The countdown began almost immediately after video of Hillary Clinton’s collapse (due to heat exhaustion…er, pneumonia) hit the internet Sunday morning. It wasn’t long before one of her ever ready loyalists started running interference, praising her strength as a woman to “power through” an illness. I’m not sure how collapsing is “powering through,” but I suppose the point is she tried.
She failed, but she did try.
Then there came a truly ridiculous tweet from actor/comedian Patton Oswalt:
Wait, so Hillary has PNEUMONIA and she’s still campaigning as hard as she is? You realize how badass that is, right?
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) September 11, 2016
Except going to work while sick isn’t “badass.” It’s rude. Especially now that we know how contagious she was, as apparently everyone in the campaign inner circle caught the same illness. Hillary Clinton was not a badass for wheezing and coughing her way through ninety minutes of being outdoors. Praising her for doing something so stupid and inconsiderate does the real badass women out there a complete disservice.
The truth is there are a lot of badass women out there, but Hillary is not one of them. Here are five women who actually deserve the label:
1. Dolly Parton –
Before anyone really knew who Dolly Parton was, she was a young singer/songwriter who stood up to and held her ground against the King of Rock’n Roll. Dolly wrote the classic ‘I Will Always Love You’ and Elvis Presley wanted to record it – a huge honor for any songwriter, right? She thought so, until Elvis’s manager, ‘Colonel’ Tom Parker, told her just days before Elvis was set to record that Elvis wanted a songwriting credit. Dolly realized what that would mean for her and decided to make the tough decision to say no. To Elvis. Standing up to a king of any stripe and charting her own path is about as American badass as anyone gets.
2. Bethany Hamilton –
I’m not sure what it would take for me to get back in a large body of water after having my arm bitten off by a shark, but I can guarantee it would have to be some kind of life or death situation in which the water was the only way to live. For ‘Soul Surfer’ Bethany Hamilton that was not the case. One month after losing her left arm, the 13-year-old was back on her board and back on track to becoming a competitive surfer. Today, she’s doing exactly that and doing it well. I don’t think anyone can argue: that’s pretty badass.
3. Nancy Kerrigan –
Winning a medal at the Olympics is kind of badass on its own, but placing after you were beaten in the leg with a baseball bat by a rival’s bodyguard mere weeks before the event takes it to a whole other level. Fortunately, Nancy’s leg wasn’t broken, but she was injured badly enough that it was highly questionable whether she would be able to compete in the 1994 Winter Olympics. To add to the trauma of being attacked and possibly losing out on her dream, Tonya Harding — the skater whose bodyguard wielded the bat — would also be competing on Team USA. While Tonya would go on to create more drama in Lillehammer over a broken skate lace, Nancy’s performance was nearly flawless and she won the silver medal to Oksana Baiul’s gold. Staring down your attackers while maintaining your poise? That’s badass with class.
4. Ahd Mohemed –
I’m singling out Ahd as representative of the Kurdish women who have been fighting ISIS every day for years. But they do more than just put on camo fatigues and a gun each morning, Ahd and her compatriots put on makeup (or as my dad likes to call it, “female war paint”) before going to the frontlines because “when we fight we want to look pretty. If I die, I want to die looking pretty.” So, not only are they going out to fight against those that would kill or enslave them, they’re doing it while looking their best. That’s absolutely badass, ladies.
5. Jenny Huffman –
She wasn’t famous and so you wouldn’t know her, but I did. Born to a farmer and coal miner in rural Eastern Kentucky in 1935, Jenny was diagnosed with polio as a young teen and sent far away from her home and family to rehabilitate and learn to walk again. Despite getting married at 15 and having two children by 20, she put herself through nursing school. Coming home after an overnight shift at the hospital, she and her two children were hit by a drunk driver in the early morning hours. Jenny’s legs were crushed, but all three survived. After being told for the second time in her life that she would never walk again, she defied the odds and would meet my grandfather a year later — at a dance. Jenny went on to live all over the country, becoming a top selling realtor and a wonderful grandmother before her passing in 2009. A woman like my grandmother, when told she can’t do something, shows everyone that not only can she do it — she can do it well.
That is pretty much peak badass.