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Authentic Woman

She’s a super heroine.

I saw this clip with David Axelrod aka Ratface, with Jon Stewart about authenticity and Hillary and I know where Jon is going with this but he’s wrong. Take a look at the clip first.


Jon Stewart is a smart man who studied psychology in college. I think his success with The Daily Show had a lot to do with his understanding of human nature. And I won’t disagree that I have had the same reaction to Hillary’s campaign this season. It is not the same as it was in 2008. She’s fighting something.

But where Jon is wrong is about how women become their authentic selves.

The authentic self is all the rage these days for people who are leaving high control or authoritarian religions. It’s that little voice inside you that says, “Wait, that dogma you’re feeding me makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s not quite parsing anymore. Following this is not who I am”. Authoritarian religions are very good at snuffing out the authentic self. They will tell the follower that it’s the devil speaking to them or bad association. The follower will attempt to double down to quash the self in order to “save” themselves. People with a strong sense of themselves eventually surface and throw off the indoctrination.

Here’s the thing that Jon doesn’t understand. In our society, and in most societies worldwide, women aren’t allowed to have an authentic self. Whatever it is they truly are, they have to hide from the rest of the world. For example, most women in the workplace go through their careers carefully calibrating their selves just to get through the day. They have to be careful who they can trust. They can’t come off as too strong or they are “bitchy”. They can’t be too accommodating because then they’ll be too soft and ineffective.

What Hillary Clinton is trying to do has never been done before in America. And as we have seen, it is very, very difficult. What we are watching is the most dangerous and death defying trick ever performed by an American female in history. It has a level of difficulty that Barack Obama never experienced.

She did seem more “authentic” in 2008. But that didn’t work, did it? When her own party turned on her and told her to step aside for someone else, because that’s what good girl team players are supposed to do, what lessons did she learn from that?  What compromises was she forced to accept?

I don’t know what the real authentic Hillary Clinton is. We won’t know until she takes office and even then, she will need to be cautious. At this point in time, she is falling back to a self that many women can relate to, that is, the over achiever, the Girl Scout.

Cut her a break, Jon.

31 Responses

  1. I totally agree. i go even a step further that what Clinton is doing has never been done in the world. Having a woman winning the presidency of a major country in the world as a woman, defending womens rights has never been done. The only other two margaret tatcher and Angelika Merkel come into power as single individuals not as women, as feminists. Clinton is a threat to status quo both to women and men. Society is not reacting well, both certain women and a lot of men are afraid of being lead by a woman, that is not afraid of standing up as a woman.

    • Agree.
      When we hear, “I’ll vote for a woman, just not this woman” what we are hearing is this dissatisfaction with the woman’s authentic self and the unparalleled ability of society to criticize with impunity to keep her behavior within certain acceptable norms to prevent discomfort.
      It is time we realized what Hillary is doing is one of the most courageous things an American woman has ever done. It is like breaking the light speed barrier. It is exponentially harder than what Obama did.
      Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t think there is another woman in the world who can do it. And if she wins, in spite of all the awful negativity and horrible media, the opportunity for her authentic self to emerge could be ground breaking. It could usher in a mandate because no one will have been able to bring her down. AND we will have her mentor, Bill Clinton, to give credit to. Rarely has any powerful man mentored a woman this far.
      Will it change the world? Yes and no. Women’s lives are not going to change overnight. But the chance for our authentic selves to develop will take a giant step into modernity.
      And THAT oh best beloveds is something to get excited about.

      • The truth in your first post hit me with a wave of sadness. But I agree having a woman make it to the highest office, leader of the free world, will be so freeing for All women.
        It is so easy for people like Jon Stewart to dampen ones excitement and hope, especially after what we saw happen in ’08. I am so looking forward to the day Hillary can finally, by attitude, say; I made it, screw you all!

      • She’s our Martin Luther King.

  2. actually you brought up an important point. How much is this a credit to Hillary and/or Bill? it goes back to my belief that the only way for women to gain full equality is when men actually realize that they need for the benefit of society to treat women as equals in all respects. So Hillary will only win if men (at least some men) actually vote against their own selfish benefit.

    Hillary said she would put Bill in charge of revitalizing economy in places like coal country. Of course its being pushed around like Hillary said that Bill will be in charge of the economy and like she is not her own person. Do you think this is a problem for her, how to deal with Bill’s responsibility in the administration if she becomes president

    • As president, she’s entitled to appoint her own advisors without constant criticism that she’s doom it wrong. If the best person to delegate a problem to is Bill, then she should do it.
      Of course, there are going to be people who will complain and attack her if for no other reason she’s going to want to do it her way. Sometimes, there will be issues that she’ll want to fight and others not. But you know, George W. Bush did pretty much whatever he wanted and didn’t back down under any circumstances. While Obama was too careful and never did anything without checking first.
      I’m hoping she’ll get it right.

    • This particular white male considers that voting for Hillary will support my selfish benefit for several reasons, the foremost of which is that the only realistic alternative to her is an obnoxious tribble-haired loon whom I don’t want within 100 kilometers of the nuclear launch codes. 😮

    • I think her saying she will put Bill in charge of the economy is a strategy on her part to gain the votes of the men who are having a hard time voting for a woman, especially in the rust belt. A lot of these guys remember the prosperity when Bill was in office and like him. It’s a shame she has to employ such such strategies but I think it’s smart on her part.

      • Bill would be an appropriate person to tackle the job. It’s not as if other
        ex-Presidents give a hoot about Appalachia.

  3. When I see Hillary now, she reminds me of an Olympic gymnast. The concentration and focus. She can NOT make a mistake. She can NOT misspeak. She is under a microscope and any little wobble will deduct points from her score. She is trying not to wobble.

    It is pure crap because we have the contrast of the men – both of the remaining men – who are falling all over the place. They “speak their minds” and they get points for “not caring what anyone thinks about their ideas”, they are completely ridicules with the crap they say (both of them) AND the complete lack of understanding, and absolutely no idea how they will get anything done. As if gravity will be suspended for their flips – really, really great flips! Neither one is a wonk or has any need to explain how they will get anything done. Thanks media. So here we have Clinton who is not allowed to make a mistake and by not making a mistake, she is not authentic, and two men who are don’t have to get much right. Both gain support by speaking against the weakest and most powerless people of our society.

    $15 minimum wage will not cover food, rent and daycare for a single mom. Breaking up the banks will not help the single mom either. Oh, and disenfranchising people who forgot to register? Really? Because that single mom can’t afford to take time off work and pay a babysitter in order to spend several days as a delegate? The elderly can’t sit on a auditorium bench or metal chair for 10 hours while the caucus volunteers try to seat delegates who are scary and abusive.

    I truly believe Hillary will make a great president BECAUSE the media loves to hate her. She will probably never be “authentic” enough for them but I believe she will deliver because she will be held to every promise. It might even be a refreshing, if temporary, return of the 4th estate.

  4. I have long been totally sick of the “authentic” theme in politics. Yes, there may well be a higher bar for a woman, and particuarly Hillary, in that regard. But I well remember a whole campaign of “Gore is not authentic, Bush is.” And pretty much the same with Kerry vs. Bush. My brother would call me up to talk politics, and right off, say, “We’re going to hear about ‘authenticity’ again for this whole election.” It’s the media’s favorite theme.They usually see Republicans as authentic, whatever their gender; and Democrats as not. Besides Bush, Reagan was “authentic.” McCain, certainly. They didn’t use the “authentic” cliche back then, but Eisenhower was seen that way, so was Goldwater. You know ,the kind of “man’s man”; hearty of manner; has a few core beliefs and sticks to them. Obama was seen as authentic, but then any African-American candidate would be portrayed that way. Romney was one of the few Republicans whom the media portrayed as inauthentic.

    I don’t even know what the term means, as used by pretentious political pundits; and I studied under clinical psychologists in my graduate program in Management. Carl Rogers did write about the need of the psychologist to be authentic with his clients; and the need for the clients to express their true selves. That is probably very important for psychotherapy. However, I do not vote for a President because I want to become friends with them. All I want is for the President to be intelligent, knowledgeable about issues, on the same side as I am on the important ones, and very competent. If they are that, I don’t care what compromises they have to make in their public life to be electable, or to keep some aspects of their inner being private. In fact, I would prefer they do, as opposed to someone who seems authentic because they are not complex, and have no depth.

    If the media would stop looking at the world as if it is a movie, and they are rating the actors, we would be a lot better off. Ironically, Hollywood, the creator of illusion, fakery, multiple takes, and actors who do all sorts of unpleasant things in private, while they are adored for their public relations created image, seems to somehow be the model used by many of these political pundits. We want someone like John Wayne (Marion Morrison), who uses few words, and looks you right in the eye when he’s speaking to you–in front of a camera. I would say that 99% of political figures are “inauthentic” in classical terms. The media, for its own needs or agenda, believes or pretends to believe that some of these are straight-shooting people who always mean what they say, fulfill their promises, and have no public persona. How foolish of them. Hillary is more intelligent than almost all of them, more honest than most of them; and hence she is truly more authentic. If she is guarded, or nuanced, or private, that has nothing to do with authenticity, in the real sense of the word. And for the media to apparently find her two opponents, Sanders and Trump, “authentic,” because they keep railing about problems, while suggesting impossible or absurd solutions to them, is akin to finding a hucklster authentic, because he tells you exactly what makes you feel good to hear. A phony “authenticity” is what con men strive to perfect in their craft.

  5. RD, you should send this to Jon Stewart: it’s so good.
    I’m not a millennial (God knows), and I don’t often pull the privilege card, but Jon Stewart is sitting on a mountain of male privilege with those comments.
    Imagine Hillary showing up at events in rumpled, ill fitting clothes; her hair all askew; flailing her arms around.
    Or, imagine Hillary using coarse language, crudely insulting her opponents and talking about them getting “schlonged.”
    She’d be ridden out of town on a rail all the way to the looney bin.

  6. Note to RD: I don’t know if this is contaminating your site or it would have found me wherever I went, but a false Adobe Flash Player update replaced your site after I made my last post. My Avast Free Version flagged it and killed it, but I thought you should know about it.

    • I haven’t encountered that yet. Do you have a PC or a Mac? I usually confirm the website before I do any auto downloads.
      Malware developers should be hung by their junk.
      Wait, did I say that out loud?

      • An HP laptop running Windows 7. Also an Acer laptop running Windows 7 which I share with Mom because hers is verging on failure. I tried Windows 10 on the Acer, disliked it, and went back to Win7.

        • Windows 10 killed my HP. I had to send it in to be restored to factory status. I hate microsoft with the white hot passion of a billion Suns.

          • LOL! Tell us what you really think.

          • I am starting to wonder if I should try Linux.

          • IBW, I’ve been running linux as my main OS since 2005. I still have to do my taxes on Windows. Honestly, there’s just no comparison. Linux, so long as you choose the right kind, is *easier* than Windows. I’d recommend Linux Mint (linuxmint.com), or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, Linux MInt Debian. Or, if you don’t mind troubleshooting just a bit, then straight Debian. But, really, switch. You’ll never look back. Nor will your mom! (The secret to troubleshooting is to google the error message you get when you have a problem.)

            And it would be wrong to say there is no malware for linux, but what there is is so low key I’ve yet to come across anyone who’s actually experienced it. You read about it. Or you get a security update and then a week later you find out it was dealing with some crap before anyone even knew about it. There are advantages to having Dilbert in your corner.

  7. RD,wonderful post;so on the money. We are forgetting, and so are the media and pundits,what a first Hillary’s campaign is. There literally is nothing ( and no one)to compare it to;so difficult to know how to “judge or analyze it”.So the media ,et al reference her based on personal traits or male criteria.

    Still don’t understand how they can ignore the fact that she has millions more votes then the other candidates. Hello,she’s winning and that’s before the Republican women climb on board. So many of us are too busy working and living day to day to have the luxury to explain to the media,the Bernie Bots and the Right how off base and loony they are re: Hillary. Guess we’ll have to show them on Nov. 8.

  8. riverdaughter

    I have been restraining myself for awhile now and I hope you don’t ban me forever from commenting on your site because (not just a flattery alert!) I believe in general it is more often than not an enlightening site and you are full of brains. But I can’t wait ’til this election is over and you come back to your senses. I am sure you get my drift and I will say no more about this…

    • What is the antecedent of “this”?

    • I have been checking this site since the ’08 election and see nothing different since then, philosophy-wise. RD’s “senses” continue to improve over time, in my view.

    • Actually, no, I don’t get your drift. There really is only one sane choice at this point in time. I don’t believe the negative media because they’ve been at it for years v
      I wish YOU would come to your senses.

      • “negative media”

        THIS. If I believed the spectrum-spanning united front of media Heathers, I’d think the Clintons were Mr. and Mrs. Beelzebub, too.

  9. I am so tired of Jon. His comment that he doesn’t know what her convictions are is so stoopid. Does anyone else not know what her convictions are?
    Give it a rest Jon, you aren’t paying attention.

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