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May and Clinton: A World Ordered by Women

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

Something has dirtied our political climate. A question that plagues many of our minds has been, how did we make such a categorically disastrous decision to leave the European Union. Or, perhaps, how did we make such a categorically disastrous decision to let Donald Trump get this far in the American Presidential Campaign?

In an article by Vanity Fair, writer Henry Porter claims Theresa May “does a good impression of the White Queen’s surreal certainty in Alice and Wonderland”. Known for her tag-line, “Brexit means Brexit,” Theresa May has reigned supreme as leader of the Conservative Party. A face of stoicism and rigidity, May has been a political sentry in a national deeply shaken.

As “The White Queen” descends into 10 Downing Street, parallels are inevitable and irrefutable between May and Hilary Clinton. Both experienced with maneuvering and operating power systems, the two women have been well-established within the political scene for years. While they may not have been everyone’s first (or second) choice, there is a sense of united certainty that both women know the job and are retain some degree of lucidness at a time of political upheaval.

Skilled yet somewhat militant, criticized for their lack of oratorical charisma yet praised for their work ethic and political proficiency, May and Clinton form a tempting narrative of women “sorting out” the mess of their political contemporaries. While May is tough with her male colleagues, Clinton is single-handedly fighting Donald Trump’s appeal as the machismo “businessman” president. His self-interested plea for “straight-talking” and “no-nonsense negotiation” ironically threatens the economy and would lead America further into debt.

(Photo Credit: www.sheknows.com)

The radicalism demonstrated in British and American culture has pulled well-established women, like May and Clinton, up in the ranks as solid forces amidst a fluctuating political landscape. A tough sense of grittiness combined with an awkward political presence seems to define both women as many of the public are left equally curious about how the women will govern once in charge.

Not without controversy (May’s opposition of gay marriage because of religious views and Clinton’s e-mail leaks), both have garnered international applause because of their emphasis on inclusivity and their level-headed approach to difficult social issues, despite their own personal beliefs. While both have struggled, arguably successfully, in navigating a complex social environment, Clinton and May have the same unfortunate battle against sexist impositions on their character. Criticized when seeming overtly ambitious, yet praised when appearing hardworking and diligent, media representation of the pair has made it clear that top jobs in politics are always more complicated for women.

May has even been criticized for her lack of children and Clinton criticized for her “hormonal” reactions to Trump. But regardless of May and Clinton’s personality traits, it is increasingly evident that women cannot simply campaign, they have to answer questions with a conscious awareness of neither appearing excessively ambitious and Trump-like yet also not overly sensitive and ‘maternal’.

While their popularity remains uncertain, what remains clear is that both Clinton and May must master the balancing act of appearance verses action, reputation verses image.

Zoe Thompson

Bristol '18

President of Her Campus Bristol.
Ilka Kemp - Hall is Features Editor of HC Bristol. Currently studying English Literature at the University of Bristol.