Friday, April 18, 2014

Hillary Clinton, a Grandmother-To-Be! Will She Now Not Run For President?

This is a silly post, suitable for a Friday.  USAToday wrote about the pregnancy of Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton:

Former president Bill Clinton and his wife have made no secret of their wish for a grandchild. It's unclear how Chelsea's pregnancy will affect Hillary Clinton, who is considering a race for president in 2016.
At the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos, Bill Clinton told that audience, "I would like to have a happy wife, and she won't be unless she's a grandmother. It's something she wants more than she wanted to be president."

Being a grandfather doesn't seem to have affected past presidents, in terms of their professional ambitions, but in the case of a female politician, the effects of impending "grandmotherhood" are "unclear." 

Even though all this is silly (and naturally congratulations are due to all concerned!), it's worth pointing out that those silly statements have their roots in gendered ideas.  For instance, being a mother is seen more clearly as both a relationship AND a job than being a father, and some of that attaches itself to the perceived difference between grandmothers and grandfathers, too.  Perhaps USAToday imagines that Hillary Clinton will now want to do more babysitting than presidenting?

Then there's the idea that because Bill Clinton once said that his wife wants to be a grandmother more than she wanted to be president she might now be happy and satisfied and no longer interested in running for the president of the USA. That either-or thinking is not used for male politicians who can be both fathers and presidents and grandfathers and presidents.  Indeed, those who don't have any offspring or offspring of their offspring are regarded with slight suspicion.