It might only be made up of a handful of words, but as anyone with an active Twitter account knows, putting together a bio for the social media platform isn't easy. There's an unspoken pressure to make every single word count. On Tuesday, outlets like CNN began reporting that Hillary Clinton made an update to her Twitter bio — and it's a pretty big one. Better yet, it was inspired by the advice of a fellow feminist: Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
At the beginning of the week, Clinton's Twitter bio read, "Wife, mom, grandma, women+kids advocate, FLOTUS, Senator, SecState, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, 2016 presidential candidate." But after speaking with Adichie, she's switched it up to say, "2016 Democratic Nominee, SecState, Senator, hair icon. Mom, Wife, Grandma x2, lawyer, advocate, fan of walks in the woods & standing up for our democracy."
As you might have noticed, "wife" is no longer the first word. Instead, in her new bio, Clinton prioritizes defining herself by her political career. It all started just a couple of days prior when Clinton sat down with Adichie at the PEN World Voices Festival. There, she was confronted with a question from Adichie about her bio:
In your Twitter account, the first word that describes you is "wife." And then I think it’s "mom," and then it’s "grandmother." And when I saw that, I have to confess that I felt just a little bit upset. And then I went and I looked at your husband’s Twitter account, and the first word was not "husband."
Clinton whole-heartedly accepted Adichie's point by responding that she'd have to change it. And that's exactly what she did. Their talk begins around the 42 minute mark.
Though she did eventually change her bio, Clinton also made a valid point about why she initially chose to put "wife" as the first word. In fact, she used the late Barbara Bush to illustrate it, Jezebel reported. Essentially, Clinton recalled hearing a speech made by Bush at Wellesley, during which she suggested that personal achievements mean nothing if you don't "value relationships." Clinton pointed out, however, that women shouldn't have to choose between one priority or the other. Women should be able to prioritize both personal relationships and individual goals to whichever extent they wish.
It shouldn’t be either/or. It should be that if you are someone who is defining yourself by what you do and what you accomplish, and that is satisfying, then more power to you. That is how you should be thinking about your life, and living it. If you are someone who primarily defines your life in relationship to others, then more power to you, and live that life the way Barbara Bush lived that life, and how proud she was to do it.
But I think most of us as women in today’s world end up in the middle. Wanting to have relationships, wanting to invest in them, nurture them, but also pursuing our own interests.
It's possible, though, that Adichie's question was inspired by something else entirely. Chicago Tribune reporter Heidi Stevens offered an insightful perspective to help explain why she believes Adichie confronted Clinton about the bio in the first place. "But I think what Adichie was getting at was our national need to soften and maternalize Hillary Clinton," she writes. Clinton's political expertise has been slighted over and over again, and her loss during the 2016 election is case-in-point.
As people demand that Clinton quietly sinks into the background following the 2016 presidential election, they're sweeping her accomplishments and political experience aside. Though Clinton herself has made it clear she's not going anywhere, now her Twitter bio does the same by putting "2016 Democratic Nominee" front and center.