I realize that's the opposite of what this face evokes. For many people, this face is cold and aloof, and, in her own words, "walled off." Maybe it's dishonest, maybe it's lying, criminal, or sick. Whatever it is, it's the opposite of the warmth and nurturing we expect to see from women. It creates a cognitive dissonance.
But personally, I don't see it. In this face, I see two generations of women who had to work twice as hard as I do now, for less money, to earn half the respect that I take for granted.
I see my mother, one of just ten women in her medical school class, telling a panel of three male surgeons in an interview for admission there that, don't worry, she'll do just fine being a doctor and having a family; and I hear them tell her sorry, they've already met their quota of women.
I see a physician coming home from work and cooking dinner for me and my dad while cataloging the slights and fights she had that day (every day) with an army of male hospital administrators over funding for patients in her care, my dad shaking his head in sympathy and angry disbelief.
I see her spill her papers out on the coffee table in our living room and begin hours of studying on the couch with me. I with my homework, she with hers.
I see her years later, as the interim director of that same hospital, telling an indignant and entitled Nobel Prize winning scientist that yes, he really did have to pay his lab fees.
I see my grandmother--my dad's mom and the editor-in-chief of a big cooking magazine--saving the job of a young writer who was about to be fired by men for getting pregnant "out of wedlock."
I see my toughest, most intimidating clinical law school professor, formerly an attorney at a prestigious law firm, teaching me the basics of federal litigation while wearing the same armor of hostility and seriousness that can be such a jarring turn off; because above all, we want and expect women to turn us on.
I see the judge I clerked for, the first woman appointed to the trial court bench here in Alaska--in 1982.
I see someone who had to play the game by a different set of rules and standards, and who had to endure an enormous amount of shit to get where she is and to know what she knows. An amount of shit that is the stuff of legend to women of my generation, and incomprehensible to men of her generation or any other.
Maybe that endurance will make her a good President and maybe it won't. But that's what I see when I look at this face.