By Kate Sullivan, Allure magazine
Last week, an unnamed Australian senator told political reporter Annabel Crabb that Prime Minister Julia Gillard needed to "get a decent haircut." Crabb was stunned by the comment, and annoyed by what she thinks it implies. Crabb says that while all politicians have their looks critiqued, there is more weight attached when the target is a woman:
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"When men dress badly, it's a matter for fond reproach...But when women dress badly, it's seen as a dark hint of further incompetence...If she can't tweeze her eyebrows evenly, what hope is there that she can possibly legislate an appropriate carbon price?"
Her conclusion rings true (and we ourselves have fallen into that type of thinking before.) But even in the era of hunky Senator Scott Brown and shamed former Senator John "Breck Girl" Edwards, there are far less coiffed and red carpet ready men in politics than women. And with the exception of President Barack Obama, whose aging is being tracked closely while he is in office (perhaps especially because he is young and handsome), the comments on men's looks tend to end at election season. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin have their every hairstyle and lipstick choice tracked. If one wears too little makeup, the press might say she looks old or tired. Too much, and she can't be taken seriously.
What do you think: Are female politicians expected to be pretty? Are the expectations the same for men?
(P.S. We think PM Gillard's current haircut looks good. And frankly, that she's rather beautiful. We get kind of a Tilda Swinton vibe from her.)
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