Gallantry, like common sense, dignity, good manners and truth-telling, long ago disappeared from public life in America, so Hillary Clinton is asking for a rough ride if she runs for president in 2016. She doesn’t have to look beyond the other side of her bed to see who did more than anyone else to push those homely virtues aside.
Hillary embraced militant feminism a long time ago, and the militant feminists scorned gallantry a long time ago, along with dignity, good manners and even consistent truth-telling, as remnants of a culture organized by men.
Still, if forced to choose between feminist rhetoric and feminine privilege, she might choose the perks. Most women would. No woman wants to see herself described as “a little long in the tooth”, or read a media analysis of her wrinkles, or study the photographs and video of her face for clues to an emergency reclamation project.
Nature can be cruel. John F. Kennedy, a good Democrat for his time who would be read out of the party of the present day, famously remarked that “life is unfair.” It is, in fact, unfair that women are judged, and often severely, by looks and age. But that, alas, is how it is. Women get lots of points for looks when they’re 25, or 35, or even 45, but eventually they start paying the piper. Arithmetic writes the rules for everyone. I would change them if I could. As a young man, I fancied “older women,” and one morning I woke up and all the older women were younger than me. Mere men are subject to arithmetic, too.