Hillary Clinton Ignited a Feminist Movement. By Losing.

Amy Chozick in The New York Times:

ClintonHillary Clinton, the first woman who had a real shot at the presidency, has finally set off a national awakening among women. The only catch? She did it by losing. In the year since a stoic Mrs. Clinton watched as Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president, a fervor has swept the country, prompting women’s marches, a record number of female candidates running for office and an outcry about sexual assault at all levels of society. Even those women who disliked Hillary-the-candidate or who backed her opponent Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary now credit the indignities and cynicism Mrs. Clinton faced in the 2016 election and her unexpected loss to Mr. Trump, an alleged sexual abuser, for the current moment. We wouldn’t be here — black gowns at the Golden Globes, sexual assault victims invited to the State of the Union address, a nationwide, woman-led voter registration drive timed to the anniversary of the Women’s March — without Mrs. Clinton’s defeat.

And yet, for Mrs. Clinton, it’s the latest — and perhaps last — cruel twist in a public life full of them. Her loss to Mr. Trump helped ignite the kind of movement she’d once been poised to lead but that she now mostly watches from the sidelines. Ever since she wielded a bullhorn at Wellesley in the late 1960s and later instructed her classmates to “practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible,” Hillary Rodham seemed destined to empower women. But over the next several decades, the promise of that young activist collided with the realities of presidential elections and her husband’s personal scandals.

Mrs. Clinton — scarred by the blowback for saying she chose to pursue a career rather than staying home to bake cookies, chastised by her husband’s West Wing aides for declaring that “women’s rights are human rights” in Beijing in 1995 and warned by her 2016 campaign chairman to avoid talking about glass ceilings — came to adopt a more tentative embrace of how she talked about her gender.

More here.

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