Political narratives are necessarily reductive, invariably gauzy and thus often misleading. They tell two conflicting tales at the same time: I’m absolutely amazing and unique, and I’m just like you. But it seemed undeniable that female politicians were far more constrained than men in how they recounted their stories. A man could break the mold of American virtue. A woman challenged stereotypes at her peril. The archetype — an unimpeachable balance of dedicated public service and exemplary mothering — seems inescapable, even in 2014. Bill Clinton could be seething with lifelong ambition; George W. Bush could be a beneficiary of immense privilege; Barack Obama could be a self-described outsider, marijuana smoker, community rabble-rouser. Any of these qualities might, if so espoused, disqualify a woman from high office. Meanwhile, no one ever stopped Clinton, Bush or Obama in his biographical tracks to say: “Wait. If you were out there, conquering the world, then you could not have been here, with your family.”
Robert Draper, “The Legend of Wendy Davis”, The New York Times Magazine (16 February 2014), 49.