’s the gift that keeps on taking, even when you have your finger on the nuclear codes. Life is too short to think this way, friends. Also, trust me on this much: It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s way more empowering here on the other side.