Clinton speaks at a “Women for Hillary” meeting in Milwaukee last month. (Photo: Darren Hauck/Reuters)
Hillary Clinton says women are “held to a totally different standard” in politics — and that it’s been that way since she first ran for office.
“You’re expected to be both strong and vulnerable at the same time,” Clinton said in BuzzFeed’s “Another Round” podcast that was published online Sunday. “That’s not easy to do.”
The Democratic frontrunner said it’s “frustrating” for women in “any profession” to be criticized for being themselves.
“It’s just so hard to get people to realize that, you know, we’re all different,” Clinton said. “We may all be women, but we all have our strengths, we all have our weaknesses. We get up every morning and do the best we can. And eventually people either get you or they don’t.”
Clinton said she faced similar sexist questions when she first ran for Senate in 1999 and again during the 2008 presidential campaign — but, interestingly, not during her time as secretary of state.
“Because I wasn’t in politics, people were really nice,” Clinton said. “They said all kinds of nice things about me, which, you know, I appreciated.”
But that changed when she announced her 2016 presidential bid.
“How is a woman supposed to behave? Well, how about the way she is,” Clinton said. “And then people have to figure out her as opposed to her having to figure out everybody else.”
During a book tour last year, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand revealed she faced harassment from her male colleagues on Capitol Hill but that she “wasn’t in a place where I could tell him to go f*** himself.”
Clinton was asked if she had ever told a male to “go f*** himself.”
“Yes, I have,” she replied. “I’ve encountered those kinds of situations over the years. And sometimes you just have to ignore what’s happening because there’s a larger issue you’re trying to deal with, and sometimes you have to confront it, and it’s almost a snap decision.”
Clinton then recalled a 1976 incident — detailed in her own memoir, “Living History” — in which a male colleague working alongside her on Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign grabbed her by her turtleneck.
“So I’ve been around a lot longer, and I’ve had a lot of challenges,” Clinton said. “But what I’ve found is that the vast majority of them can be dealt with by, ‘Come on, really?’ Basically saying, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Did you just hear what you said?’ And not, you know, not accelerating it, making it an even bigger confrontation.”
She added, “But then, sometimes, you have to do what you have to do.”
Clinton was also asked if such harassment is common on Capitol Hill.
“When I got there it was clear that there were some people that were just troubling,” she said. “And … you just wanted to avoid them.”