A Tale of Two Hilarys

This week was a pretty big one for the two most important Hillarys in the world. Hillary Clinton officially declared her candidacy for the First Woman President of the United States. And, just as monumental, Hilary Duff revived her career! These two wonderful women of our generation embody the qualities of the quintessential role models for our tween years leading up our early adulthood. Allow me to explain.

Hilary Duff became a superstar on the hit show Lizzie McGuire beginning in January 2001 when we were five and six years old. Lizzie McGuire taught us valuable lessons about growing up in the early 2000’s when butterfly hair clips, chokers, and lip-syncing to girl-power groups were all the rage. When re-watching Lizzie McGuire during second semester senioritis, I realized that Lizzie McGuire was the most sophisticated preteen on television. While everyone else tried to be fake around her, (and yes we tried to be like the “popular” people in our tween years, don’t deny it) Lizzie stayed true to herself and lived her life with good morals and values, thanks to her fabulous parents. In fact, she thought that the idea of Kate Sanders and popularity was beneath her and that it was better to be awkward and clumsy and have two incredibly loyal best friends than to be the queen bee of school.

Re-watching the pilot showed me how incredibly mature Lizzie was as well, and what an unloyal social climber Miranda was. In the pilot, Lizzie and Miranda’s rich crush invites them to a pool party. Lizzie finds out that she can’t come because she has her grandma’s birthday party. Gordo wasn’t even invited at all. Miranda decides to ditch her best friends and go to the party. When Lizzie’s grandma’s birthday party doesn’t end up happening at all and she is able to attend the party, she decides to stay home with Gordo and they spend the afternoon tie-dying sheets. Take that Disney Channel of today! Miranda comes over and apologizes because the party at that rich kids house was “super lame” and she would rather spend time with her two best friends (only to ditch them in when they graduate).

Hilary Duff became a role model from day one. She then gained popularity with her various films and records. “Come Clean,” “So Yesterday,” and “Why Not” are staples of this time period. Over time, Hilary stopped being in the spotlight. She limited her projects to focus on her personal life. She married Mike Comrie, a former Canadian hockey player in 2010 and had a child, Luca, in 2012. Two months ago, Hilary and Comrie officially announced their divorced after being separated for almost a year. Now it is 2015 and Hilary Duff is back and better than ever…on TV that is. She is now co-starring in the TV Land show Younger with Broadway superstar best known for her ABC Family hit Bunheads Sutton Foster. Younger is about a 40 year old divorcee trying to reenter the working world. Hilary plays one of her co workers who takes Sutton Foster’s character under her wing to teach her the ways of being young in the 21st century.

Now we come to Hilary’s music. Over the summer, Hilary Duff introduced two new singles “All About You” and “Chasing the Sun.” Each have Hilary’s signature pop style but with a more indie twist. Last week she released her latest single “Sparks.” This dance song is super catchy and is guaranteed to get stuck in your head. One lyrics is, “You can promise castles, treasures, babies I don’t care” proving that now that Hilary is a single mom with dyed blue mermaid hair, her music will be more mature and appeal to the grown up crowd who grew up with her on Lizzie McGuire. Hilary made this transition without going to jail, getting a DUI, or having any plastic surgery on her lips. 

So our generation transitioned from worshipping Hilary Duff in the early 2000’s to becoming obsessed with Hillary Clinton. In fifth grade my class had to do biography book reports. I asked my teacher if I could write mine on Hillary Clinton. She said, “Why don’t you write it on someone dead?” Even in 2007, I knew that Hillary Clinton was presidential material, even if she had to lose to President Obama first to get the respect she deserves. Hillary Clinton is an even stronger role model for us collegiates because she distinguishes herself from the controlling men around her. She balances her duties as a wife, mother, and now grandmother while trying to make our country the best it can be. She has proven that women are powerful human beings who can stay strong when men do stupid, idiotic, imbecile things, even if one of those men happened to be the President of the United States. 

Lizzie McGuire, Hilary Duff, and Hillary Clinton all stay true to themselves and do not change themselves for men or anyone else. As Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton so lovingly said in the sketch with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, “I urge the media to grow a pair, and if not, I can lend you mine.” Though the media will continue to scrutinize Hillary Clinton’s every move, she will not back down, speak her mind, and prove to America that she can change the world by being herself.