On Monday, the Drudge Report posted a picture of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton without makeup, save a bit of red lipstick, with the headline “Au Naturel.”
As blogger Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel put it, “A woman didn’t wear makeup and this is news?” This dig at Clinton’s appearance, especially her makeup-less appearance, should be all the proof you need that sexism is alive and well in America today.
Male politicians occasionally get ribbed for their appearance — President Obama looking tired comes to mind — but certainly not with the same intensity as female politicians. Against older female politicians like Hillary Clinton, this is especially troubling: it delivers the one-two punch of sexism and ageism. See? She’s old? She’s not even attractive anymore. The underlying message of all of these things is that she’s worth less because she’s not physically pleasing to heterosexual males.
I wish I could say I’m surprised people feel this way — including fellow women. But the new magazine Marie Claire @ Work recently ran an article all about how a study has sown women who wear a subtle amount of makeup are perceived as more competent. Read that again: not prettier, but more competent. Too much makeup is not good, but neither is no makeup at all; presumably it’s because makeup has become a cultural signifier that a woman is “put together” all over, simply based on her physical appearance, in a way men would not. That’s called a double standard.
Maybe Hillary Clinton stayed in bed 20 minutes extra that day. Or maybe she doesn’t give a fuck BECAUSE SHE HAS THE NUCLEAR CODES. As she told CNN, responding to the “controversy,”:
I feel so relieved to be at the stage I’m at in my life right now, Jill, because if I want to wear my glasses, I’m wearing my glasses. If I — you know, want to pull my hair back, I’m pulling my hair back. And, you know, at some point, it’s just not — it’s just not something that deserves a whole lot of time and attention. If others want to worry about it, I’ll let them do the worrying for a change.
And may they all get deep, furrowed, worry lines doing so.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.
Image of The Drudge Report via The Atlantic Wire