Meryl Streep starts this introduction of Hillary Clinton by mentioning how tough we can be on women. That’s not sour grapes. It’s supported by extensive research. Our choices in clothes, facial expressions, gestures, and walk, to name a few, are subject to far more criticism than typically levied at men.
Our choices are “marked,” as Deborah Tannen has pointed out. We are punished socially for tooting our own horns — and so we often start demurring at a young age and continue to do so during adulthood. Streep reminds us of this. She doesn’t say or imply “poor women.” Not at all. She simply points out that it’s tough being a female role model. We expect so much. We notice so much that isn’t to our particular liking.
That doesn’t stop Hillary Clinton. On that alone she is a role model for girls and women. You should view this video and perhaps ask yourself if you’ve fallen into the habit common in our society, across the world, of being especially critical of small choices women make that shouldn’t matter at all. Then take that knowledge to your work and volunteer endeavors. If you’re a woman, let some of these criticisms roll off. If you’re a man, try not to let the cut of a woman’s hair or the choice of her outfit influence your impression for long. Look deeper. That’s the challenge we all face with gender biased perceptions. Meryl Streep issued a much needed wake-up call on how they can inadvertently cloud our judgment and distract us from seeing what truly matters.