Hillary Clinton opened up to “Humans of New York,” the popular photography series chronicling the lives of everyday people, on Thursday, with a recollection of some of the challenges she has faced being a woman in her career.
She told photographer Brandon Stanton – the brains behind “Humans of New York” – that, for a woman like her, communicating with the audience in a natural way can be more difficult than it is for men.
“I’m not Barack Obama. I’m not Bill Clinton. Both of them carry themselves with a naturalness that is very appealing to audiences. But I’m married to one and I’ve worked for the other, so I know how hard they work at being natural,” Clinton told Stanton.
Clinton says what makes the task more challenging is that, in politics, “most of your role models are going to be men. And what works for them won’t work for you.”
“Women are seen through a different lens,” the Democratic presidential nominee added.
Clinton mused that men can speak forcefully and unapologetically in a way that would be widely criticized if it comes from a woman.
“I want to do the same thing. Because I care about this stuff. But I’ve learned that I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people,” Clinton said.
“And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’ Which is funny, because I’m always convinced that the people in the front row are loving it,” she added.
- Alex Wong/Getty Images
She also relayed an anecdote Stanton about taking the law-school entrance exam in a classroom at Harvard as a young woman in 1969. (She ended up attending Yale.)
Clinton says she was one of the only women in the classroom, and the men in the room began to berate her for simply taking the test.
One man, according to Clinton, even told her point-blank that, “If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die.”
Experiences like these have evidently weighed on Clinton throughout both her public and private life. She told Stanton that, as a young woman, she had to learn to “control” her emotions.
“And that’s a hard path to walk,” Clinton said. “Because you need to protect yourself, you need to keep steady, but at the same time you don’t want to seem ‘walled off.'”
“I don’t view myself as cold and unemotional,” she continued. “But if that sometimes is the perception I create, then I can’t blame people for thinking that.”
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