but i will say this: as the first, as the gender-breakthrough, hillary is incredibly problematic, much moreso than obama with regard to race, or like jackie robinson or someone. that it's the wife of a president is problematic; that it's the wife of bill clinton is extremely problematic; that she has been his wife in the way she has is a big old problem from this angle too. it's definitely not maggie thatcher or golda meir. there are a number of other people already who could be the first female pres, and no doubt there will be many more. i want and expect it to happen. but she is in some ways an unfortunate choice, precisely in the way she's lived gender.
or perhaps she's emblematic of a certain sort of bourgeois white woman in a certain era, sort of just post-friedan, pill etc. she's got the notion that women must be strong and independent and equal, etc., but perhaps she's also got a set of desires that are in conflict with that. she's struggled with the expectation of wifely subordination, both rejecting and enacting it. she's caught between generating an independent power as a person and...manipulating men or the patriarchy to get what she wants or living through, contributing to, and using her husband as he rises, a kind of old-time form of women's power. but then, she still has to legitimize herself as a nurturer; we got a portrait of remarkably traditional mom, with mixed plausibility, and that extends into the presentation of the policy.
chelsea presented her as full-time homemaker, which just can't be right, even if she made efforts. there were attempts, if i remember rightly, to 'humanize' gore, but what it meant for hillary at the convention to 'show the personal side,' the 'human' hillary, was always to feminize her, to show her with the normative female activities, relationships, and values as they stood in 1960. like all the symbology is locked into a transitional and wickedly conflicted moment in gender history. if a younger woman was looking at her self-presentation at the convention, it was extreme 'super-woman': full-time mom and world-bestriding career woman! you can have it all! ! i think a lot of younger woman must have looked at that and rolled their eyes.
i'm imagining that gender in hillary clinton's head is a puzzle, a mess, a difficulty all the time, though who knows? but the public enactment is extremely complex and conflicted. of course, this thing has been pretty much a minefield for everybody, one way or another. i hope bill is deeply confused about it too, but i doubt it. more nostalgic, perhaps, like roger ailes.
it's often been remarked over the decades that the sort of feminism hillary embodies doesn't do very well at representing the experiences of black women, poor women, third world women, and so on. i think it doesn't do that well representing the experiences of younger women right now either, and i actually think that even women a decade or two younger than hillary but otherwise similar had somewhat different internal struggles, or perhaps just somewhat less internal struggle, though there were continuities in the probs too. but it also had a role in moving everybody some way and opening up possibilities.
so there are excruciating tensions. she's not alone; i think it's transitional, characteristic of a certain class-race-gender-age cohort. and i think that even if she were elected, we would await the real breakthrough, something that or someone who shows what women are really becoming outside the gender hierarchy, someone less confused and also less intent on being something general or a symbol; someone who is herself. hillary symbolizes the struggle against that hierarchy, but just as conspicuously she embodies it; she is herself a lot of what she's fighting against.
in every cohort, there have been many sorts of ways of being female, of course. but some in this situation were pretty buttoned-up; like you didn't necessarily see what was really going on with the junior leaguer etc unless there was a crisis. a lot of people were pretty focused on making it seem ok from the outside; sometimes people are more focused on what other people think about them than on what they think about themselves, or those two have merged (with tensions). i feel that hillary clinton has concealed herself, or is extremely focused on not letting her self leak into public space (the disaster of what's in those 30k emails; why she suddenly goes very strange right there); maybe that is characteristic too in a way, a sort of bourgeois respectability of which mom the homemaker is the preserver while dad gets to misbehave a bit unless it slides badly off the rails (note to my 12-steppers; she seems a bit al-anon? kind of 'chapter to the wives'? just sayin). she's the maintainer-in-chief of appearances, but you know boys will be b's etc. so that makes the later career pretty fraught.