Can A Woman Ever Be President? Hulu’s Hillary Might Have The Answer


Hillary Clinton and Kate McKinnon (Photo by: Barbara Kinney)

Hulu’s new documentary, Hillary, walks viewers through the life of Hillary Rodham Clinton from her earliest political causes, her marriage, and her many campaigns. This documentary may change the minds of many as it humanizes the trailblazer that is Hillary Clinton.

The documentary is a 4-part series streaming on Hulu. It begins by talking about Clinton’s early life and soon delves into her time in college. During her time in undergrad and law school, Clinton spent a good portion of her time fighting for women’s rights. An advocate for feminism, Clinton decided to attend Wesleyan which at the time was an all-girls school. Clinton forged ahead and became president of her student government, and class speaker at her graduation. At graduation, she followed a male speaker who had basically said that the women in her class would all be great home-makers and mothers. Clinton changed her speech to address how sexist he was. This doc highlights just what a trailblazer Clinton was from a young age.

While many viewers may already credit Clinton as an equality advocate, something the documentary touches on a lot is that women are averse to her as a feminist. The documentary points out that many people hate Clinton for seemingly no reason, or often do not know why they dislike her. Likewise, women often dislike Clinton for taking back her husband, Bill after his sexual abuse of a subordinate followed by his blatant lies when it came out to the public. They see her forgiveness for Bill after what he did to Monica Lewinsky as a slight towards women in general. Can a feminist really stay in a marriage where she was so disrespected? The documentary touches a lot on Bill, including interviewing him. However, Hillary also illuminates the fight Clinton put forth her entire life to break the glass ceiling, which is something many women seem to forget.

(Photo by: Barbara Kinney)

In the 60s and 70s, Clinton wanted to create change. She never wore makeup or shaved her legs, she went to protests and advocated for women to have jobs and equal wages. Clinton is a champion of education, and made statements defending it with her rise through the education system. As a junior lawyer, Clinton worked on the Nixon impeachment campaign and began to make a name for herself in politics. At this time, Clinton was already recognized as a powerful woman who was paving the way for other women.

Similarly, as Clinton rose through the ranks, she eventually ran for president… twice. This is significant for anyone on any part of the political spectrum, because she picked up the torch Shirley Chisholm first lit. Not only can women run for president, they can win the popular vote. She may have lost the electoral college, but Clinton did help pave that way for women run and win. In the most recent congressional election, there were more women running than ever. The United States currently has more women in office than ever before, and that is due in part to Clinton’s presidential campaigns and her advocacy that began all the way back in the 60s.

However, the biggest thing the documentary touches on as Clinton’s downfall, is her marriage to Bill. It’s no secret that the world was watching as Bill admitted to infidelity. Everyone across the globe saw Clinton decide to stay in her marriage after her husband cheated on her. The documentary highlights that many people could not believe that she could take her husband back, that she could still love him, and that she was able to compartmentalize her career and her love life when they were completely intertwined. Bill was interviewed for the documentary, and the pain is written on his face as he talks about his guilt and just what it did to his wife. Clinton finally speaks her truth, and admits just how angry and upset she was, but also just how much she loved him.

While it may not be the most feminist move to take back a cheating husband, the documentary does an amazing job of painting the love story that the Clintons shared. The narrative is that Clinton took her husband back in the name of love. Everyone cheats for a reason, but that doesn’t mean they cannot work through it. Maybe, just maybe, love can be enough, even if it’s not in line with what feminists are supposed to do.

As the documentary enters its last episode, it is finally time to address the 2016 election. Special guest star Barack Obama makes an appearance, which was extremely emotional and some of us may not be quite over it yet. Obama says hiring Clinton as his secretary of state was a no brainer, and that she will always have his full support. AWWW. 

(Photo by: Barbara Kinney)

The documentary is less about Clinton herself, and instead begs the question: Can a woman actually ever be elected president?

Clinton talks about her election, addresses her scandals (including those pesky emails), and ultimately does not try to justify any of her past actions. By telling it how it is, Clinton, who has been cast as robotic, a political machine and an impenetrable force seems almost… shockingly human. For a woman that has not opened up before, who’s been defensive over being a woman in politics, Clinton finally tells her story how she has experienced it. While many may still have reservations about her, and rightly so, Hulu’s Hillary holds space for a woman who has been bashed in the public eye for most of her life and gives her a chance to speak her truth. We all deserve to be heard, right?

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