I crawled into a cab alone and called my dad after learning our country hadn’t elected its first woman president. My first, tearful, question was: “Can a woman ever be president?” He answered, unflinchingly, “Of course she can. Just not this one.” Always a feminist, he raised me to believe that I could be anything I wanted to be—just like him. But I’m starting to doubt that.
Call Hillary Clinton imperfect if you want, but I can’t stop wondering if a female presidency could ever happen. If not her against him, then who and when?
I don’t want to wait for next time. I don’t want to wonder if it’s going to happen “in my lifetime.” So after carefully observing over the past year and a half, here’s what I’ve concluded are the job requirements for the first woman president:
1. Have a presidential voice.
Yes, the sound of your voice is really important. You can’t be shrill. You can’t yell. But you also can’t be too soft—basically, you need to have the Goldilocks of voices. Or get one. Don’t you dare have vocal fry.
2. Don’t seem dishonest or secretive.
We know that women are held to a higher ethical standard than men, so it’s important not only that you tell zero untruths ever, but also that you come across totally trustworthy—not just for a person (ha!), but for a woman person. You also are never, ever, ever allowed to change your mind.
3. Don’t be married to someone who has cheated.
You need to sexually satisfy your husband without being publicly sexy. You cannot let your husband cheat on you—it would be your fault and we’ll talk about it for almost two decades. You can’t leave him if he does, of course, but staying with him is wrong, too.
4. Never make mistakes.
You can’t be flawed. You can’t be complicated. And if you do make a mistake in a 30-year career, saying “sorry” won’t be good enough.
5. Be likable, always.
This one is really important: In order to be president, you must be perceived as someone every American would want to have a beer with. Also, you must obtain this job without coming across like you really want it. Because, though Hillary Clinton left her job as Secretary of State with a 69 percent approval rating, ambition is ugly. (Oh, speaking of which, preferably you won’t be ugly. But also you can’t be too attractive because hot women aren’t smart. Obviously.)
6. You can’t get pneumonia.
That would mean you’re frail and don’t have any stamina. Having a working immune system makes women weak. And weak people can’t be president!
7. You can never get angry.
A female president must never express emotion. That’s called “being emotional.” Or Nasty. (Hormones might be to blame.) But you also must express emotion, because otherwise you’re too cold and bitchy.
8. You need to have experience (like, a lot of it).
But not too much experience because we don’t want an “insider.” And you can’t have baggage.
9. You should bake some cookies.
If you check off all of these boxes, then, maybe, you can be president.