Chimamanda interviewed Hillary Clinton, at the PEN AMERICA WORLD FESTIVAL this month, and she asked her one question that she said has been bothering her.
“In your Twitter account, the first word that describes you is ‘Wife.’ And then I think its ‘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. And I wanted to ask first if this was your choice or if somebody thought it would be a good idea for the campaign and if it is your choice whether it’s fair for me to feel annoyed by it,” Chimamanda asked.
Smiling, Hillary said, “Well, if you put it like that, I’m gonna change it.”
This made the audience roar and clapped their hands while Chimamanda raised her fist up as she chanted a ‘victorious yes.’
Hillary went on to explain the importance of personal relationships, adding that women should be able to celebrate their relationships and achievement.
“There is always this internal conflict when you are very committed to your relationships and your family….and your identity and how you both feel about yourself and you describe yourself,” she said.
Quoting the late former First Lady Barbara Bush, she said: “At the end of the day, it won’t matter if you got a raise, it won’t matter if you wrote a great book, if you are not also someone who values relationships.”
She added that,
“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….”