New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, whose memoir Off the Sidelines is set for release on September 9, has revealed via the candid new book that male colleagues in the senate called her “chubby” and “porky,” with one congressman even commenting “you’re even pretty when you’re fat.”
Gillibrand’s book includes numerous occurrences of sexist encounters and comments from colleagues, many of which were apparently said to Kirsten after the senator lost baby weight from a pregnancy. One instance, according to Sidelines, involved a male peer squeezing Gillibrand’s waist and saying, “Don’t lose too much weight now, I like my girls chubby.”
Gillibrand, who was selected in 2009 and succeeded Hilary Clinton when the former first lady was chosen as President Obama’s Secretary of State, also tells of an older colleague commenting on her weight during an encounter in the congressional gym. “Good thing you’re working out because you wouldn’t want to get porky.”
Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in a 2010 fundraiser speech, sparked controversy when he claimed that Kirsten Gillibrand was often referred to by some as “the hottest member” of the senate. The comment directed at Kirsten reportedly caused a stir at the fundraiser, which was held at the home of then mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Despite the many sexist encounters she has faced throughout her term in the Senate, Gillibrand seems unfazed and barely offended by these incidents, believing that these men mostly don’t know any better.
In an interview with People Magazine, Kirsten maintains that “it was all statements that were being made by men who were well into their 60s, 70s or 80s They had no clue that those are inappropriate things to say to a pregnant woman or a woman who just had a baby or to women in general.”
Gillibrand, who’s recent Military Sex Assault Reform bill was opposed by 10 of her own party’s members and stopped by a filibuster, isn’t discouraged by gridlock, telling People Magazine, “If I can work an issue like sexual assault on college campuses and drive a national narrative and know I’m making a difference, then whether or not we pass another bill in Congress, there’s still good things I can do.”
Kirsten Gillibrand has voiced strong support for Clinton’s rumored 2016 presidential campaign, and the former Secretary of State even wrote the forward for Kirsten’s book. “I was running for Senate in New York and Kirsten wanted to do everything she could for the campaign,” Clinton writes. “But there was more to it than that. Kirsten has built her whole life around the question ‘How can I help?'”