What the Twitter Bios of Hillary and Bill Clinton Say About “Having it All”
1:15 pm, June 24th | by Kirsten Murray
Hillary Clinton has mastered the art of the Twitter bio, debuting a case study in awesome that might even have triggered Claire McCaskill’s way early 2016 presidential endorsement. In no more than 160 characters, Hillary’s bio conveys family values, an impressive resume and world-class wit. Playing Ouija board with Hillary’s genius bio is fun but it still doesn’t tell us anything definitive about her political future. (She already said that was TBD anyway.) Stick her bio next to her husband Bill’s for a little side-by-side comparison though and you get an interesting look at how high-profile women use family role descriptors in their Twitter bios and high-profile men don’t.
Bill sums himself up in two roles: Founder of the Clinton Foundation and fortysecond president. BAM. No mention of being a proud husband and dad. On the other hand, Hillary’s bio kicks off with “wife” and “mother” and then launches into her impressive career highlights like “lawyer”, “SecState” and the best-ever “glass ceiling cracker”.
Of course the argument can be made that Bill and Hillary’s Twitter bios have nothing to do with gender roles and everything to do with politics – Bill has already been president and Hillary still wants the job. However, a scan across some other high-profile Twitter users says that this isn’t a one-off case but a trend in the differences between how super successful male and female users choose to describe themselves.
Bill Gates mentions his foundation work and “other interests” while Melinda Gates describes herself as “Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, businesswoman, and mother.” Warren Buffet is a dad but his bio only states that he is “Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway”. Sheryl Sandberg’s bio includes “mother of 2, wife of awesome guy, friend to many great women” alongside “Facebook”.
It seems that no matter how high women climb up the career ladder our most important relationships continue to be front and center in how we define ourselves. Does this mean that men don’t think their family roles are important? No. But it does highlight that “having it all” means something very different for women than it does for men.