This just in from the hard hitting journalism department: Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State – you know, the person fourth in line to the presidency, responsible for the foreign policy of our country, who over the past month has visited China, Bangladesh, India, Columbia, Brazil, Belgium, and France – sometimes doesn’t wear makeup!
Forget “smart power,” little girls. This is the real lesson about women in the public sphere.
Another big sigh.
The latest How-Does-Hilary-Look flap began heating up this week with a photo posted by the Drudge Report Monday showing the Secretary of State wearing glasses and just a little bit of lipstick, with the headline “Hillary au Naturale.” (sic) This, on top of an aide’s worries – quoted in a women’s magazine – about Ms. Clinton’s penchant for pulling her hair back in a ponytail and securing it with a scrunchy, got the media’s tongues a-wagging.
Not that there’s ever a makeup-free day over here, mind you. Oh no. And hair in a ponytail? Never. We’re all Kate Middleton on this side of the computer. Cross my heart.
And we’re even fancy when we travel. I call it vagabond chic.
Really, I feel lucky when I brush my teeth on international flights. And Clinton has traveled 778,157 miles as Secretary of State, visiting 96 countries and logging 1,691.25 hours of travel time, according to the State Department website. I’m impressed the woman can even find her lipstick.
But that’s not the point, of course.
To her credit, Clinton laughed off the issue in a CNN interview earlier this week.
“If I want to wear my glasses, I’m wearing my glasses,” she said. “If I want to wear my hair back I’m pulling my hair back. You know at some point it’s just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention.”
She’s right of course, but... if only. The continued focus on women’s appearance is just depressing for parents trying to teach their little ones that smarts and kindness and achievement matter more than an outfit or hairdo.
Because it’s not just that we focus more on makeup than, say, delicate negotiations with India or China. We blatantly equate appearance to substance. Take this comment, for instance, from the UK’s Daily Mail:
“The Democrat has appeared stylish and demure at recent events, toning down her once-gaudy coloured trouser suits and scrunchie combinations – also perhaps signalling that she is winding down.”
Turns out you can pick friends based on appearance, as well.
Ms. Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, shows through her outfits (and she decidedly does wear makeup) that she is a “girl you want to go sit down with and talk to and hang out with,” celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe said on “Good Morning America.”
Even with that high-slit dress that also got the internet community buzzing this week.
Again, a sigh.
Secretary of State versus princess.
We certainly show our girls which one we think they should emulate.