A few days ago, this picture popped up on Twitter. Sometimes this happens. This isn’t a new picture. It was taken Diana Walker for a news story for Time magazine, back in that Libya insanity. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is sitting there looking at her phone device. I’m not sure what time it is. Behind her is chaos, with people talking and moving . Either the plane is landing or taking off. What I like about this is that there are papers all around her, work to do, those big, black paper clips that I love, Hillary Clinton wearing sunglasses, looking down at her phone, doing something either important or mundane. We can’t tell. But what we can tell is that she is in complete control for that moment when the picture is taken. And, because the picture is a flash-shot of life, never changing, it can easily be thought that she is in control forever.
It’s not that I’m a huge Hillary Clinton fan. I am, but only because she’s a strong woman. I don’t know her politics deeply. I didn’t vote for her in the Primary in 2008. I did like that she took the Secretary of State position and I, like most Americans, approve of her job. That’s not why I like the picture. I like the picture because it is unlike the typical bullshit pictures of women that we are constantly, constantly blasted with on a minute-by-minute basis. She is a woman but her breasts aren’t hanging out. She’s a woman but she’s not grinning like a fucking idiot. She’s a woman but she’s not posing or showing off her new shoes. She’s a woman but she’s not taking a picture of herself with a camera phone. She’s just a woman. An extremely powerful one. And I’m just awe-struck by this picture of her because of everything that it isn’t.
This summer, I’m going to start work on a series of essays that have to do with Identity. I’m going to write about race, homosexuality, feminists, all that stuff. My thesis, as of right now and completely subject to change, is that some people are forced to assume an identity that they don’t agree with, which causes an immense amount of stress on their lives. You can disagree with me. That’s fine. I don’t care, really. It’s important for me, though, for us to have this conversation. All of my life, I’ve seen people try and be something they aren’t while I’ve watched people push ideas and believes on anyone, no matter of how these ideas and believes might impact someone’s life. We are not “One size fits all” people. Not all of us are going to buy a house or get married or have children or cook dinner every night and then watch “Friends”. The sooner we accept that, the better. But that’s just what I think, and I’m not articulating as well as I should. Over the summer, I’ll work to make that better.
The reason why this picture of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is so awesome is because it transcends all our bullshit notions about gender roles. It tells women, especially young women, that being powerful, strong and independent aren’t reserved for dudes. And all this is coming from me, one of the most “dude” dudes I know. That’s why it’s awesome.