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.