Are We Seriously Talking About Hillary's Hormones?

‘Time’ magazine says the presidential candidate is “biologically primed to be a leader.” It's not like she has any experience or anything.
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Imagine for a moment, the worst sound on Earth. A combination of metal on metal, nails on a chalkboard, and dozens of car alarms all going off at the same time. That’s the sound that screamed through my head while I was reading an article on Time magazine’s website that explained why Hillary Clinton is “biologically primed to be a leader.” 

You’re hearing it now, too, aren’t you?

Much has been made Hillary’s age. If she were to win the election, she’d be 69 years old when sworn into office; the second oldest president to be inaugurated. Republican Saint Ronald Reagan is the oldest. The article, written by Dr. Julie Holland, is well-intentioned, I suppose. She dismisses concerns about Hillary’s age by positing that “biologically speaking, postmenopausal women are ideal candidates for leadership.” She then goes on to explain the science behind estrogen and how once levels drop after menopause, the hormones …

I have to stop. 

I have to stop because this is bullshit. 

Hillary Rodham Clinton graduated from Yale Law School. The National Law Journal listed her as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America not once, but twice. She served as First Lady. She was a United States senator. She was Secretary of State. She’s been one of Time magazine’s most 100 influential people in the world nine times. She’s been named by the Gallup Poll as America’s most admired woman 19 times. She’s accomplished all of these things and hundreds more, and there’s an article on this magazine’s website calculating her estrogen levels in relation to becoming President of the United States. An article reassuring the nation that her decision making won’t be ruled by her hormones.

I need to lie down. 

But before I do that, let me ask a rhetorical question. Has there ever been a discussion regarding the hormone levels of any other presidential candidate? A cursory Google search does return several results for “John McCain” and “hormones.” But the hormones referenced are the ones contained in Human Growth Hormone (HGH), something Senator McCain thinks the NFL should test its players for. “Mitt Romney” and “hormones? That search return focuses on a CNN article that was written during the 2012 election which asked “Do hormones drive women’s votes?” (OMFG.) The article received so much backlash, CNN pulled it from their site. I can’t possibly imagine why. 

You don’t hear a lot said about the ages of Hillary’s opponents. There have been occasional references to Jeb Bush’s age (62), but only for point of comparison’s sake to his younger opposition. The other candidates are in their 40s and early 50s. This should be cause for great concern. You see, after age 30, most men experience a gradual decrease in testosterone. With that decrease comes a decline in sex drive. According to WebMD, men experiencing a decrease in testosterone often feel “excessively fatigued, weaker, and depressed.” Some begin to experience erectile dysfunction. And we all know that there are few things a man hates more than the inability to get it up. 

Are these men “biologically primed” to lead our nation? Should a sexually frustrated man have the ability to launch a nuclear missile? What about the fatigue factor? President’s schedules are notoriously intense, leaving little room for rest. Does Rand Paul have the stamina to make it through a G8 summit? Does Ted Cruz have enough testosterone to respond in a crisis? Or will he nod off in the Oval Office, longing for the days when he was virile and could get an erection on demand? 

Other than in this column, we’re unlikely to ever hear anything about the testosterone levels of the men running for office. But I’m certain Dr. Holland’s column won’t be the last one written about Hillary’s biological time clock. And that’s because women, despite their accomplishments, are continually reduced to their biology. Whether it’s their looks, their weight, or in this particular case, their estrogen levels, our society is obsessed with the appearance of women. As the 2016 campaign rolls on, we will hear more about Hillary’s wardrobe than we will about her about her plans to bridge the inequality gap. The slightest change in her hairstyle will launch a thousand thinkpieces. “Hillary’s Bangs: 57 Stylists Tell Us What It Means For America.” And I honestly don’t think the media will survive if she wears something other than a pantsuit. “Hillary Ditches Pantsuit for Separates. What is She Hiding?!?” 

Assuming Hillary gets the Democratic nomination, we have almost 20 months of this to look forward to. 20 months of convincing the world that one of the most accomplished women in history won’t be ruled by her hormones if she becomes President of the United States. 

We all need to lie down. 

 

Gina Loukareas is a Boston-based writer, social media strategist and activist. She's one of the co-founders of A is For..., a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting reproductive rights.
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