Hillary Clinton tells Mary J Blige it is hard for women to be 'tough and likeable'

The Democratic nominee sat down and spoke for 30 minutes

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The Independent Online

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has said it is difficult for women to be be to be perceived as both tough and likable and said she tried to stop critics getting “inside her head”. She said women were constantly being judged by their looks.

In an interview with the R&B singer Mary J Blige, that was broadcast on Friday, Ms Clinton said women were forced to try and overcome thousands of years of tradition and culture.

“I don’t know why it’s so hard, but, you know, I think it’s rooted in, you know, tens of thousands of years of how people’s lives have been defined, what it’s meant to be a woman or a man and how society was organised,” she said in an interview that was part of Apple Music’s The 411 with Mary J Blige.

“And so for women to be assuming leading roles in business or entertainment or politics or whatever it might be, it still is not fully understood because there’s no blueprint for doing it. Everybody comes to it differently.”

Ms Clinton has suffered no shortage of harsh comments from her opponents as she seeks to become America’s first female president. 

One criticism - and which is not directed at her male rivals - is that her voice can sounds “shrieky” when she addresses crowds. Her choice of wardrobe is also routinely scrutinised.


Ms Clinton’s interview with the musician hit the headlines earlier this week when a snippet of the recoding was released and showed Blige singing to the Democratic candidate. The song, American Skin (41 Shots), by Bruce Springsteen, was written about a 1999 police shooting in New York. 

“This is how I believe people feel,” Blige told Clinton about recent killings of unarmed black men by police. 

Ms Clinton said she had been heartbroken by the stream of deaths.

“There needs to be a greater opening of our hearts to one another, we’ve got to put ourselves in each other’s shoes, feel the pain that a mother and a father feels when their son and daughter can go out the door, and they don’t know what’s going to happen to them,” said Ms Clinton, who has called for criminal justice reform. 

“I particularly want white people to understand what that's like, and feel like they must be part of the solution.”

Politico said that in the pre-taped interview, Ms Clinton acknowledged that not every girl and boy wants to run for president but maintained that she wants those children “to feel like there are no barriers in America” and chastised people who “point fingers and scapegoat others,” a likely reference to her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“And so people are always judging how we look and how we talk and all the rest of it. I get all of that, but one of the reasons I’m so proud to be running for president is because I wanna break that highest and hardest glass ceiling,” she said.

“So I know that I’m under a lot of scrutiny and a lot of attention is being paid to me and I do the best I can. That’s all I can do. I can only be myself. And I hope, though, by running this campaign - and I hope winning this campaign - it’s going to really change people’s minds and it will open doors for a lot of people, too.”