A shock ran through the media this week: Hillary Clinton appeared in public without make up! Apparently, Hillary has been eschewing fasionable dress lately, wearing silver hair clips and scrunchies (you remember the eighties?). The press are shocked and appalled.
I am shocked by their reaction. The expectation that a woman paint herself to appear in public is antiquated. The fact that most make up contains toxic substances is appalling. The media should be lauding Hillary for choosing not to participate in a retro ritual that highlights physical appearance at best (at the expense of other attributes?) and poses a health-risk at worst. The media respond instead with criticism: unprofessional, not serious enough for her job, homely (!).
The public obsession with women’s appearance has already been commented in this Blog. Read my post about Ashley Judd’s wise words for more. Yet the motif plagues us, surrounds us, enters us while we, oblivious and numb, buy in with very real dollars. The amount of money spent on the quest for beauty in this country is staggering.
And the message continues to barrage us: step outside our line and we will harrass you. In Ms. Clinton’s case, it is an attempt to disempower her as a symbol of authority: her hair clip is worn by middle school girls (gasp!). Fortunately, Ms. Clinton is not easily intimidated.
“At some point it’s [physical appearance] 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.”
Well said, Ms. Clinton. I applaud you for being a role model for the rest of us, despite criticism from fashion trendists, such as Tim Gunn (who sometimes sports a god-awful shirt and tie combination, which just shows that there’s no accouting for taste).
No photo this time: I don’t want to perpetuate the hype. Ms. Clinton deserves to be respected for her words, not her looks.