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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Questions Hillary Clinton's 'Wife' in Twitter Bio

Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie and Hillary Clinton

The author of "We Should All Be Feminists" questioned Clinton for placing "wife" before all else in her Twitter bio, although arguably that's her most public and personal moniker.

Hillary Clinton's Twitter bio depicts a mix of her personal and public lives, her accomplishments, and her ability to laugh at herself with nods to how the media and public have portrayed her.

"Wife, mom, grandma, women+kids advocate, FLOTUS, Senator, SecState, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, 2016 presidential candidate," her bio reads. While thousands of people likely see and read Clinton's bio on the daily, writer and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ("We Should All Be Feminists") may be the first person to publicly question Clinton's choice to put "wife" first in her bio, although arguably, since she is married to former President Bill Clinton,"wife" is a big part of both Clinton's personal and public identities.

During an interview with the onetime secretary of State at the PEN World Voices Festival lecture at the Cooper Union in New York City Sunday, Adichie commented on the moniker of "wife" as the kickoff to how Clinton describes herself.

"In your Twitter account, the first word that describes you is 'wife.' And then I think it's 'mom,' and then it's 'grandmother,'" Adichie said. "And when I saw that, I have to confess that I felt just a little bit upset. And then I went and I looked at your husband's Twitter account, and the first word was not 'husband.'" Incidentally, Bill Clinton's Twitter bio reads that he is the founder of the Clinton Foundation and the 42nd President of the United States.

When Adichie questioned if Clinton herself chose to place wife before all of her other identities, the 2016 Democratic front-runner for the presidency replied, "When you put it like that, I'm going to change it," sending the audience into laughter and applause, according to Jezebel.

Clinton, who devoted an entire chapter in her book What Happened (about the 2016 election debacle) to her roles as a woman in relation to the people she loves, titled "Motherhood, Wifehood, Daughterhood, Sisterhood," responded to Adichie's question with an anecdote about having seen First Lady Barbara Bush (who died last week at 92) speak at Wellesley College. In the speech, the older woman talked of the importance of relationships over accomplishments.

"She said, you know, at the end of the day, it won't matter if you got a raise, it won't matter if you wrote a great book, if you are not also someone who values relationships," Clinton said of seeing Bush speak in the early '90s.

As Clinton's Twitter bio suggests with its melange of personal and public identifiers, she explained to Adichie and the audience that women of today often search for the balance between their personal lives and the desire to excel in their careers:

"It shouldn't be either/or. It should be that if you are someone who is defining yourself by what you do and what you accomplish, and that is satisfying, then more power to you. That is how you should be thinking about your life and living it. If you are someone who primarily defines your life in relationship to others, then more power to you, and live that life the way Barbara Bush lived that life, and how proud she was to do it. But I think most of us as women in today's world end up in the middle ... wanting to have relationships, wanting to invest in them, nurture them, but also pursuing our own interests."

Clinton also mentioned Tammy Duckworth, the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office, as someone who balances her many identities.

"I loved the picture of Sen. Tammy Duckworth coming onto the floor of the Senate [with her baby]. I think that sort of summed it all up. She's both! She's a mom, she's a senator, she's a combat veteran, she's someone who's trying to integrate all of the aspects of her life," Clinton said, according to Vulture. "That's what I've been trying to do for a very long time, and it's not easy. But it is something that I've chosen to do, and I'm going to keep doing it."

Adichie's question about "wife" did give Clinton pause, she said, adding that she was moved to change it, although she did not say how she would alter it.

Thankfully, Adichie had a suggestion. "'It could say, 'Should have been a damn good president.'"

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Tracy E. Gilchrist