I recently ran into this old interview Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave in Kyrgyzstan and it made me smile, so I figured I’d share. In a long interview, in which she covered myriad topics, from political uprisings to air force bases, this question somehow came up:
MODERATOR 1: Okay. Which designers do you prefer?
SECRETARY CLINTON: What designers of clothes?
MODERATOR 1: Yes.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Would you ever ask a man that question?
MODERATOR 1: Probably not. Probably not. (Applause.)
Since it’s an old interview, I did a search to see what other people said about it. NYMag.com’s Dan Amira used the following quote to prove that Clinton had herself “advised a young female lawyer about succeeding in a world of sexist attitudes.”
And it requires, for a woman, usually in today’s world still, an extra amount of effort because I think it’s – the fact that women are still sometimes judged more critically. If you are in the courtroom or you are presenting a case, it still is a fact – and this is not just in Kyrgyzstan, this is everywhere – that when a man walks into a courtroom it’s rare for someone to say, ‘Oh, look what he is wearing.’ (Laughter.) But if you walk into a courtroom, or any young woman walks into a courtroom, people are going to notice. And that will be an additional requirement that you have to meet.
And here’s where I’d have to disagree. I think Secretary Clinton is acknowledging that a woman’s appearance is still a factor that people weigh in whether that woman is worth speaking to or taking seriously. By not answering the designer question, she’s purposefully stating that such information is unimportant in an evaluation of her and her ability to do her job, that women do not need to be judged by their fashion sense.
Here’s the whole interview, for your enjoyment:
What do you think?