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It's been barely a month since Hilary Clinton announced that she'd be running for president, but she's (unsurprisingly) already the subject of many sexist articles that analyze her presidential ability based on her gender instead of you know, her actual experience.
The latest, but surely not the last of these articles, appeared last week in Time. The piece entitled, . stated that because Clinton is now a "woman of a certain age" she finally has the "emotional maturity and freedom" that is required to be a leader.
"Biologically speaking, postmenopausal women are ideal candidates for leadership. They are primed to handle stress well, and there is, of course, no more stressful job than the presidency," the author of the article, Dr. Julie Holland wrote.
Although the article appears to be well-meaning and in support of Clinton, it still feeds into the stereotype that women can't be good leaders because their fluctuating hormone levels cause them to act irrationally.
"Estrogen...levels rise and fall to help...meet...biological demands, which are often about giving to others: attracting a mate, bearing children and nurturing a family. When estrogen levels drop after menopause, the cyclical forces that dominated the first half of our lives have been replaced with something more consistent. Our lives revolve less around others and become more about finally taking our turn," Holland writes.
There are a couple problems with that statement, the first of which is that it completely ignores the achievements of women that choose not to, or are unable to have a family who "take their turn" earlier than menopause. It also implies that biologically, young women are too distracted building a family that they can't also build their career- something that is rarely said of men.
Holland does eventually mention Clinton's non-biological qualifications for the job about halfway through the article, and of course in the context of Clinton's new post menopausal clarity.
"The postmenopausal emergence, if you will, coincides with the point at which most women will have a fair amount of experience under their belts. (Perhaps they’ve already served as a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, for instance.)"
Clinton's experience shouldn't just be an afterthought in an article about her ability to lead the country. Clinton has an impressive list of accomplishments, much of which she achieved before she was a "woman of a certain age." So for once and for all, can we all agree to stop bringing up Clinton's and every other female candidate's hormones when we're talking about their ability to lead?
Clinton isn't the perfect age to be president because she's post menopause. She's the perfect age to be president because she feels at this age, she's ready to be the president. And it's up to the American public to decide if they agree.