Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hillary’s Sixties Surge

It’s taken a career in the spotlight, but Hillary Clinton finally seems to be comfortable with her age and her gender.

June 14, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton has always consciously chosen her identities. She’s been a good wife in pink, defending her First Family’s “zone of privacy.” She’s been a grudging bureaucrat in grey, holding off the press with legalese over her tech travails. She’s been a prolific public speaker, earning a pretty penny from everyone from Goldman Sachs to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

“I find that my life consists of different, sometimes paradoxical parts,” she wrote in 1995, and it’s always been true. Even as far back as her college years at Wellesley, she wrote to her high school pen pal, who showed me the letters, “Since Xmas vacation, I’ve gone through three and a half metamorphoses. … So far, I’ve used alienated academic, involved pseudo-hippie, educational and social reformer and one-half of withdrawn simplicity.”

But now, at 67, Clinton finally appears to be beyond carefully constructing her identities or letting her advisers to design the persona she presents. And it’s going to help her win what she wants most.

In 2008, Clinton allowed her husband and her chief strategist, Mark Penn, to run her as an alpha male commander-in-chief. From the start of the presidential campaign, she came across as brittle and overbearing. No wonder voters sensed an authenticity problem. This time, though, Clinton is not running as a made-over man. She is in a new stage of life, having become the kickass grandma with a cackle and a fierce new brand of feminism. Sure, as an older woman she is vulnerable to, well, age—but she’s also more genuinely nurturing than ever, and personally committed to protecting the young from erosion of the American dream. She’s gentler; she’s bolder. The hell with losing weight. Let her new image consultant worry about her hair, which is shorter, blonder, simpler. “When you’re in the spotlight as a woman,” she told Diane Sawyer last year, “you get a little worried about, ‘Okay, you know, people over on this side are loving what I’m wearing, looking like, saying. And people over on this side aren’t.’ … I’m done with that. I mean, I’m just done.”

(More here.)


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