Hillary Clinton to Women: Ask Yourselves, Why Aren’t You Feminists?

Hillary Lena screengrab

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton rhetorically asked women why they are not feminists as part of her interview with Girls star Lena Dunham.

Clinton’s interview kicked off the launch of Dunham’s new “Lenny Letter” email publication, which also ran a piece in which women describe their illegal abortions.

In the interview, suspected rape-hoaxer Dunham asked Clinton if she is a feminist.

“Yes. Absolutely. I’m always a little bit puzzled when any woman, of whatever age but particularly a young woman, says something like, ‘Well, I believe in equal rights, but I’m not a feminist.’ Well, a feminist is by definition someone who believes in equal rights!,” Clinton said.

I’m hoping that people will not be afraid to say that doesn’t mean you hate men. It doesn’t mean that you want to separate out the world so that you’re not part of ordinary life. That’s not what it means at all! It just means that we believe women have the same rights as men, politically, culturally, socially, economically. That’s what it means. And if you don’t believe that about yourself as a woman, please, go ask yourself: Why? What is holding you back? And it’s not going to be good for you as a woman to be denying the fact that you are entitled to equal rights. And so, yes, I’m a feminist, and I say it whenever I’m asked.

Dunham lobbed some other softball questions at Clinton, allowing the candidate to talk about her experiences allegedly gutting salmon in Alaska for one summer, about her student-debt relief plan, and about her marriage to Bill. Clinton made sure to express her doubts about her own marriage, and, by extension, about the institution itself.

“I was terrified about losing my identity and getting lost in the wake of Bill’s force-of-nature personality,” Clinton said.

I actually turned him down twice when he asked me to marry him. That was a large part of the ambivalence and the worry that I wouldn’t necessarily know who I was or what I could do if I got married to someone who was going to chart a path that he was incredibly clear about. My ideas were much more inchoate. I wasn’t sure how to best harness my energies. So I was searching.

Clinton, who grew up in privilege in Chicago, threw some shade on Arkansas, where she served as First Lady for more than a decade.

“At every step along the way, I never could have predicted what I would have ended up doing,” Clinton said. “If somebody had said when I was 20 or 21, ‘Are you gonna marry somebody from Arkansas? And you’re gonna teach law school at the university there, and you’re gonna move there, and, you know, that’s where your daughter’s gonna be born …’ It would have never been in my mind. It’s just not something that I had ever imagined.”

Dunham’s Lenny Letter has been low on the comedy quotient so far. Prior to the Clinton interview, the site previewed a short story written by Dunham and a piece in which various women discuss getting abortions before Roe v. Wade. The mother of Dunham’s Lenny co-founder Jenni Konner said that her abortion “turned out well.”

“It turned out well. There it was,” Konner wrote.


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