Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Clinton's Appearance

I think that in general, as Laura notes and T99 supports, Hillary's appearance is commented on far more than any male candidate. For women of a certain percentage of feminism (of whatever wave) in their bones, it is a default position to be annoyed at that.  I think that is a reasonable general rule.  I don't think it applies in Hillary Clinton's case.    Men have a very narrow range, and it is considered a major screw-up if they deviate from that in any public photograph, such as Bush in crocs, or Obama in something too informal. So it's simple for them, really.  Safe.

But there are safe choices for women as well.  Most female politicians use them.  Sarah Palin had some nasty comments directed at her for her hair and glasses, but she was electing to appeal to Her People. The women who hated that look for cultural reasons skewered her. And notice, she wasn't that different. She could have dressed like Nikki Haley instead - within the range but pushing the edges.  Sometimes she did, sometimes not.  She got kicked just about as much as she deviated.  Same as the men.  No one is forcing Hillary Clinton to wear yellow Mao jackets. The comments don't come up for men because the short guys, the bald guys, the fat guys, the guys with glasses, the guys who wear elbow patches or Hawaiian shirts or feed caps/ball caps are pretty much dead in the water right out of the gate.

Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Patty Murray, Mary Landrieu, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kelly Ayotte, Michele Bachman, Condoleeza Rice...they dress the same. They don't get a lot of flak.  Hillary doesn't dress that way.  There's a reason for that, and she owns it. She wants to be something else, a celebrity, an icon, a superstar.

She has an expressive face, which is probably a charming thing in person, but leads to many unflattering photos.  The Wymans are very familiar with this, and you will notice that we don't run for public office for related reasons.  That's not fair?  The general public should admire her for her policy positions? Or her character?  Gosh darn it, the sexism never ends, does it?  What would Antonin Scalia say? Or Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

1 comment:

Grim said...

I think it's fair to comment on Clinton's appearance when it is suggestive of health concerns (e.g., those glasses that possibly indicated a serious head injury that was not being disclosed to the American people).

While it's probably not out of bounds to make jokes about her choice of pantsuits (she does it herself, proudly enough), I don't think that it's the sartorial choices that Tex and Laura were objecting to people mocking. It was the aspects of herself she can't control as easily.

As you say, short bald men have a rough time of it too. So do pudgy soft guys, or thin little waspish guys with wrists that look like they'd break if you shook their hands too hard. In general, though, any man can pass as long as he takes good enough physical care of himself -- Sylvester Stallone, for example, is apparently not tall at all. He's also older, now, and that can be a source of mockery too. But when I saw The Expendables, my thought was: "Man, I hope I can be cut like that at his age." His age was transformed by his work into a source of additional respect, at a time when for many it is just the opposite.

Is that true for women as well? I don't know that it is. Hitting the weights probably wouldn't help Hillary Clinton one bit. If it's true that this aspect really is out of her control, then, it's not fair to hit her on it.