image via CNN
Hillary delivered her first major speech since the election at the Business Women of California Conference yesterday, March 28th.
Here are 7 takeaways from the speech:
1. Hillary’s sardonic humor is a roadmap for dealing with these difficult times.
While we are all still mourning the election and the dissolution of our hopes and dreams, Hillary has been dealing with the personal loss of losing the presidency to a thoroughly incompetent man. She opened her speech by telling the room of women: “ I am thrilled to be out of the woods and in the company of so many inspiring women. There is no place I would rather be than here with you.' She immediately followed with a humorous aside, “other than the White House.” Her ability to make light of the loss while still honoring the pain is a delicate balance that we are all still trying to master.
2. With Hillary, clothes are never just clothes, and she slayed in leather.
The cycle of comments about female politician’s looks exemplifies the double standard that women in the public sphere face, but, by the very fact that her appearance has been harped on since she first entered public life- Hillary’s attire holds particular significance. She retired the ubiquitous pantsuit in favor of a leather blazer because she doesn’t need to soften her appearance or make herself palatable to the people who chafe seeing a woman seeking power. With her minimal makeup and leather jacket, Hillary exuded a toughness that is honestly and rather brutally gained. It exemplifies a post candidate Hillary who can talk and dress more candidly.
3. She gave a goofy mantra to inspire us all: “resist, insist, persist, and enlist.”
Hillary may not have broken that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but she isn’t ready to put down her gloves. She told the sold-out room that while the last few months did not pan out as she expected, she still knows what she is fighting for: “a big-hearted inclusive America.” This fight needs passion, dedication, planning and verve and she laid out her guiding mantra for us.
4. Hillary made clear the need for an expansive feminism that uplifts ALL women.
The theme of the event was Inclusion Now and Hillary didn’t shy away from critiquing her fellow privileged women, stating frankly, “corporate feminism is no substitute for inclusive, concrete solutions that improve life for women everywhere because as challenging as it is to climb the career ladder, it is even harder for women at the margins to get on or even stay on the lowest rung.” Citing the need for a livable wage, predictable work schedules, and affordable childcare, she outlined what an inclusive agenda would look like.
Speaking to the necessity of inclusion, she stated in an only vaguely self-referential tone: “There has never been a more important woman than the woman who stands up and says not just for herself but for everyone else. We want diversity and inclusion in anything we do in our country.”
5. Hillary has shown us where her post-election priorities lie.
The number one priority on her agenda seems to be working towards equal rights for women and girls. Speaking to both the progress we have made and the gains we have lost she said; “Advancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls is the greatest unfinished business of the 21st century...and some days it seems even more unfinished than we had hoped.” Talking about real, structural change she said, “we need to reset the table so that women are no longer requited to accept or adapt to discrimination and sexism at work.”
6. She is not having the misogyny and racism.
Hillary is practicing what she preaches, demonstrating the way women need to vocally support one another. She let her ire loose on both President Trump and talk show host Bill O’Reilly for taunting and demeaning Journalist April Ryan and congresswoman Maxine Waters. Subtly speaking to the almost half of all white women who voted for Donald Trump, she said it is pure fantasy to think that any woman is immune from that kind of treatment.
7. Somehow, against all odds, she is hopeful.
While most of us feel that our hope has gone to a dark corner to die, Hillary spoke to the verve and energy that she has felt post-election saying that “despite the stumbles and setbacks, we’ve never been better positioned to take on the challenges of the future. Where some see a dark vision of carnage, [she] see[s] a light shining on creativity and opportunity.”
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Miriam Mosher graduated from Smith College before moving to New York where she is a writer by day and beer maven by night. She is a proud feminist, a champion of the semicolon and an avid thrifter. See more from Miriam at Bushwick Daily and Two Cities Literary Review.