Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton have a new book out, The Book of Gutsy Women. The publisher says they “share the stories of the gutsy women who have inspired them — women with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done.” They certainly tell the stories of some inspiring women — Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Maria Montessori, Marie Curie, and more. But I couldn’t help noticing some women who didn’t make it into the book’s 432 pages.
- not Margaret Thatcher, who fought every day to make her way up in an almost totally male‐dominated political system;
- not Ayn Rand, who fled the Bolshevik revolution to become a bestselling novelist of ideas in her third language;
- not Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, who became the only Member of Congress to vote against U.S. participation in both World War I and World War II;
- not Anne Hutchinson, who fought the Puritan theocracy of Massachusetts and was banished from the colony;
- not businesswomen such as Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden, and Estee Lauder, all of whom climbed out of poverty and built major cosmetics businesses;
- not Marva Collins, Virginia Walden Ford, and Eva Moskowitz, who fought to give poor families alternatives to failing public schools;
- not Lilli Vincenz and Barbara Gittings, who came out of the closet and fought for gay and lesbian rights when doing so could mean losing one’s job, family, or life;
- not Deirdre McCloskey, who as a successful 53‐year‐old economist in 1995 decided to recognize her female identity and transition.
I suppose these women were just a bit too gutsy for the authors. Thatcher too capitalist, Rand too individualist, Rankin too antiwar, and so on. These women epitomize the line from historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich: Well‐behaved women seldom make history. And they don’t quite fit the parameters of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s East Coast Establishment woke‐but‐not‐too‐woke liberalism.