Hillary Clinton’s historic achievement — she is the first woman presidential nominee for a major political party in America — has represented enormous progress, while also revealing the pervasive sexism still plaguing our country.
Whether Donald Trump is telling a CNN anchor, “When I came out, I was competing against 17 very capable people… and a woman,” or Twitter users are telling Hillary to smile during her acceptance speech, the Democratic candidate has been no stranger to disgusting sexism throughout her entire career.
But in a Humans Of New York post from earlier today, Hillary Clinton openly discussed one of the worst sexist attacks she experienced in law school — and she was more candid than ever before about the endless sexist comments that she receives.
In the post, Hillary recalls the time she took the Harvard Law School admissions exam with her friend; they were some of the only female students there:
“While we’re waiting for the exam to start, a group of men began to yell things like: ‘You don’t need to be here.’ And ‘There’s plenty else you can do.’ It turned into a real ‘pile on.’ One of them even said: ‘If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die.’ And they weren’t kidding around. It was intense.”
Despite the personal attacks, Hillary chose to ignore them as an act of self-preservation, refusing to respond:
“I couldn’t afford to get distracted because I didn’t want to mess up the test. So I just kept looking down, hoping that the proctor would walk in the room.”
Hillary then connected this sexism from her college days with the remarks she still hears regularly:
“I know that I can be perceived as aloof or cold or unemotional. But I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions… And if I create that [walled-off] perception, then I take responsibility. I don’t view myself as cold or unemotional. And neither do my friends… [or] my family. But if that sometimes is the perception I create, then I can’t blame people for thinking that.”
We strongly suggest that you read her post in its entirety. A lot of women on Facebook are commenting about how much this post relates to their own lives.
We are so grateful that a woman as accomplished as Hillary Clinton has helped us continue this extremely important conversation.