Hillary Clinton rolled out her new campaign store on Tuesday morning, and it has some edgy sartorial offerings.
The store has an array of hoodies, tank tops and onesies all designed to celebrate the prospect of the first female president in 2016. The real gem of the grand opening is the "everyday pantsuit tee," which promises to bring "a whole new meaning to casual Friday."
The store also has plenty of accessories, including a throw pillow stitched with the words "A woman's place is in the White House."
As Jonathan Allen notes over at Vox, Clinton seems to have been inspired by Barack Obama's 2008 campaign in which he charged people for swag rather than giving it away for free. The online merchandise funnels in money from grassroots supporters, as well as cements people's emotional and political commitment to a campaign.
Clinton's embrace of pantsuit tees also drives home how she is increasingly keen on making a virtue of the gender politics that she considered a disadvantage in 2008. She is arming herself by holding close and mocking the double standards she has faced on the issue of her appearance.
Clinton is also choosing to perform conventional femininity without apology. She is consistently discussing immigration, mass incarceration and the economy in terms of the effect they have on families, playing up her status as a mother and a grandmother with great frequency.
The takeaway here shouldn't be that women are essentially different from men in terms of their interests or leadership styles, but rather that Clinton is broadening how high-profile female leaders can manage their own gender identity. Ideally, female presidential candidates will run in a future in which they worry less about calculating how it makes them relatable or electable and more about expressing their own personality — wherever they happen to fall within gender norms — as freely as men do.