Ex-secretary of state: #MeToo is "a good thing" but don't "infantilize women"
She says she doesn't want to "belittle" women who have shared stories
Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that while she believes the #MeToo movement is “a good thing,” people need “to be a little bit careful” about how they respond to it.
“Let’s not turn women into snowflakes. Let’s not infantilize women,” Rice insisted during an interview with CNN’s David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” which airs at 7 ET Saturday night.
Rice said she didn’t want “to get to a place that men start to think, ‘Well, maybe it’s just better not to have women around.’ I’ve heard a little bit of that. And it, it worries me,” she told Axelrod.
Following last year’s downfall of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein after sexual harassment and assault allegations, people have begun sharing their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, using the hashtag #MeToo.
Rice, the first African-American woman to become secretary of state, was careful to emphasize that she didn’t want to “belittle” women who have shared their stories of sexual harassment “because we’re all different.”
Asked by Axelrod if she had ever been a victim of harassment, Rice said she’d “certainly had people say inappropriate things.”
“I’ve certainly had people suggest that maybe we should just go out – and you know – and situations in which it was somebody more senior than I,” she said.
“I’ve never had anyone do anything that I would consider assault. But I don’t know a woman alive who hasn’t had somebody say or do something that was inappropriate at best and aggressive at worst,” she added.
Axelrod asked Rice if she had any advice for Oprah Winfrey amid reports the media titan is “actively thinking” about running for president.
“I would say to Oprah, be sure that you really want to be a politician,” Rice said.
She said she would never run for president herself, preferring policy to politics.
“You know there’s a funny thing that happens when you’re secretary of state, or you’re a celebrity, you’re out there representing the world,” she said.
“Everybody gets to make a blank page of what they think you would look like as the president. And they only focus on those characteristics that they want to see in the president. Now you’re running for office, and all of a sudden, you’re not that person who’s just a blank sheet of paper.
“But I would just say, if you’re contemplating running for office, just recognize that we put people through a brutal process. And they don’t come out quite the same,” she said.