Last week, Hillary Clinton tweeted about a new campaign outreach initiative, called the ThxBox:
Because everything Clinton does is processed through the Benghazi–Vince Foster–Whitewater paranoia filter, there was a huge social media response from conservatives on Twitter, cracking tired jokes about all the supposed misdeeds (or dead animals) she must be hiding in the box. Lest you miss the point of the jokes, the Daily Caller was on hand to spell it out, accusing Clinton of “trolling critics who would say that her mishandling of classified information should land her in a prison cell.”
The box is mostly just the usual swag campaigns send out to donors, like T-shirts or bumper stickers, but as Jessica Valenti of the Guardian points out, it’s also part of “Clinton’s latest push to activate female voters.” Donors who sign up through the link will get “a campaign version of BirchBox” in which, instead of monthly beauty products, they get “household products that Clinton likes and uses.”
This is a reminder that Clinton is running a very different campaign than she did in 2008, when she was perceived as minimizing her gender out of fear that people don’t think that you can be presidential and feminine at the same time. This time, however, she’s sending out a box of household products while simultaneously holding a Women for Hillary event that marked the 20th anniversary of her 1995 speech about women’s rights in Beijing.
Clinton’s campaign is tapping into the modern feminist zeitgeist, where a feminine interest in beauty or domestic arts is treated more as lighthearted fun than as a genuine threat to women being perceived equally with men. “A woman’s place is in the White House,” reads a cross-stitched throw pillow available for sale at the Hillary website. It’s the kind of cheeky celebration of both the feminine and the feminist that used to exist only in hipster feminist spaces like Bust or Jezebel; it’s clearly gone mainstream enough to be incorporated into a presidential campaign without missing a beat.
It’s a smart move to put a woman’s spin on the hip, youthful politics that got Obama elected to office twice in a row. All Hillary Clinton needs now is for MAC to name a lipstick after her, and her transformation will be complete.