The Vagenda

When Emer Met Hillary…

…on an astral plane.
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently appeared at a Bangladeshi press conference with her hair tied back in a scrunchie and her glasses on. Photographic evidence of the event also indicates that Clinton neglected to apply state-sanctioned levels of make-up for the occasion. Bangladeshis took to the streets to protest this assault on their national dignity. The world media backed the irate South Asians, agreeing that while it’s cute Hil-dog likes to run with the wolves, she’s kidding herself if she thinks we’re going to take anything she says or does seriously unless we can pleasurably fantasise about her nibbling on our jibbly bits. She must be hot. She owes it to us.
I tried to arrange an interview with Clinton to discuss this important matter. However, she was a bit busy during her waking hours, what with being Secretary of State of the most powerful democracy of the twenty-first century and all. Luckily, Clinton agreed to meet me on the astral plane for some somnambulant commentary on her recent faux-pas.
3.30am astral plane time


I watch as Hilary Clinton flies towards Feminist Heaven on a large blue swan. She parks in a lake of unpolluted equality, and strides powerfully towards the table I have secured for us at Feminist Heaven’s finest co-operative, not for profit café.Emer: Nice to meet you Hil-dog.


Hilary: Why are you calling me Hil-Dog?
Emer: South Park.


Hilary: Oh. That episode of South Park was pretty upsetting.
Emer: What? That episode of South Park was gold! Where you have a ginormous ass, and the Russians hide a nuke up your snizz? And then your advisor bravely volunteers to ‘go in’ to remove it, but he gets eaten by an age-old evil that lives in your vagina? Ah ha ha ha ha.


Hilary: That’s not funny.
Emer: Oh come on: South Park is an equal opportunities offender.


Hilary: It goes pretty easy on Obama.
Emer: Competitive, aren’t we?


Hilary: Screw South Park. What do you do Emer?
Emer: Bit of this, bit of that. Working as a research assistant. Write some plays and stories. Last week I was all over the global tabloid media because I don’t shave my armpits.


Hilary: That’s news?
Emer: Apparently.


Hilary: Oh yeah, I think I heard about it actually. I was browsing my favourite misogynistic internet site,, and I found some loltastic commentary on your wild and loose underarm moose. One guy said he wants to bang you from behind with jagged stick. Ah ha ha ha ha.
Emer: That’s not funny.


Hilary: Chill out: that’s just the kind of shit peeps say on the internet. 
Emer: Well we’re not here to talk about my be-carpeted crevices Hillary, we’re here to talk about your shock decision not to spend approximately one twenty-third of your waking life making yourself as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Is it true that you expect the public to believe you fit for office when the lines around your eyes indicate that you occasionally laugh (like a harlot) and your hastily pulled back hair is clear evidence that you’d rather spend fifteen minutes in the morning calling your loved ones than blowdrying yourself sexy?


Hilary: As I said in interview with CNN’s Jill Dougherty “I feel so relieved to be at the stage I’m at in my life right now. Because, you know, if I want to wear my glasses, I’m wearing my glasses. If I want to wear my hair back, I’m pulling my hair back. At some point, it’s just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention. And if others want to worry about it, I let them do the worrying for a change. It doesn’t drive me crazy anymore. It’s just not something I think is important anymore.”
Emer: I’m sorry Hil-do… I mean Hilary, but do you really mean to imply that the way you look has absolutely no bearing on the way you do your job?


Hilary: Yes.
Emer: Oh. I was under the impression that nobody will take a woman seriously unless she’s darn purty. I read about this completely scientific and rigorous study recently which conclusively proves that women are judged to be less suspicious and thick if they’re caked in slap.


Hilary: That survey was funded by Proctor and Gamble.
Emer: So in your professional dealings you haven’t found that people interact with you less respectfully if you neglect to squeeze yourself into a cocktail dress and apply sparkly false eyelashes?


Hilary: No.
Emer: What about high heels? Unimpeded mobility just screams stupid slattern.


Hilary: Maybe some women experience a lack of respect because of their physical appearances, but, being Secretary of State of the most powerful democracy in the modern world, I think folks’d listen to me if I turned up to work wearing only my slippers and a Krusty the Clown mask.
Emer: Okay, they might listen, but they’d listen while clutching their eyes in excruciating pain, scarred forever by the ordeal of having clocked your raspberry ripple skin tones. Is this fair to all the people out there who expect to be slightly aroused by powerful, intelligent women?


Hilary: Nobody expects to be aroused by powerful intelligent women.
Emer: That’s where you’re wrong Hillary. Just recently in the UK a classicist from Cambridge, Mary Beard, came under fire from a restaurant critic, AA Gill, for being too fugly to present a documentary on ancient Greece and Rome. Poor Gill was not receiving the level of willy ache he requires so’s he can concentrate when clever chicks tell him stuff. And is that fair? Gill wanted to learn about ancient Greece! He did! But how could he learn when Mary didn’t even try to make him feel funny in the pants? Would a boob job have been too much to ask for? Hmm? Would eyelash extensions have interfered with Beard’s ability to wax historic? Of course not. She’s a selfish, selfish woman and her refusal to make herself more sexalicious is a crime against adult education.


Hilary: A restaurant critic?
Emer: Yep.


Hilary: Why would a Professor of Classics at Cambridge care what a restaurant critic has to say?
Emer: Cause, like, he called her a minger.


Hilary: What was the documentary like?
Emer: Awesome.


Hilary: Y’know Emer, I don’t often come over all feminist, because feminism ain’t exactly mainstream and I’ve got to keep my electorate sweet, but it’s bullshit that this Beard woman is being judged on her looks. I hope she’s managed to ignore it. Me, I spent a long time caring about all the sexist fuckery, but I’m over it now. I only wish I’d got over it thirty years ago and saved a whole lot of energy. Women are more than the tautness of their tendons and the puffiness of their pouts. And one conclusive way for women to prove this is to stop conforming to all the stupid arbitrary gendered bullshit that the world expects of them. While continuing to kick ass, of course. 
Emer: I never knowed you was a feminist.


Hilary: Yeah. Don’t let the secret out. Anyhow, I got to go. I have another dream meeting over at fundamentalist Christian heaven before I wake up.
Emer: Gross.


Hilary. You’re telling me. Stay Cool Emer. And stop watching so much South Park.
Emer: I can’t promise that Hilary.


As I watch Hil-dog fly over the technicolour horizon of feminist heaven on her majestic swan-steed, I think of the amount of shallow judgemental crap she has had to put up with throughout her career just because she is a woman. I also reflect on the tabloids running stories about the late Mo Mowlam’s weight gain as the late political genius secretly battled cancer. Over the Irish sea in my Hibernian homeland, I think of TD Mick Wallace calling TD Mary Mitchell-O’Connor ‘Miss Piggy’ and getting away with a bit of an old ‘sorry.’ Is it any freakin wonder that only one in five MPs in this country are women (one in 7.5 TDs in Ireland)? Who’s up for a lifetime of having your wrinkles investigated by the media as you try to achieve meaningful social change? Complaints are seen as proof that women can’t handle the heat, when the truth is they’re in a kitchen far hotter than their ungroomed and unobjectified Y-chromo counterparts. And if I sound pissed off that Hil-dog deciding not to prioritise her personal appearance when she must have about thirty billion more important things to do is even news, it’s because I am. Just don’t tell me to ‘calm down dear.’

9 thoughts on “When Emer Met Hillary…

  1. This makes me think of Borgen. Despite the way the programme pushes boundaries (at least outside of Denmark) by depicting a female PM and the problems she encounters in both the workplace and in her private life as a successful career-woman in politics, it’s interesting that Prime Minister Nyborg is still always 100% perfectly made-up…

  2. factual error: even if America ever was a democracy, it’s not now :(

    My only misgivings about including Clinton as a potential feminist is her toxicity as a politian of any gender

  3. …but she might be doing that for her own reasons, as described in an article on here recently about power dressing. At the time I did suggest confidence emerging from ability was more valid than that from appearance but I was slapped down…

  4. I think it absolutely is to do with personal reasons. Speaking for myself, I don’t wear make-up because I feel I ought to or because someone has told me to. I’m perfectly happy to go to the shops or see my boyfriend or go out to my local pub without make-up on (which is one step ahead of a lot of women that I know). However, the thought of going to an important social event, a job interview, or appearing on tv without make-up makes me cringe. Not because my (in)ability to apply eyeliner and blusher has anything to do with my ability to construct a coherent sentence etc, but because wearing make-up (unfortunately) sometimes increases my self-confidence. Which is rather tragic.

  5. I stopped wearing make up day-to-day a few months ago after I realised that the first thing I think when I look in the mirror in the morning is, ‘you look like shit’. I have yet to go on a ‘proper’ night out or attend an interview without make up but I look forward to the day I can because I am starting to see that I have nothing to ‘make-up’ for- this is the way I look and there is nothing wrong with it. For me gaining ‘confidence’ from a veneer of extortionately priced and strangely coloured creams, sticks and powders would not benefit me, it would literally just be a mask, that reinforces other’s views that I am not enough and that I do not deserve to be seen and listened to just the way I am.

  6. Sing it Emily! A few years ago, I felt like I couldn’t leave the house without a significant amount of slap. Last week, I did my PhD Viva in bare-faced chic. Relying on make-up for confidence is wank. Make-up should be a fun option, not a pre-requisite for respectable womanhood.

  7. Perhaps I’ll do my own PhD Viva without make-up. At least the examiner won’t be distracted by the eyeliner running down my face if a stray tear escapes amidst the stress!