Hillary’s nomination: an infantile celeb-fest

Naomi Firsht

Topics USA

Screaming, self-esteem issues, and lots of shiny hair: no, not teenage fans at a Justin Bieber concert; say hello to the celebrity line-up behind Hillary Clinton’s nomination for presidential candidate.

On Tuesday night, Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party and in doing so ‘made history’. A point that was drummed into the heads of everyone attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia by a screeching Meryl Streep.

‘Nearly 100 years after women got the vote, you people have made history. And you’re going to make history again in November because Hillary Clinton will be our first woman president’, she cried triumphantly (and a little prematurely), as delegates waved placards with the word ‘History’ printed on them.

Sadly, the words felt rather hollow. From the beginning of her campaign, Clinton has been desperate to play the gender card and cash in on the rising popularity of identity politics. Using the #GrandmothersKnowBest slogan, and claiming she is the best person to fight for women’s rights because she is one, Clinton has encouraged Americans to vote for her vagina.

So it was not surprising to see that ‘being a woman’ was very much on the agenda at the DNC. Writer and actress Lena Dunham, never one to miss an opportunity to talk about her own female form, began her speech by saying, ‘I’m Lena Dunham and according to Donald Trump my body is probably like a 2’. We can only presume Clinton got Dunham’s vote by saying she was at least an 8. Ensuring she kept her speech focused on herself, Dunham also told the delegates that she was ‘a feminist, sexual-assault survivor with a chronic reproductive illness’. Because it’s just not a feminist speech these days if you don’t admit to being a victim of something. It is an insult to women (and men) everywhere that Dunham would think her body-image issues or personal life should hold any sway as a political argument.

Adding to the list of irritating female celebrities telling ordinary people how to vote, comedian Sarah Silverman also got in on the act. Dressed up like a 1950s housewife, she dismissed the non-believers in Hillary as ‘ridiculous’ — even though she, like many of them, had previously backed Bernie Sanders.

Speaking from New York, Clinton thanked delegates for putting ‘the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet’. But it isn’t simply enough to be female. And her rhetoric has far from convinced American women. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Clinton is supported by only 36 per cent of white women aged 50 to 64 and 34 per cent of white women aged 35 to 49.

So, yes, it will be a historical first if Hillary Clinton becomes president in November, but excuse me if I don’t scream like an infatuated teen.

Naomi Firsht is a writer and co-author of The Parisians’ Guide to Cafés, Bars and Restaurants.

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Topics USA


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