Praise for “strong” women and advice to public-facing women to simply rise above misogyny and abuse are often well-meaning. But Gisele’s writing speaks to a problem with this language that often goes unexamined: that we shouldn’t have to be this strong. Why should we collectively put the onus on women and girls to be stronger, rather than on our society to dial back its misogyny?


Gisele has certainly been the subject of intense public misogyny—more so than a lot of the wives of political figures in recent memory. Nonetheless, she found the courage to write about her experiences, and hopefully, it prompts more people to question all that we ask of women in exchange for a mere pat on the back for being “strong.”

“When our family first started getting national attention, a lot of people told me... I should toughen up. Well, I don’t want a thicker skin,” Fetterman wrote. Ultimately, Fetterman concluded that she shouldn’t have to change herself in the face of public scrutiny: “I like my big feelings; the ability to feel so deeply is beautiful. My empathy drives my career and provides me with purpose and hope.”