No matter what she does, Hillary Clinton is one of the most controversial figures in American discourse. Even those who agree with her policies in principle find plenty to dislike about her personally, accusing her of being "cold" or "unfeeling" or even "inhuman." In her first appearance on mega-popular Facebook page Humans of New York (actually her second, if you count the comments she made about last year's viral post featuring a gay teen), she speaks out on this perception and how she's battled it for decades.
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"I was taking a law school admissions test in a big classroom at Harvard. My friend and I were some of the only women in the room. I was feeling nervous. I was a senior in college. I wasn’t sure how well I’d do. And while we’re waiting for the exam to start, a group of men began to yell things like: ‘You don’t need to be here.’ And ‘There’s plenty else you can do.’ It turned into a real ‘pile on.’ One of them even said: ‘If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I'll die.’ And they weren’t kidding around. It was intense. It got very personal. But I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t afford to get distracted because I didn’t want to mess up the test. So I just kept looking down, hoping that the proctor would walk in the room. I know that I can be perceived as aloof or cold or unemotional. But I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions. And that’s a hard path to walk. Because you need to protect yourself, you need to keep steady, but at the same time you don’t want to seem ‘walled off.’ And sometimes I think I come across more in the ‘walled off’ arena. And if I create that perception, then I take responsibility. I don’t view myself as cold or unemotional. And neither do my friends. And neither does my family. But if that sometimes is the perception I create, then I can’t blame people for thinking that."
To summarize: Clinton relates an anecdote about how she had to learn to control her emotions at an early age in order to protect herself, largely from the sexism she experienced in the late 60s, but which still to a degree persists today. At the same time, though, she had to learn not to appear "walled off" emotionally. She concludes by saying that she takes responsibility for sometimes appearing "walled off," but doesn't believe that descriptor applies to herself.
It's a delicate path for women, especially women in positions of power, to take: women must appear confident, but not too confident, smart, but not too smart, emotional, but not too emotional. Regardless of what you think of Clinton as a politician or even as a profiteering, maniacal conspiracy machine, you have to admit it's tough to be in her position.
What do you think? Did this post humanize Clinton in your eyes, or do you still think she's a lizard person? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter!