She is us

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It happened about a month ago-I became a loyal, banner-waving Clinton supporter. I’m saying it loud and I am proud: Hill’s my grrl!

There have been many well-written, thoughtful endorsements by individuals and media. I’m writing about the “woman” angle: what many women have noticed about how Clinton is treated because she’s a woman; how she handles it; and how it makes us feel about her-and ourselves.

Opinion: She is us

I’ve noticed that once we say it out loud-that we’re supporting Clinton-we’re there all the way. This is, I think, a feminine characteristic: We are loyal.

As a member of the media, I noticed how poorly Clinton was treated by the media months ago. Many women have told me that they didn’t pay much attention until they decided to support her. These women are very disturbed by the way Clinton personally and her candidacy in particular have been treated by bloggers, journalists and media outlets.

We’re not just talking mainstream and conservative media here: Many left-leaning media, in their overwhelming (and uncritical) embrace of Barack Obama, don’t just champion him, they often savage Clinton and her candidacy. She is too strong and focused (for a female candidate). She is too emotional (just like a woman). She uses her femininity. She is “unfeminine.”

Feminist writer Robin Morgan spoke for many of us when she wrote, “She’s ‘ambitious’ but he shows ‘fire in the belly’ … when a sexist idiot screamed ‘Iron my shirt!’ at HRC, it was considered amusing; if a racist idiot shouted ‘Shine my shoes!’ at BO, it would’ve inspired hours of airtime and pages of newsprint analyzing our national dishonor.”

We women notice that in debates and forums, Clinton more often gets the tough questions. When the candidates stumble, her misstep is widely reported while his is widely ignored. We have become even more staunch in our support of Clinton because we recognize this treatment. We are used to it. The unwarranted, unfair and quite frankly, biased, treatment feels familiar to us. And so does the woman who generates it.

We know her like we know ourselves. She is the woman working in a nontraditional field who is called a ball-buster rather than a trailblazer. She is the female manager who is referred to as a tough bitch rather than an aggressive leader. She is the working mom who is criticized for missing a parent/teacher conference or soccer game because she has to work. She is us.

We are proud of Clinton the candidate because she exhibits much of the best of being a woman. We think that maybe the “R” in her name should be “Resilient” instead of “Rodham” because after experiencing a string of election losses and a huge shakeup within her campaign staff, she kept a smile on her face, enthusiasm in her voice, and her feet on the campaign trail. We cheered when it paid off with three wins in a row. We knew how she felt-every one of us who didn’t get that job or that promotion and knew, in our bones, it was because we were female. Watching her come back after many had written her off was sweet because it felt familiar-many of us, too, have beaten the odds to come back, sometimes after we were written off.

We are proud of her ability to acknowledge the double standard she is judged by while refusing to be victimized by it. We are pleased that she is a role model for all of us, our daughters and our granddaughters, as she models for the world how a strong woman handles the unrelenting pressure of being in the spotlight as she wins and loses. And those of us supporting her are just thrilled that she is not just the woman candidate or the best woman candidate, she is the best candidate. Period. And- atta grrl!

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