I have always been frustrated with the fact that female politicians are not always judged by their priorities, voting record and loyalty to constituents. Instead, one of the first things they are often judged on is what they are wearing. Our culture has created this habit where we first look at hair, clothing and make up.
Sadly, I have now been sucked into this culture and was shocked a few nights ago when I realized it. Comedy Central’s, the “Daily Show”, hosted former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, last week.
She came on stage, and nevermind my thoughts on her book, her principles, her values and what she would bring to the table if she would just officially announce her 2016 candidacy for president already. Instead, I first noticed a hair was out of place. I commented to my husband that she isn’t looking quite as rough since her working days with the Obama administration. I commented that I didn’t think the shirt and jacket choice was a smart one.
With a raised eyebrow, even my husband was shocked by the things I was pointing out.
In the past, I would have talked about her comments regarding our children’s future and the position we are putting them in now by not solving deficit issues. I would have pointed out how ridiculous she sounded in her book when she talked about just getting by when so many poor and middle-class families are living to paycheck to paycheck nowadays.
What has become of me? Has society really gotten the best of me?
Here’s the problem – The media does not help. I will point to a “Today Show” interview I once watched with first lady Michelle Obama. I was disgusted when the supposed hard-news reporter asked her what she was wearing and how much it cost. Later that same day, I saw a newsfeed on Yahoo headlining the fact that our first lady was wearing such an affordable outfit. The interview was so badly done that I couldn’t remember any major issues raised, but only that she had worn an outfit that even I could buy. Of course I had no interest whatsoever in buying it, but thanks to that reporter, I knew where to go to do so.
We are going to start noticing such things because rather than having Matt Lauer ask about some of the more controversial things our first lady has done since her husband was sworn into office, he was asking her about an outfit.
Would Matt Lauer have ever asked President Barack Obama about his graying hair, or color of his tie? I doubt it. Of course, the “Today Show” was ridiculous enough to take an opportunity with the president to ask how the White House dog is doing, but that’s an entirely different rant for an entirely different day.
Anyway, that would never be asked of a male politician. Why does it have to be a part of the campaign planning for female candidates?
In a way, it shows that a female candidate has to do even more to get prepared and get elected. She has to go beyond talking points and wonder if her makeup stands out too much, if her outfit is going to look professional enough and if her long or short hair will become a distraction while she is talking about how to deal with the nation’s biggest problems.
I think the most frustrating part is it’s become so normal that even I am looking at an outfit before listening to what she is saying.