When sitting United States president George H. W. Bush was recorded vomiting on the prime minister of Japan and then fainting in 1992 during a state visit, the media had a field day. There were late night skits, uncensored footage aired on ABC, references on The Simpsons and Family Guy and to top all that, Robin Williams impersonated the incident while accepting a Golden Globe.
But despite the media storm that the incident was able to conjure; Bush’s ability to continue to serve as President of the United States was never called into question. So, when Hillary Clinton stumbled and had to be helped getting into a van leaving a 9/11 memorial event in New York, the general reaction can be seen as curious.
Not only is that incident definitely not the most exciting thing to talk about in regards to Clinton, but she did in fact emerge from her daughter’s apartment only hours later after resting, smiling and seeming to be in perfect health.
However, the media reaction did not relent. Stories were published that questioned her health, as they have since she first announced that she planned on running for president in the spring of last year.
Frankly speaking, there is a lot to question about Hillary Clinton. People speak everyday on her unreliability and how little we can apparently trust her. Considering the idea that there are far more concrete things to discuss well within boundaries of actual politics, instead of attempting to transform a small and fragmented piece of an incident into the entire story, shouldn’t the media and public focus on those things?
Western culture likes women’s bodies…a lot. Especially so, it likes to view women for their bodies alone and ignore the other parts of their existence that validate them as powerful or accomplished.
From the beginning of her term as a public figure, this is what Hillary Clinton has rebelled against. She refused to confine herself to her body. The people who wish to discredit her and her campaign today, often do so by disparaging her body and her personality, not her politics.
If we want an equal society, then we have to hold all of our citizens to the same standards. By not talking about Clinton’s politics and instead focusing on her body, we are helping to create and support the atmosphere of crazy that surrounds this election, while at the same time invalidating women in general.
The public often seems to forget the monument that is Clinton’s campaign. She is the first female main party presidential nominee and very well could be the first female president of the United States. The world, or at least the western world, deserves to have her treated with respect for that alone. Because truthfully, whether we like her or not, invalidating her through fine nuances invalidates women for the act of existing as women.
While it might seem counter-intuitive, we have to treat Hillary like a man for the benefit of women. She is one of the most influential women in American political history and whether we want to admit or omit this for the sake of associations, the way we treat her is directly reflective of how we treat and view women as a population. Most importantly, she is a politician. Shouldn’t we treat her like one?