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Has a Defeated Hillary Broken the Glass Ceiling?

While some women lament the end of Hillary Clinton's candidacy, her spirited run has forever changed American politics. Today she said: "Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it has about 18 million cracks in it and the light is shining through like never before." Hillary has arguably taken the female gender off the list of disqualifying qualities for president of the United States.

According to polls cited by the BBC, in December 2006 only 55 percent of registered voters said America was ready to elect a woman president. Now, the latest poll shows 70 percent say America is ready for a woman leader. The Boston Globe reports this morning that 69 percent think Hillary's run has made it easier for women to run in the future — though 39 percent also saw her judged more harshly for being a woman. The President of EMILY's list agreed Hillary's had influence, "she really proved that women can run for president, which boosted the credibility for all women who run for office."

Of course some are not ready to count out sexism as a debilitating factor in Hillary's run. The president of the New York-based Center for the Advancement of Women said, "one of the aspects of the campaign that has been really shocking to me is how outrageous the sexism was toward her in the media." Ardent supporters disappointed by this are gearing up to wear "NObama" t-shirts this summer.

But if Hillary Clinton lost this race because of policies or poor campaign management, and not because she was a woman, will her legacy still be that she cleared the way for other female presidents?

Even though Hillary will not be president, has she nonetheless broken the ultimate glass ceiling?


jadenirvana jadenirvana 9 years
I don't think she has broken the ceiling because Hillary Clinton seems to me almost masculine. She reminds me of the scene in Macbeth where Lady Macbeth says "unsex-me" as she tries to cast off the shackles of feminine wiles in her quest to gain ultimate power. Ok, that might be a bit harsh, but I just think we can't consider the glass ceiling broken until we no longer have to choose between power and femininity. I think people like Kelly Ripa or Katie Couric are better examples of ceiling breakers.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
boy, what a great generalization. That must mean McCain is going to be the next president.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
The only reason she lost is because this country is more sexists than it is racist.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
HF - I have to disagree with you. There are many women I would've voted for. So far, they have chosen not to run. There are also other black men that I would've voted for that have not run. Hillary has not done anything that I have agreed with. I don't understand how a person who lived had never lived in New York could suddenly be on the ballot as a representative from NY. She isn't ethical, in either her actions or her words.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
"I do think it was historic, b/c it always pissed me off that anyone that was a woman or a minority was immediately written off as a reject from the announcement of their candidacy. This year was amazing and defied expectations, we're just not through it yet." I agree Meg...and now I'm going to take a few days off from all this. I'm drained. Cheers! :cocktail:
megnmac megnmac 9 years
I think that was the problem - she gave us business as usual. I do think it was historic, b/c it always pissed me off that anyone that was a woman or a minority was immediately written off as a reject from the announcement of their candidacy. This year was amazing and defied expectations, we're just not through it yet.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
If a male candidate had done the same things no one would bat an eyelash. It would be chalked up to business as usual. To say that this isn't historic just because you don't like her is ridiculous. Of course it's historic. Also, I do NOT think that she lost because she's a woman. I'm just pointing out things that this country still needs to work on.
megnmac megnmac 9 years
I didn't vote for or against anyone based on gender, so her being a woman didn't affect me... I'm sure it did others, but every aspect of a politician is judged by someone and people vote on whatever they vote on. Has anyone been reading the XX Factor stuff on this at Slate? (like, or or anything) I really liked a lot of the perspectives, and agreed with one article that pointed out how she ran as a 'man' (and it turned out that came across as politics as usual against a change platform), how she also used genderizing slurs against Obama (get out of the kitchen), and ultimately lost b/c she did not frame the issues around her but around him (attacking what she saw as his weaknesses rather than just talking about her strengths). Yes, I'm sure she had lots of good things in her speeches and her followers got more, I got what the media put on. That is why candidates and press secretaries should know that the question doesn't matter, it is whatever soundbite you give. One glib reply in a week will haunt you.... I'm sorry HF, but I do think we'll beat this into the ground. I am kinda glad this thread is still going, I find different peoples perspectives on her and on the entire gender issue interesting.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
I don't think she lost because she is a woman, I think she lost because she was not the better candidate and she didn't have a good strategy. She really should have read the new rules better. In that sense I do think she has made strides, in that she lost as candidate and not as a woman. But her conduct during the campaign surly will have some repercussions for fellow women. Not sure what kind.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
I think only time will tell if Hilary broke the glass ceiling. IMO, she put a layer of cement on it and may have made it difficult (for at least a short time) for another woman to run for office and be take seriously. She was so negative in her campaign, the complete lack of organization of her team, and her crocodile tears has I think in a small way a barrier for young woman to truly get through that next door.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
Well UD. Those were true statements. She tried her hardest to stick to the issues. The soundbites that you heard were all from interviews where she was being asked specific questions about Barack. Of course they always got rid of the question portion so it looked like she was just saying it. Her speeches were entirely about the issues but then I seriously doubt you ever listened to any of them in depth. The whole point of running for anything is to point out your strengths against your opponent's weaknesses. Saying that we were ready for a woman just not THIS woman is a complete cop-out. I don't believe you. Hillary got this far because of exactly who she is. No other woman would've even been taken seriously. Hillary was barely taken seriously by some. Jokes about PMS, cleavage, cooking, her sexuality, her looks, and her worthiness as a woman that were thrown around nonchalantly by the pundits, people on here, and the general public show how far we really have to go. Can you even IMAGINE if that many racial jokes were made nonchalantly on live television? There would be absolute outrage. Racism is a very real thing, but so is sexism and I wish people would at least acknowledge that it exists...instead of pretending that it only happened because it was THIS particular woman. No the glass ceiling is not gone, but Hillary took a BIG swing at it and like she said there IS light shining through. I for one would like to thank her for it and hope that next time a woman has the audacity to run for President that she will be treated with more respect.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Brandy - Don't be discouraged because a small percentage of us males are stuck on stupid. I agree that there is still work to be done. Women will claim the presidency some day, just not in 2008. As long as Hillary isn't that woman, it could be done in 2012. Personally, I think a woman could've won in 2008. Hillary spent too much time focusing on how her sex was bringing her down, or how Barak's race was giving him a break (complaining about mistreatment in general). She allowed herself to be drawn away from the issues that matter to the people.
Unfortunately, no! When you have a man walk up to you and say, "I don't think a woman could run the country, no one will take her seriously," there's still work to be done. When society as a whole still believes the only way a woman can make it in life is to marry a man with a great job and lots of money, there's still work to be done.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
It's just a hot flash. Mother Earth is now hitting that "time" in her life.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
It's really Global cooling NOT Global warming!!!!! :sneaky-evil:
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
HF :rotfl:
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
AL GORE created the internet!!!!!! :sneaky-evil:
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Of course Harmony. We have absolutely no empathy for you at all Sorry about that. I think we should change the subject. How about we debate something lite, like global warming theory. :evil:
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
sigh...really? Do we HAVE to beat this into the ground?
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Regarding her "unfair treatment" in the media: A year ago, she was the inevitable candidate. According to the media, she was so far ahead in the polls that she was virtually unstoppable. That doesn't sound like coverage biased against her.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
That's a very good point Stephley. When she first announced her candidacy, the media played it has it was her time, and she was the golden girl. I think that she had serious competition really irratated her.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
You all make such interesting points. She really did use her husband's success and appeal to better herself and her campaign. I don't trust her politically. She seems to have no ethics.
stephley stephley 9 years
I think she put a couple of cracks in the glass ceiling, but not so many that she should take credit for advancing women any great distance forward. She hitched her career and public persona to a man until she felt certain she had given herself enough traction to shoot forward. Women like Shirley Chisolm, Barbara Jordan, Pat Schroeder, Gloria Steinham and even Geraldine Ferraro deserve a great deal more credit than Hillary does. She's good at stepping in when the way already has been blazed and taking credit.
megnmac megnmac 9 years
I'm an O-girl, so I have a hard time at this point giving her much. She really burned out my previous Hil-appreciation. I think it is amazing that she ran and was a viable, legitimate candidate, and I think that that will have good effects. I think that did great things for women and their chance at this one big job. I think her run highlighted the casual sexism in our world much as Obama highlighted the ongoing racism - and started the dialog. The fact that we even enter a national dialog on whether a woman or a black man could/should be president shows we still see people as a part of this bigger gender/race than one great, competent person (how we judge white men, white man is neutral, no one asks if a white man can do the job). I don't think she broke the ceiling, though she did take a hit at it. She wasn't a mill worker's daughter (ha) with no connections who started a grassroots support of her career through political prowess. She is a legacy. It just feels less earth shattering. But she did grab onto that lightening rod and hang on, pushing us closer to a day where a woman in charge is seen as normal. When women are accepted into and enter the political world as themselves, and the men in their life are as sidelined as any first lady, and we don't ask if a woman should control the big red button, and we can nonchalantly discuss her politics before we discuss her pantsuits - that is a day I'll be proud and consider the ceiling broken.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
Reading all these comments that people thought that Clinton would clinch the campaign very early surprises me. From the beginning I've thought it would be tight between Obama and Clinton ... or that Obama would clinch it.
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