Will Hillary Clinton run for president? That decision hasn’t been made yet, but if it does, one thing Americans can count on are months of discussion about her hairstyle. ‘The public's obsession over Hillary Clinton's hair choices stretches back to her days as first lady.’ Is it too short, to unattractive, too feminist, too harsh, and is it representative of an attractive woman? All of those questions have been gone over, until the woman, if she were not the cool, confident collected and intelligent leader that she has been and would be as president, might deign to never leave her house, let alone run for public office.
This estimation of a woman’s worth, based on her looks, is long overdue for dismissal as being newsworthy. Deborah Tannen, the great feminist and commentator says there’s no such thing as an ‘unmarked woman,’ meaning women are judged by their individual style choices for hair, makeup, and clothing in ways that most men never will be, partly because men have a more narrow range of hairstyles, grooming, and clothing than women do. Unless they somehow deviate from the norm, like Willie Robertson, CEO of Duck Commander, their options for appearance are more standard.
Americans obsess over whether or not a woman’s choices make her too masculine to trust, to forward to be feminine, and much more. As a culture, we should spend more time worrying about the substance of a woman, and if she is qualified for the job, than we do her looks. Women are subjected to and criticized by arbitrary ideas of what a woman should be, rather than what she is and what she is capable of doing.
The only time we talk about men’s hairstyles is when the man somehow seems to draw attention to it by being too interested in his hair, or his appearance in general. Mitt Romney was criticized for his hair never being out of place. People made fun of this because if a man shows too much attention to his hair, it somehow makes him appear less masculine. Appearances, after all, are really a feminine obsession, Americans believe, whether they will admit to it or not.
If Hillary Clinton runs for president, Americans need to judge her by intelligence, capability, governance, reason, and things of more substance than her hair.