Hillary Clinton aims for the human touch by opening up about sexism and her public profile in Humans of New York interview

Ms Clinton addresses the perception that she is 'cold' and 'unemotional' with a story about the time she sat a law school entrance exam

Feliks Garcia
New York
Friday 09 September 2016 01:05 BST
Humans of New York/Facebook
Humans of New York/Facebook

Hillary Clinton has tackled head on the popular criticism that she is “cold” and “unemotional”, explaining that the perception stems from behaviour she had to adopt as a young woman confronted by sexism.

In an interview with Humans of New York – a photography blog that features portraits of mostly New Yorkers coupled with a personal anecdote – Ms Clinton described a moment when she was taking an entrance exam for law school.

She and another female friend were the only two women in the room, the Democratic presidential nominee said, when the male applicants began to heckle them. Dodging cries of “You don’t need to be here” and “There’s plenty else you can do”, Ms Clinton said she had to simply keep her head down and focus on the test.

Hillary Clinton's Life Story - Narrated by Morgan Freeman

“I know that I can be perceived as aloof or cold or unemotional,” she said. “But I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions. And that’s a hard path to walk. Because you need to protect yourself, you need to keep steady, but at the same time you don’t want to seem ‘walled off’.”

Ms Clinton continued: “And sometimes I think I come across more in the ‘walled off arena’. And if I create that perception, then I take responsibility.

“I don’t view myself as cold or unemotional. And neither do my friends. And neither does my family. But if that sometimes is the perception I create, then I can’t blame people for thinking that.”

Allies of the former Secretary of State have spoken out against the apparent double standard that exists in how she is criticised, as opposed to her male opponent, Donald Trump.

Following the NBC Commander-in-Chief Forum, Republican chairman Reince Preibus lashed out against Ms Clinton for not smiling during her appearance. “Hillary Clinton was angry + defensive the entire time – no smile and uncomfortable – upset that she was caught wrongly sending our secrets,” he wrote on Twitter.

Emily’s List, a women's rights super-PAC supporting Ms Clinton, fired back at Mr Priebus.

“Talk less, smile more. Yes, that was the gist of Reince Priebus’s critique of Hillary Clinton’s performance in last night’s national security forum,” spokesperson Alexandra De Luca said. “Women are justifiably upset. First Trump said that Hillary Clinton doesn’t look 'presidential' (because she’s a woman, Donald?), and then the RNC Chair criticised her for taking a discussion of our national security seriously.”

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