Hillary’s debate win is a win for women

By Jessica Colopy

I think [Donald Trump] just criticized me for preparing for this debate…. You know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.” 

With roaring applause in a supposed-to-be silent auditorium, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won her first presidential debate Sept. 26 against Republican candidate Trump. After a slow start, Clinton snatched victory about halfway through the debate when she shut Trump down with her comment about preparation.

Though post-debate internet surveys awarded Trump the win, including a Sept. 26 Time Magazine online survey that quoted 54 percent in favor of Trump, these surveys can easily be rigged with specially-designed bots and repeat voting. Scientific polls found the opposite to be true. CNN’s national post-debate poll, which conducts individual interviews, concluded that Clinton won 62 percent of the vote.

In the first 26 minutes of the debate, Trump interrupted Clinton 25 times, and by the end it was up to 51, according a Sept. 26 Vox News article. While many might say this is just how presidential debates work, Twitter users did not take this lightly. Phrases like  “manterrupting”—the unnecessary interruption of a woman by a man—began to trend among users, particularly young women.

However, each time she was interrupted, Clinton handled it with grace and poise.

She even showed awareness of the unfair situation she was in by saying, “I feel like, by the end of the evening, I’m going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened.”

Trump responded with a snarky, “Why not?” But the audience didn’t care; Clinton had made her mark.

Women are taught by society that any excessive or obvious display of positive or negative emotion will make them “too cold” or “too soft”—always “too” something. 

Trump has said before that Clinton doesn’t have a presidential image but tried to reframe his earlier insult by insisting he was talking about her “stamina.”

Trump’s use of the word “stamina” was code for: “She’s a woman, I am a man. I am physically and mentally superior.” 

This attitude is common, despite the fact that Clinton has experience as a first lady, a U.S. senator and secretary of state, while Trump has no public service experience on his resume, and his business experience is subject to much controversy.

Whenever Clinton speaks publicly about her family, she is deemed too feminine or soft. When she is decisive and political, she is too harsh and cold. Clinton said it herself in a Sept. 8 interview with popular social media page Humans of New York. 

“I know that I can be perceived as aloof or cold or unemotional. But, I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions,” she said in the interview. “That’s a hard path to walk because you need to protect yourself; you need to keep steady but, at the same time, you don’t want to seem ‘walled off.’”

Clinton has been subject to unfair standards throughout her career, but she learned how to play the game. During the debate, she was neither too defensive nor too quiet—she embodied the perfect balance.

By playing the very system that disadvantages her, Clinton won the debate. If she continues on this path, she might win the election and show women they should never consider themselves “too” anything.