Why don't you smile? You smile too much. Oh, you're much too quiet. Wow, you're really opinionated, aren't you? Must you really be so bossy? Don't wear that, it's too revealing. No hijabs, please. It's too oppressive.
These are routine statements women are subjected to everywhere, everyday, every time.
Sample this: A man who doesn't smile much, is serious. An unsmiling woman is grumpy. A man who smiles a lot, is happy. But a woman with an ever-present smile is trying too hard. A man who doesn't talk much, is quiet. A quiet woman, on the other hand, is cold. A man who barks orders has management skills. But a woman doing the same is being bossy and unbearable. Men wear what they want. Women? Their wardrobe is subject to society's notions of "decency".
What is this, if not sexism and mansplaining? You maybe potential-POTUS, but that doesn't stop people - or men - from telling you how best to present yourself without making the men in the audience feel threatened.
Hillary Clinton - who post November - may just become the next President of the United States of America has been repeatedly described as cold, and calculating. For how else could an accomplished woman with years of experience in the public arena reach that position of power, right?
In a post by Humans of New York, Clinton spoke of her trials of dealing with the general perception that she's cocooned, walled off - in her own zone. She says:
"..I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions. And that's a hard path to walk. Because you need to protect yourself, you need to keep steady, but at the same time you don't want to seem 'walled off.' And sometimes I think I come across more in the 'walled off' arena. And if I create that perception, then I take responsibility. I don't view myself as cold or unemotional. And neither do my friends. And neither does my family. But if that sometimes is the perception I create, then I can't blame people for thinking that."
Whatever your political affiliations, no woman on this planet can help identifying with that.
Her husband Bill Clinton, former POTUS, may be the only President to have ever been impeached in American history but people don't remember that. Bill is remembered mostly for his 'easy' manner, charismatic personality that charms anyone who meets him.
Current POTUS, Barack Obama, is nothing if not captivating. Everything about him mesmerizes. He is a brilliant orator, his people's skills are 11 on 10, his personality is relatable, cool even.
And yet, obviously it isn't natural. It is impossible to always be on point as Obama is, without some practice, some help.
"They work and they practice what they're going to say", says Hillary. "It's not that they're trying to be somebody else. But it's hard work to present yourself in the best possible way. You have to communicate in a way
that people say: 'OK, I get her.' And that can be more difficult for a woman. Because who are your models?"
True that. Who indeed?