Why You Should Stop Making Jokes About Bill Clinton As First Gentleman

4 months, 2 days ago

With this presidential election, there is a possibility we could have two role-redefining firsts.

If Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination and goes on to win the general election in November, she will be America’s first female president.

And with that, we’d have our first ever first gentleman.

Bill Clinton will step into a role historically held by girls. The role of first spouse in America has evolved over the years, but it is typically concerned with being an anchor in the White House.

First dames traditionally run the daily affairs of the White House, including decorating and picking out menus. Believe about Jackie Kennedy famously dedicating a tour of the White House 😛 TAGEND

Household activitieshave long been considered women’s run; our society has created gender roles with women as housemakers and men as moneymakers. Because of this, lots of people has already begun asking about how Bill, a man and former chairperson, would take on the role of first spouse.

These topics hinge on the apparently unbelievable notion a man coulddo household chores like picking out floral the agreements and china.

Our reaction to even the suggestionof a human doing household work shows how far we still have to go to overcome gendered stereotypes.

Over the past few decades, the corporation has been moving toward housework equality. Women enteredthe workplace in strong numbers and policies like paternal leave are( slowly) becoming less rare.

Still, females do much more unpaid labor at home than men. People hold ingrained beliefs women should be cooking, clean and taking care of children. This holds women back as it takes away their time and energy and induces employers consider them least stable — and therefore less worthy of a promotion.

When we chuckle at the idea of Bill Clinton picking menus, we’re reinforcing gender roles that keep us from equality.

Moreover, we’re showing how little we value housework. Home chores are literally what keep us all running functionally. Having the right decorations and menus at the White House play a significant role in how the country is viewed as a whole.

It doesn’t help Hillary Clinton herself is getting in on the idea Bill can’t pick flowers.

Clinton wasasked about the role of a first spouseat a Democratic debate back in December. ABC News journalist Martha Radditz asked Hillary 😛 TAGEND

You have said that Bill Clinton is a great host and loves dedicating tours but may opt out of picking flower arrangements if you’re elected. Bill Clinton aside, is it time to change the role of a president’s spouse?

Clinton answered Bill would help advise her on issues, but 😛 TAGEND

With respect to my own husband, I am likely still going to pick the flowers and the china for state dinners and stuff like that.

She reemphasized this idea at a campaign stop on Sunday night. Clinton said Bill would be put to work on economic issues were she to become president.

Although Clinton intimated she’d retain traditional gender roles by picking out the flowers, her notions for Bill as first spousespeak to the way she revolutionized the role.

When Bill became chairwoman, Hillary became the first first lady to have had a full-time career outside of her husband’s political career before he became president.

Clinton had a career in statute before Bill ranfor office. While he was president, she did policy work, pushing forward a healthcare act that is likely failed to get passed. The act was called Hillarycare — more than a decade before Obamacare indicated up.

While Bill was operating for office in 1991, Clinton’s role as a wife was publicly debated. She famously said 😛 TAGEND

I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession.

This comment led to ratings of criticism, ultimately inspiring Clinton to submit a cookie recipe to Family Circle magazine to support a more traditionallymaternal image.

Two decades later, we’re still stuck with the idea a first lady has to act like a classic homemaker. Michelle Obama had similar experiences when her husband was first running for president.

Michelle and Barack gratified when Michelle was his mentor at a law firm. Michelle Obama had a successful legal career, much like Clinton. But when Barack was elected, she quit her job as vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals to become first lady.

This pained many peoplefamiliar with the story of women giving up their careers for their husbands’ careers. Michelle evencalled it “a bit disconcerting.”

But over the last seven years, Michelle Obama has supported issues like healthy eating, workout and education( notably, issues that affect children ).

It’s up to everybody to decide for themselves what devotes them value and intent. The one thing we shouldn’t do is induce blanket assumptions.

Thinking a man can’t pick flowers is based on decades of sexism strengthening gender inequality. Believing housework is less important than a career does the same. Supposing all a first spouse does is choose menu dismisses the hard work first dames have done in America’s history.

After all, it was Dolley Madison who saved George Washington’s portrait when the White House was burnt down during the course of its War of 1812.

Read more: