Hillary Clinton Says “Stop Whining” – Can Women Have It All?

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Hillary Clinton smacked the bottoms of women and they are left with a red rash by her commentary. “Stop Whining” was her statement during an interview with Marie Claire. Let’s psychoanalyze! Is she right? Did she mean what she said? Was her words taken out of context and she was referring to Holden Caulfield, the fictional character from the novel “The Catcher in the Rye” and not referring to women? Does this whack push women into action in their lives to accomplish more and stop “whining” about their lives, regardless of their political party? Is her interview statement not without a political message? Although Secretary of State Hillary’s end point of an action oriented approach to life is 100% correct from a psychoanalytical perspective for one’s mental wellness, in my opinion, as taking action in our life leads us to feel empowered, in control, and positively affects our self worth and thus our mental wellness, it is her words which may lead many women who are Hillary fans feeling “less than”. Thus her statement is quite un-therapeutic.

Regardless of whether Hillary’s “stop whining” comment was specifically about a fictional character from a cult favorite novel or if it was about women, or just about people overall, the facts still remain, Hillary communicated concrete statements that clearly showed her belief system which is for women to: “do something”. Now that in and of itself is telling, and a point we “should” all agree with if we wish to feel a sense of self-empowerment. Yes- “do something”, take action in our lives women or men, adults or children – now that is sound therapeutic advice.

Politics- Is Hillary In Support Of Romney?

Hillary’s comments during her Marie Claire interview are less likely to energize women and rather more likely to alienate, frustrate, annoy, and depress women. Psychoanalyzing her statements from a political stand point, it is interesting to say the least. The “work on yourself” and “do something” philosophy as well as her statement that; “you live in a time when there are endless choices” is in direct support of Romney’s philosophical belief system and is in direct contrast to President Obama’s belief system. Without knowing Hillary’s political side, one might think she is a Republican. Chuckle.

Hillary’s message to women to go to work and a take action approach is in direct contradiction to Obama’s; I will save women/women need to be saved/there’s a war on women attitude. Rather, Hillary’s messaging is more in line with a Republican/Romney philosophy of solution/take action/do something instead of relying on others.

What Message Did Women Receive From Hillary’s Interview With Marie Claire?

As a Psychotherapist I often help women and men with achieving a healthy work/family/personal life balance. Hillary’s comments regarding Ann Marie Slaughter’s story in The Atlantic entitled: “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” stating: “Some women are not comfortable working at the pace and intensity you have to work at in these jobs . . . other women don’t break a sweat. They have four or five, six kids. They’re highly organized, they have very supportive networks” – is likely to leave women feeling bad about themselves. Slaughter stated: “juggling high-level governmental work with the needs of two teenage boys was  not possible.” It is this perspective that perhaps some women identify with, but feel bad that they cannot juggle as seemingly successfully as Hillary. Women are left with the statement that if they are someone who is “not comfortable working at the pace and intensity . . . ” as Hillary suggested, they are not as fabulous as Hillary and thus not fabulous at all. How many women took from Hillary’s statements a message that they stink?

During Hillary’s interview with Marie Claire she is quoted as having stated: “I can’t stand whining”. In addition she reportedly stated: “I can’t stand the kind of paralysis that some people fall into because they’re not happy with the choices they’ve made. You live in a time when there are endless choices . . Money certainly helps, and having that kind of financial privilege goes a long way, but you don’t even have to have money for it. But you have to work on yourself . . . Do something!”

What do you as a woman, as a man, as an adult, as a child – take away from her comments?

Work/Life Balance

Attaining work/life balance is not easy for many women and men. Let’s focus on women for now, as Hillary’s comments sparked an uproar for many women. In my work with women in my counseling office, when I speak with them it is a common challenge for women to balance all of the many aspects of their life. Rather, they often report they are struggling, women often report they are overworked at home and at work, they often report it is hard to balance being a wife, a mother, an employee, and take care of themselves. Often the report is that they cannot do it all and usually their own health and wellness and that of the marital relationship is the first to go. Women typically report they want to be married, have children, work outside of the home, take care of the home, and take care of their own physical and mental health – and feel happy, satisfied, and at peace. Having all of these things and nurturing all of these things are two different things. Helping women attain their personal, relational, and professional goals, is an important part of what I help people with as a therapist.

Steps I provide women and men with to help them to help themselves to get unstuck and “have it all” includes:

  1. You can whine/be upset, a little – it’s a mourning process. As long as it doesn’t stop you from achieving. Sometimes we need to wallow in our own emotional pity party to then step outside of our self and evaluate; a) what we are feeling, b) what we want to achieve/accomplish, c) how we want to feel, and d) what steps we need to take to feel what we want to feel and accomplish what we wish to achieve.
  2. Acknowledge, appreciate, value, and relish in what you do have.
  3. Take ownership of the choices you have made and the choices you can make/what is in your control.
  4. Take action, concrete action to move from A to B to C each day towards positive shifts in each area of your life.

Having it all

What really is “having it all”? Long ago, before women worked outside of the home and said they wanted to “have it all”, perhaps what they meant was simply being allowed to have a family and work outside of the  home, as a woman, just as men experienced. Perhaps it was an expression which was as clear cut as that. For women to have what men have; I.e., married, children, and work! As the years have passed and many women do indeed “have it all” (I.e., are married, do have children, and do work out side of the home), perhaps women now view “having it all” rather differently. Perhaps the expectation women have of themselves with regards to wanting and feeling they must “have it all” to be happy means; being happy and emotionally fulfilled in all areas of their life, not feeling overworked, nor overwhelmed, and rather feel satisfied, relaxed, and accomplished. Perhaps “having it all” to women these days means:

  1. Healthy communication with their spouse, emotional, physical, and sexual intimacy with their spouse, a supportive partnership with their spouse emotionally, financially, and as a parenting team.
  2. Connected and available to their children, able to spend quantity and quality time with them.
  3. Achievement of professional goals, stimulated by and enjoy their work outside of the home.
  4. House is in order as they and their spouse run a partnership team sharing responsibilities attending to the home.
  5. Time and motivation to attend to one’s personal and physical health and wellness. (E.g., healthy meals, exercise).
  6. Financial security and time to go on trips as a family using the extra money they have.
  7. Have time to relax and do things that are fun, not feeling overworked, overwhelmed, and busy, busy, busy, yet busy enough to feel stimulated and accomplished.

If these 7 components is what “having it all” to women means, I ask you; can women have it all? Are women’s expectations in general too high, if these are their expectations or sensible? Do you wish to “have it all?” What does “having it all” mean to you? All in all, Hillary sparked conversation at the water cooler, in the home, in the media, and all around. What a person takes away from her interview, that is in the eye of the beholder. My analysis is just but one view point.

Written by


Follow Dr. Karen on Twitter or Facebook. Media Psychotherapist Guest Expert; Relationships, Parenting, Hot Topics In The News. Appears on: The O'Reilly Factor, FOX & Friends, FOX & Friends FIRST, America Live, Hannity, regular go-to for FOX Boston, and more. Can be heard on Radio: FOX News, 96.9 Boston Talks, and more. Columnist, quoted in various print media: FOX Business, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Care.com, USA Today, Parents, TIME, Woman's Day, and more. Owner/Director of Dr. Karen Ruskin & Associates, Inc. Based in Massachusetts. Author of: 9 Key Techniques For Raising Respectful Children and Dr. Karen's Marriage Manual. Copyright 2012.

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