Why Is Hillary Clinton So Polarizing Among Women?

Hillary Clinton Polarizing Woman in American Politics

Illustration by William Bahan

We don’t understand why women have such deep-seated issues with Hillary Clinton. We appreciate why some women might not love her, or not like her that much, but to … hate her?

Why is Hillary Clinton One of the Most Polarizing Figures in American Politics?

She’s Driven and Successful:

Does her success make women somehow feel inferior? Do we judge her for being unconventionally ambitious, blurring gender norms? Before the “Lean In” movement, there was Hillary. In the late 70’s she became the first female partner at her law firm in Arkansas. Soon after she gave birth to Chelsea and was practicing attorney while serving as First Lady of Arkansas. As the First Lady of the United States, she spearheaded the Clinton Healthcare Plan. With a resume that reads: Attorney, First Lady of Arkansas and the U.S., Senator, and Secretary of State our inclination is to respect her. And where the hell does she get the energy to campaign?

Her Marriage is a Sham:

There are theories that the Clinton marriage is a fraud and that she’s a power monger, along for the ride. But those in-the-know say that their union is based on real similarities and interests; there are few individuals who can go head-to-head with her on an intellectual level better than Bill Clinton. Has he fooled around? You bet. What about John F. Kennedy, one of our most beloved Presidents? It’s also business as usual in France, or Italy. It may not be your cup of tea, however it works for them. Regardless of any “sordid” details surrounding their marriage, it is evident they are a solid team. Isn’t that what couples want in a relationship?


Hillary Clinton Polarizing Woman in American Politics


She’s an Egomaniac:

Egomaniacs are easy to spot; they’re the ones actively asserting themselves into the limelight, or tweeting their private parts to strangers. They don’t do much political grunt-work because they’re spending so much time grandstanding.

But in the 20+ years we’ve been watching her, it’s clear Hillary is neither a narcissist (like Trump), let alone a narcissistic idiot (like Sarah Palin), nor particularly self-obsessed (like most politicians). Quite the opposite, in fact. She’s survived the indignity of adultery in the limelight, which she admitted brought her great humility. She graciously served in the administration of her political foe, and sat through grilling after grilling about Benghazi, without ever seeming vain, shrill or spoiled. Bill may have embarrassed America, but Hillary never has… Which brings me to the next point:

She’s Untrustworthy:

Has she been human, and changed her opinions, or known some dodgy characters? Has she made mistakes? Yes. But did she shoot a friend in the face and then blame him? No. That was Dick Cheney who orchestrated a press conference where the victim apologized to him. Did she fail to respond to a category 5 Hurricane while 1,800 Americans died and thousands of other clung to the roofs of their homes? No, that was George W. Bush. Was she a practicing alcoholic until the age of forty, who never succeeded at any real job before turning to politics? No, but Dubya was. When using a private email server is the worst of one’s crimes, and others before you have used private email accounts, your enemies are reaching. Even Bernie Sanders, the “purist” insists this investigation is nonsense.  When we call any politician untrustworthy, it’s important to look at the issue in context, because no politician is going to be 100% transparent. Even Bernie didn’t turn over his taxes….



Hillary Clinton Polarizing Woman in American Politics


She’s a Part of the System:

Of course she is.  She must in order to be relevant. We’ve heard more, during this election cycle than ever before, a chorus of voices (from both sides) shouting to “break down the system”, “start fresh”, “get rid of the insiders”… as if this huge thing we call a federal government doesn’t DO anything, or serve any purpose. Like it’s some ugly sandcastle on the beach, ready for kicking. Like it or leave it, our federal government is the imperfect product of the huge experiment in democracy; Destroying it, or shutting it down, like an angry teenager, just doesn’t work: Ask the Tea Party in 2013.

So yeah, she’s part of the system because this country is huge, its needs are huge, and there is a very real system that steers this gigantic ship. Is it sometimes corrupt, and leans towards corporate oligarchy? Yes, but that’s the Supreme Court’s fault, not Hillary’s.

Can some outsider enter like a bull, and just smash all the china in the china shop? It doesn’t work like that. The system is here and it’s only gonna change from the inside, through the less-than-perfect compromises done by insiders, elected by us. See Obamacare.


Hillary Clinton Polarizing Woman in American Politics


She Has No Personality:

How many of us can relate to being thrown under the bus in a way that she has? As a public figure for more than 2 decades and having been subjected to endless amounts of scrutiny, it’s not out of the ordinary that she is guarded. Sure she’s not naturally charismatic, but few humans are as charming as Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. Will she be deemed more likable if she can breakdance or likes to drink beers? It shouldn’t be earth-shattering that she doesn’t sweat her hairstyle or pantsuit and is actually more interested in her job. (You can’t win this PR spin either way.)

But hey, I am biased; my mother was a feminist. She taught my sister and I that we could do anything, think anything, and be anything we wanted, provided we worked for it. Likely similar convictions of Dorothy Howell Rodham. Because of her support, we went to good colleges, developed careers, and spread our wings as individuals. She told us that life wasn’t about our looks, but our characters. Hillary, a lawyer, life-long civil servant, wife and mother, has lived out many of those themes.

We’d like to hear from you. Tell us what you think about Hillary, and why you think it. Let us know what we’re missing…

The Hillary Divide. Let’s discuss.


    1. Thanks Sandra. It’s baffling and intriguing how polarizing she is. For instance, my friend’s mom loathes Hillary because she perceived her remark about how she “doesn’t bake” as condescending. She’s hated her for 15+ years over it. Interesting….

  1. Maybe because she has a very strong personality. Not so feminine.

  2. I think many of those who don’t find her charismatic are actually looking at her as woman, which is part of the problem. People are not used to seeing a woman in power, therefore they don’t know what that really looks like. Sure now she’s the nominee, we can kind of imagine, but it’s not what most people are used to. What matters is much bigger than her look of style of public speaking.
    And what a lovely way to be introduced to this blog!

  3. Why don’t people like Hillary? Because she’s a political chameleon. The “hate” comes from the excessively loud and obnoxious Trumpites, but the rest of her critics don’t like the way she flip-flops on issues (she has taken both sides on nearly every major issue during her political career.) People don’t appreciate that she sold more weapons to foreign countries (like Saudi Arabia) than George W. Bush did during his entire eight-year tenure as president. People don’t appreciate that she perjured herself before Congress. They see the hypocrisy of Hillary railing against corporate greed when she and her husband racked up 153 million dollars in speaking fees. And speaking of hypocrisy, they have a hard time swallowing Hillary’s staunch feminist proclamations after she smeared and ridiculed the many women who have accused her husband of sexual misconduct. There there’s her beloved USA Super PAC, her ongoing support of NAFTA, and that vote for the Iraq War. I could go on… Minimizing Hillary’s many indiscretions and inconsistent behaviors by diverting attention toward Cheney’s gun mishap or Bush’s alcoholism is a logical fallacy- a red herring, if you will. Hillary is a poor choice for liberals. Unfortunately, the other candidate is an even worse choice.

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