I saw a funny little article on Boston Review’s Tumblr page. And I mean little literally. It was an interview, fake, I think, with Hillary Clinton where we see only five lines:
Interviewer: OK. Which designers do you prefer?
Hillary Clinton: What, designers of clothes?
Hillary Clinton: Would you ever ask a man that question?
Interviewer: Probably not. Probably not.
The message is clear. Why on earth is this fool interviewer asking the secretary of state about her clothes? The woman is the U.S. ambassador to the world, and that’s my non-political-minded simplification of her job. Come on. This is why people are so down on the media. Is that question the best you could come up with?
Unenlightened interviewer sees high-profile woman, immediately wants to remind everyone that she’s a woman — just in case you didn’t know — and what do all women care about? Clothes. Not really, buddy.
I don’t think we’ll see the back of this kind of behavior in my lifetime. I literally think several generations of people whose minds work like this will have to die completely off before people start being people, with associated different characteristics that don’t begin and end with gender.
Really, why go there? And I’m speaking as though the interview is real — I’d be willing to bet, even if this particular one isn’t 100 percent accurate, Clinton has suffered through many iterations of the conversation over the years. To ask such a question says more about the asker than the interview subject.
It says: I am uncomfortable with you as a woman in a position of power — or not knowledgeable. Thus, I will attempt to reposition you in a manner I feel is more suitable or familiar to make myself feel better or superior. Don’t get me wrong — I love fashion and I adore it when I see a powerful woman, regardless of industry, decked out in all her cutting-edge finery.
But people — men and women — have got to get over this instinctive need to try to dumb women down. Women are smart; they have power. Some women have concerns — even if they have talked about fashion in the past and may do so again in the future — that supersede a favorite clothing designer … we care about shoes, accessories and hair doodles, too.