Hillary And Chelsea Clinton Won't Ignore The Threats Women In Politics Face

Former First Lady and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is no stranger to criticism. Neither is her daughter Chelsea Clinton, who was only a freshman in college when her father's sexual misconduct scandal shook the White House — and the nation. Now, they are speaking out against the violent threats, abuse, and unjust treatment women in politics face.

Whether it stems from the press or colleagues, female politicians face bias and are held to higher standards than their male counterparts. Hillary dealt with plenty of blatant sexism on the political mainstage during her historic run for the U.S. presidency during the 2016 election. Often criticized by running mate Donald Trump and right-leaning media, Hillary's livelihood was at stake during the tumultuous election. From hanging look-alike dolls to bullseyes traced over her face, the former Secretary of State worried not only for her own safety but what this lack of accountability meant for politicians in the same position.

Hillary told Variety that allowance of such misconduct discourages women from pursuing careers in politics. "How do you tell young women to go into politics when there is so much pushback and threats of violence? It's a big issue, and people are not taking it seriously enough."

The plight of female politicians

The Clinton family has been in the public spotlight since former Senator Bill Clinton's ascent to the White House in 1993. At just 13 years old, the first daughter was criticized heavily by the media, even for her looks. Chelsea still recalls the hurtful memory of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh comparing her to a dog, and how she overcame public scrutiny. "Thankfully I had grown up in public life and knew that having thick skin was a survival skill," she said (via ABC). Still, the verbal abuse does not stop at the news. More recently, violent threats have even been made against her children.

Chelsea urges society to do a better job at supporting and protecting female politicians, recounting once again the threats of abuse she witnessed firsthand. "As a daughter, because I can't turn off that part of my reality, the relentless, gruesome imagery of my mom being hung or burned at the stake," she explained to Variety. "The fact that that was not answered and shifted aside opened the aperture for even more violent imagery and more violent language around every woman in politics today."

Former President Donald Trump is known for making bold claims about Hillary and other competitors, misinforming millions of voters in the pursuit of support. This reckless assault of character extends to various left-leaning politicians such as Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, a young congresswoman who is outspoken against Trump's taunts.

Hillary and Chelsea making change

The dynamic mother-daughter duo is taking strides to uplift fellow women in politics. Hillary and Chelsea share a close relationship, which allows them to work together toward the same goal. They co-published "The Book of Gutsy Women" in 2019, detailing the stories of inspiring trailblazers throughout history. The two even traveled the world together in a subsequent Apple TV+ documentary series titled "Gutsy," where they aim to highlight women making a difference in their communities.

Since coping with the loss of the 2016 election, Hillary has stepped down from active political roles and focused her efforts on philanthropy. She is pursuing projects such as Hillaryland and Onward Together, which aim to support and mobilize grassroots progressive organizations.

"I was delighted that so many women ran, because we need to break the myth of the token woman," Hillary referred Variety to the post-2016 political landscape. "The more women who actually run, who are mixing it up at the highest levels of politics, the better it is."