When Asked Why 'Wife' Was First In Her Twitter Bio, Hillary Clinton Had A Surprising Reply

"When you put it like that ..."

The first word in Hillary Clinton's Twitter bio is currently "wife" — but it won't be for long. This past weekend, at the PEN World Voices Festival, Clinton was asked why this was the first word chosen to describe her on the social media platform. Upon hearing what it meant for other women to see it, she vowed to change it.


Clinton was asked this important query by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian feminist writer who is best known for having penned novels, such as 2003's Purple Hibiscus, 2006's Half of a Yellow Sun, and 2013's Americanah, in addition to short stories, essays, poems, and plays. In 2008, Adichie was given the MacArthur Genius Grant. Clinton was present at this event to give the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write lecture.

As of now, Clinton's Twitter bio reads: "Wife, mom, grandma, women+kids advocate, FLOTUS, Senator, SecState, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, 2016 presidential candidate." It's a collection of identifiers she gives herself, positions she has held, and accomplishments she has made, along with a bit of fun to balance out the seriousness. While there's nothing wrong with this bio, per se, it's the order of it all that Adichie said bothered her the most.

"The first word that describes you is 'wife,' " Adichie said, alluding to the fact that Clinton's history-making achievements are buried deep in the bio. "And then I think it's 'mom' and then 'grandmother.' When I saw that, I have to confess I felt just a little bit upset. Then I looked at your husband's Twitter account and the first word was not 'husband.'"

What Adichie's point boils down to is why Clinton — someone whose list of accomplishments is a mile long — has chosen to "first identify in relation to her husband." It falls in line with a double standard that exists between women and men in regards to how women may change their last name after marriage, how they balance everything (being a mom, wife, professional, and more), as well as how they present themselves online, especially one who inspires so many. These, of course, are generally things men don't have to concern themselves with, at lest not as much.

"When you put it like that, I'm going to change it," she responded, prompting the audience to cheer. "There's always this internal conflict when you are very committed to your relationships, your family, and your identity, and how you both feel about yourself and you describe yourself."

Clinton did refer to two other women and how they defined themselves. The first is the late First Lady Barbara Bush, who Clinton explained during a speech in the '90s said that your professional accomplishments don't mean much if you're not someone who values relationships, that it shouldn't be an either/or. Then there is Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who recently took her newborn to work, proving that she can integrate all aspects of life and not have to sacrifice anything. Clinton, for one, has taken both of these points of view to heart.

As of publishing this piece, Clinton has yet to update her Twitter bio. That said, Adichie noted that there's something that will always be missing that she should have been able to include: "damn good president."

(H/T: Bustle | Glamour | Vulture)

Cover image: mark reinstein / Shutterstock.com


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