For better or worse, Hillary Clinton is a poster woman for all women over the age of 45. Depending on your point of view (or perhaps where your political convictions lie), she’s either an admirable tower of strength or a weakling worthy of condemnation. But no matter what you do (or don’t do) in the voting booth, one thing is clear: Hillary Clinton is always an interesting topic of discussion. There are a few things that all women can learn from Hillary…and lots of stuff that some women already have.
A Lesson in Independence
Hillary Clinton followed a long line of very polished and proper First Ladies who often wore dresses. Many were mothers, like Hillary, and all had their own pet projects during their time in the White House.
Like those before her, Hillary appeared at husband Bill’s side during important functions and smiled with him on the campaign trail. But she decided she wanted to be more than a First Lady who stood in the background and wore dresses. So Hillary added “Rodham” to her name to show her own independence, and from her offices in the White House decided to tackle the healthcare industry single-handedly. It would be a long battle that she (thus far) didn’t exactly win, but she still showed a lot of spunk in taking it on. And with that, and her clever name change, Hillary showed her own independence -- even when her husband was the most powerful man in the world.
A Lesson in Career Goals
For lots of ladies, being the First Lady is more than enough. Many First Ladies have done quite a bit of great work following their husbands’ term in office, retiring into a life of humanitarian work and public engagements.
Hillary Clinton didn’t retire after her husband left office. At a time that some might consider to be late in life, she decided to pursue her own personal political goals and ambitions. She became a Senator, ran for President and was appointed Secretary of State…and that’s not bad in a 10-year time period.
“Hey Hillary, thank you for all you’ve done for our country. Listen, if you want to run for President after you take a little nap, let me know. I’m sure I can find some extra time to help you with your campaign. From one Type A boomer girl to another…you can count on me.” VN member Judi50+ shared a personal note to Mrs. Clinton regarding career.
“Hillary Clinton and me…retiring? Not really,” she decided. And Judi50+ is probably right. Hillary has proved that Vibrant Women can continue to be a vibrant force in the workplace, any workplace, and she may not be done just yet.
A Lesson in Style
Some women, like Princess Diana, are known for their beauty and glamorous style. Hillary Clinton is rather known for the opposite. She’s a working woman, and she’s not always pristine or glamorous. During her tenure as Secretary of State, Clinton was best-known for looking rather harried and famously sporting a hasty ponytail. Working Girls don’t always have time for primping and prepping, particularly on those international flights.
Hillary Clinton proved that women don’t have to look like magazine models in order to achieve success and admiration. She’s not always stylish, and sometimes it has a polarizing effect.
“Two weeks ago, I wrote a post on the flap over Hillary Clinton’s appearing at an international dinner with minimal make up and casually styled hair. The response was overwhelming,” shared VN member and blog circle user Renee. “Most women (but not all) applauded Hillary for her stand on substance over style.”
As she observed, “As females in our society, we are rewarded in many ways by looking good. Good-looking girls are generally (but not always) more popular with both boys and girls. Good-looking women are generally (but not always) more successful professionally. Good-looking women are generally (but not always) more successful in life.”
Hillary Clinton has helped to break that mold. Her pantsuits aren’t always pretty; they’re professional. Her hair isn’t always perfect; she’s got a very high-pressure job and not a lot of time to style. Her make-up isn’t always vibrant, but she certainly is. Many women can take a lesson in style from Hillary Clinton, and it’s this: time is better spent working.
What can Hillary Clinton teach vibrant women? It’s okay to be independent. It’s admirable to keep pursuing your career goals, despite your age. And when you’ve got better things to do, it’s just fine if you don’t look like you’re ready to do a runway walk in Milan. You’re a Vibrant Woman, you’ve got lots more to accomplish… and you’re a real Lady. There’s a little bit of Hillary in all vibrant women – it’s just a matter of finding her.