Whatever happened to “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar”? Whither “Girl Power”? When did Rosie the Riveter’s “We Can Do It!” give way to Hillary the Haranguer’s “We Can’t Handle It”?
It’s 2016, and the Democrats’ feminist heroine running for commander in chief is whinnying about being — wait for it — interrupted.
Quick! Prepare a complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Poor, fragile, defenseless Hillary Clinton is a victim of the international human rights crime of serial conversational obstruction.
Mainstream media outlets (also known as the Coalition of Liberal Narrative-Benders For Hillary) howled about the unconscionable injustice after Monday’s first presidential debate.
“Donald Trump Interrupted Hillary Clinton 51 Times at Debate,” moaned US Weekly, which is owned by Clinton supporter and longtime Clinton donor Jann Wenner.
“Donald Trump couldn’t stop interrupting Hillary Clinton,” complained The Huffington Post, founded by female Cambridge Union debating champ Arianna Huffington.
Then there were the female writers for left-wing Vox who balked at Trump’s 51 interruptions involving “petulant asides,” “loud, insistent filibusters,” and the “one-word, schoolboy-like ‘Not’.”
Clinton supporters to Clinton: Slaaaay, Queen!
Trump to Clinton: “Not.”
Oh, no. The oppressive “Not!” Queen slayed.
The Vox gals (is “gals” a trigger?) cited research dating back to the moldy-oldy 1970s about the ravaging effect of workplace interruptus on wimmin. Playing Clinton’s narrative amplifiers, they commiserated. “For most women in the workplace, the phenomenon is exhaustingly familiar.”
Still feeling verbally battered Tuesday morning, Clinton’s old crony fixer and bagman, campaign chair John Podesta, told reporters that Trump’s interruptions were “reminiscent of the way a lot of women feel about bullies in their lives.” Female reporters Andrea Mitchell and Jennifer Epstein dutifully tweeted Podesta’s dog whistle to feminists.
Spare me, you shameless sacks of spin.
Un-stage-managed debates usually involve spontaneous and contentious back and forth. Without the jibes and jeers and repartee and sighs and side-eyes, you’re not debating. You’re side-by-side monologuing with a Kabuki moderator keeping time and warming a seat.
Seriously, what kind of role model for girls is a female presidential candidate who claims to be “ready to lead” — yet whose campaign cries sexism whenever she’s confronted with anything less than full and complete obeisance in the public square?
Remember: Clinton similarly suffered from acute interruptophobia during campaign forums with daytime talk show diva Matt Lauer and primary opponent Bernie Sanders.
Ironically, the Clinton campaign publicized a letter this week from the candidate to a 7-year-old schoolgirl encouraging her to always “make your voice heard.” She advised her young fan to not “be afraid to carve out a space of your own.” Sound advice. But you can’t have it both ways, sister. Either you’re a strong woman warrior capable of handling anything — or you’re a grievance-mongering grouser who can’t out-bellow the boys.
I speak from experience. Growing up, I was a small, shy brown girl afraid to assert myself. I was petrified to talk in front of my classmates. I was too humble to claim credit for my own work. I was invisible because I made myself invisible.
Then I grew up and refused to defer to anyone because if I didn’t speak up for myself, nobody would. I didn’t come from a privileged background. I didn’t marry into power. I didn’t ask anyone to give me a platform. I worked for it and made my own. Most importantly, I learned to stop waiting for my turn.
Feminism is supposed to be about holding your own, not about being entitled to everyone else holding their tongues in your sainted presence.
In 21st-century America, there is nothing holding girls and women back from amplifying their message. If male pushback and “petulant asides” bruise your egos, you put some ice on that, to borrow a phrase, hold your ground, and tell the interrupters to hush.
You control your volume button. Don’t remonstrate. Roar.