Hillary Clinton voices concerns about impact of social media on young women

Hillary Clinton voices concerns about impact of social media on young women

Hillary Clinton has said the idea of perfection that is often portrayed on social media is “insidious” and undermines the confidence of young women.

The former US secretary of state said that people in the public eye should talk more openly about their failures to break the “taboo” around it in a bid to encourage women to try new things if they are too afraid to fail.

Mrs Clinton, 72, shared her concerns about young women interacting with social media and “looking for or thinking they have seen perfection” while speaking to Fearne Cotton on her Happy Place podcast.

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton with Fearne Cotton (Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place)
Hillary and Chelsea Clinton with Fearne Cotton (Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place)

She said: “You know, this idea of perfection is so insidious and it undermines particularly young women’s confidence, their willingness to take a chance that may not fully succeed.

“I mean, you can’t tell how far you will go until you take that first step. And sometimes that first step could be the hardest of all.

“And I am just so worried that the false image of what life is like portrayed on social media is causing a lot of anxiety, stress and even depression among young women… At least that seems to be what is now being reported and researched certainly in our country, but I would imagine elsewhere.”

Mrs Clinton said: “It helps for people who are in the public eye to say, hey, I messed up. I, you know, I had a tough time of it. It wasn’t always easy.

“Just because you see someone like me on a stage speaking, that doesn’t mean that, you know, I was born being able to do that. It’s hard.”

Mrs Clinton was the US Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, having previously been the first lady of the United States while husband Bill Clinton was in office from 1993 until 2001, and the US secretary of state from 2009 until 2013.

Talking about failure should not be some kind of taboo

She said that “it’s never too late to really go after your dreams”.

But she added: “Now that doesn’t mean you just get up from the couch and go after your dreams. I mean, you have to educate yourself, train yourself, you know, be ready.

“But talking about failure should not be some kind of taboo. It should be much more open and people more willing to share their own stories, which in turn I think can give some courage to others.”

Mrs Clinton’s daughter Chelsea, who also appears on the podcast, told of the impact of having a “gutsy” mother while growing up.

“I don’t think I realised how impactful it was when I was a little girl because she was just my mum,” she said, adding that she did not realise “how kind of special my mum was, except that I thought she was the best mum in the world, because she was my mum, until I got a little bit older”.

Chelsea, 39, added: “And I realised kind of how many kind of slingshots and arrows were directed her way and how she just kept fighting for what she thought was right and also ensured that I always knew I was the most important person in the world.”

The Happy Place podcast by Fearne Cotton featuring Hillary and Chelsea Clinton is available now.

More on this topic

Australian studies link social media to eating disorders in young peopleAustralian studies link social media to eating disorders in young people

Wake-up call as research reveals we check our phones 50 times a dayWake-up call as research reveals we check our phones 50 times a day

Facebook and Instagram users report issues accessing social platformsFacebook and Instagram users report issues accessing social platforms

Out-of-control social media - It’s time to check the Silicon SixOut-of-control social media - It’s time to check the Silicon Six

More in this Section

Joe Biden gets endorsement from man who nearly won presidencyJoe Biden gets endorsement from man who nearly won presidency

Playing Pokemon Go among reasons given for smartphone-related injuries – studyPlaying Pokemon Go among reasons given for smartphone-related injuries – study

Satellites aiming to measure carbon emissions ‘will not be used to police world’ say EUSatellites aiming to measure carbon emissions ‘will not be used to police world’ say EU

Australian studies link social media to eating disorders in young peopleAustralian studies link social media to eating disorders in young people


Lifestyle

Esther N McCarthy picks perfect paperweights, brilliant books and Christmas collectables this week.Brilliant books and Christmas collectables - here's our wish list

Kya deLongchamps wonders if we should surrender to the pagan prompting of mistletoe.Mistletoe is returning to its hemiparasitic life back in the woodland

Playing games will sneak in physical activity without them even realising.9 fun ways to get your kids to do more exercise

It all began with a Christmas special 30 years ago this month. Chris Wasser pays tribute to The Simpsons.The Simpsons is 30 years old - and it all began with a Christmas special

More From The Irish Examiner