After watching the recent Presidential debates, and seeing the amount of commentary online recently about how great it is to have a woman presidential nominee as an example for our daughters (true) countered with all the back-talk about Secretary Clinton’s frumpy, monochrome pantsuits (a rainbow of mediocrity, some have opined – others have embraced Hillary’s look.) I wondered how exactly we arrived at this juncture. Nobody says anything about Mr. Trump’s wardrobe, of course. That routinized glass-ceiling sexism stuff is to be expected. But maybe what’s perceived to be lacking in Mrs. Clinton’s physical appearance is not fashion — sometimes, a pantsuit is just a pantsuit — it’s the fluid sensuality of, say, Michelle Obama. In large part, it’s Clinton’s stiffness, her inaccessibility that people are reacting to — things, some psychologists have argued, that we learn from our mothers.
Joyce McFadden, author of the book “Your Daughter’s Bedroom: Insights for Raising Confident Women,” suggests that girls learn everything about their sexuality and sensuality (and in the process, self-esteem, life skills and confidence) from their mothers. So perhaps we can look to the late Dorothy Howell Rodham, an amazing, resilient, very tough cookie who according to reports had a horribly painful and difficult early life. Therein, we see the woman her daughter Hillary would become. We can imagine it may not have been a household with tons of discussions of feelings or delicate, but normal, private matters.
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