Humans of New York, the popular photo blog you’ve probably seen on Facebook, did something a bit unusual on Sept. 8, 2016.
It featured Hillary Clinton.
The move was pretty out of the ordinary for Humans of New York (HONY), as the series typically stays away from the muddy waters of U.S. politics.
And although you could argue Clinton’s inclusion on HONY was political — everything a candidate does in the gleam of the spotlight is political, after all — the post still struck a chord with women of varied political leanings who can relate.
In the post, Clinton opens up about an experience she had in college when classmates tried intimidating her out of taking a test.
“While we’re waiting for the exam to start, a group of men began to yell things like: ‘You don’t need to be here.’ And ‘There’s plenty else you can do.’ It turned into a real ‘pile on,'” Clinton explained in the post. “One of them even said: ‘If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die.’ And they weren’t kidding around.”
Clinton goes on to explain it was moments like these that taught her, as a woman, she needed to be extra careful in handling her emotions publicly.
The best part about Clinton’s post, however, was how it resonated with other women online.
Many of the commenters were’t too kind, as you can imagine.
But there were also many notes from women chiming in on the fact that, regardless of how you feel about Clinton the candidate, her experience shines a light on the type of sexism half the population still has to deal with all the time.
Like how society’s mixed messages on how women should think and act can create impossible standards to uphold.
Or how — even to commenters who aren’t fans of Clinton — the candidate’s firsthand experience hits very close to home.
Of course, in Clinton’s case, these double standards have been thrown into a spotlight for the world to see. And it’s not pretty.
Other commenters noted how double standards affect all of our perceptions, oftentimes in subconscious ways.
And some gave a shoutout to the women who overcome this type of treatment and keep going.
Clinton’s HONY story was impactful because, in a certain sense, it wasn’t really about her at all.
People with various political leanings were able to empathize with what she went through. They know how these double standards have affected their own lives in very real ways.
Thousands of people were able to connect with one another over shared experiences in a single Facebook thread. And it had little to do with the candidate who started the conversation.
Clinton’s story got to the heart of a much bigger message: We all have emotions, and we should all be free to express them however we choose — regardless of our gender (or the office we’re running for).