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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.