If Clinton becomes USs first female chairwoman, she wont be the only one breaking a gender obstacle: her husband will step into a role no man has held before
Rolled oats propelled Hillary Clinton to victory in 1992. They were the game-changing ingredient in her recipefor chocolate chip cookies, which she submitted to Family Circle magazine in a bake-off against then-incumbent first lady Barbara Bush.
The bake-off was an attempt to appeal to stay-at-home moms following her controversial response to California governor Jerry Browns criticism that she owed her professional success to her husband, Bill. I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had tea, she told a reporter in a soundbite that was reported around the world. But what I decided to do was fulfill my profession. Many women responded with outrage, and perhaps thats why, shortly thereafter, Clinton participated in the traditional Family Circle first lady bake-off. And won.
Clintons cookies are good: my best friends mom used to make them for her school lunches. No doubt Hillary could have won any number of bake-offs with her recipe, but politics have paid off far more for her: in less than a year, she may be the first female president of the United State. But if that happens, she wont be the only one violating a gender barrier: her husband Bill will step into a role no human has ever held before. So what kind of first lady will Bill Clinton be?( Besides, of course, a manly one ).
The role of first lady is officially unofficial: theres no constitutional requirement that the president have a partner, and the person occupying the role has never received a salary. The task has evolved over the years. In the 18 th and 19 th century, the first lady was primarily expected to be a lovely and capable hostess, just like any spouse of a distinguished, wealthy American man. These women were expected to bake cookies, host teas, select china patterns, manage household staff and smile graciously at fancy dinners. In the 20th century, however, things began to shift, and some first ladies began to dig in to more substantial issues than menus and flower arrangements.
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