Earlier this year, I took a Media & Politics course. For my final paper – in the thick of the US Presidential campaigns – I wrote about how female politicians are portrayed by the media. I was not at all surprised to discover that female politicians are questioned most often NOT on their policies and hopes for the future but on their day to day routines, what kind of lipstick they wear, etc.
During these campaigns, we saw Sarah Palin, the inexperienced but bombshell VP candidate pitted against the older, ‘cankle’-afflicted but hugely experienced Hilary Clinton. While one woman was portrayed as a Barbie, a pitbull in lipstick, the other was seen as past her prime, a ball-buster.
While Palin was criticized for her expensive wardrobe, no one commented on McCain’s clearly moneyed appearance.
Are politics that unimportant in a presidential race that we must lower ourselves to discussing not only the appearance of the female presidential and VP candidates but also the (hugely different) spending trends and attire amongst the potential first ladies?
We need to remember that Elle Woods was a feminist, too, even though she spent her days dressed tip to toe in pink.