Washington Post's 'Very Cool Chick' -- Feminist, Socialist President of Chile

In Friday’s Style section, Washington Post reporter (and former Sports columnist) Jennifer Frey lovingly chronicled a feminist event where "the object of affection is a self-described agnostic, socialist single mother from Chile" – new Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. The other stars of the fete were, predictably, Geena Davis and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, but the South American socialist was all the rage:

Everyone wants a picture, and all of them keep gushing: "We love you!" "We support you!" Perhaps Bachelet is wildly unpopular with the right-wing media in Chile and she's suffered attacks for having her third child while unmarried, but, in this room she seems to be universally beloved.

Well, Frey reported Jeane Kirkpatrick was there, and you doubt she completely endorsed this president’s platform. Frey reported Marie Wilson, president and founder of the White House Project, sponsor of the event, said Bachelet "wanted to meet women leaders." Bachelet is revered by women for insisting that fully half her Cabinet be made up of women. "That was important to her," Wilson said. Frey also recounted the Hillary section of the program:  

Clinton -- one of the featured speakers -- is introduced to whoops, especially from the tables full of younger women in the back. (Of course, this being a nonpartisan event, others stay rooted in their seats during the standing ovation for the senator.)

"When I was told she was running for president," Clinton says of Bachelet, "I thought to myself: 'Good for her!' "

She also notes the presence of Davis, who was invited to introduce Bachelet because she's the closest this country has come to a female president: She plays one on television.

"Now," Clinton says, "Geena Davis starred in one of my most absolute favorite --"

And before she can get the next word out, the crowd breaks into cheers and laughter.

"Of course," she continues, I'm talking about 'A League of Their Own.' "

Clinton's point, though, is about one line in that movie, when Tom Hanks as the cantankerous coach tells Davis, one of his baseball players, "It's supposed to be hard, or everyone would be doing it."

That, Clinton says, is an apt description of a woman who tries to rise in politics -- even if Bachelet somehow makes it look easy, laughing, smiling, kissing cheeks.

Wilson earlier pointed out that her own vivid memory of the day in 1984 that Geraldine Ferraro was named to the Mondale presidential ticket isn't shared by most of the young women she knows. Will they get their moment in 2008? Clinton certainly doesn't mind poking at all the speculation about her candidacy.

Frey left the distinct impression she was among the feminist fans of the self-described agnostic socialist: 

She also is just about crushed by high-heeled, power-suited women who seem liberated to be at an event celebrating, well, a very cool chick. (Trust us, Bachelet would embrace that description.)

PS: The Post also followed Bachelet to a local visit to her old middle school in Maryland.

Washington Post
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