Hillary Clinton is now officially the first woman to be nominated on a major party ticket for President. Author Rebecca Traister writes about the Clinton campaign for New York Magazine and recently published a new book called “All the Single Ladies“ about how unmarried women are reshaping America’s political and economic future. Kai Ryssdal talked to Traister about changing gender roles and some of the unique challenges Hillary Clinton faces as a woman in this election.
On Clinton in a general election:
We have never seen Hillary Clinton in a general election campaign, we have only seen her in the case of 2008 with Barack Obama and in 2016 against Bernie Sanders, men who have good politics and who she can’t really hit too hard. As a general election candidate we are seeing her being able to fight a kind of right wing aggressor in the form of Donald Trump. Its’ interesting that she, who is often historically considered the centrist compromise candidate, she is going to be in the position to fighting what is interestingly a pretty left wing fight.
On charisma and leadership:
Yeah we have models of leadership and they often involve great men who have historically been our presidents giving great speeches. Women historically have been the ones doing what is often viewed as the drudge work of making these things happen organizing rallies and speeches, they haven’t been the ones giving the speeches.
There’s also the thing about intimacy and charisma, the other metric that we often use and that we often deride in terms of how we feel about our presidential candidates, the “do you want to have a beer with them factor?” One of the challenges that they [women] have in front of them is to not present themselves as too intimate being too personal, weak feminine and so they’ve had to assert themselves with credentials and experience and prove that they can do the job better. But that does not lend itself to you wanna have a beer with them. That does not lend itself to the relaxed approach to power that more men are permitted to take because we assume from the outset that they are capable.