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Why Didn't We Care About Bill's Outfit and Stylist?

Updated on July 28, 2016
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.

Bill's a good guy...

I don't really follow American politics.

Correction - I follow the candidates, insofar as I know who's running for office and very loosely what they stand for. That's not why I'm writing today.

A friend posted an article the other day that was very tongue in cheek, written in much the same vein as many of the writers online today write about women. It was funny, it was sharp, and it raised a good point.

The Democratic National Convention is currently on in Philadelphia, and of course, Hillary Clinton is holding court with all her fellow Democrats who are looking to see her get nominated to be the next President of the United States. It would mark the first time a female president took the oath of office, should she be fortunate enough to win. It would also mark the first time a husband and wife were President (at different times, of course, but it would still be a first).

Over the years, Hillary has had to deal with comments about her mode of dress. To be sure, she is not model-beautiful in the same way that Melania Trump or even Michelle Obama (the woman, arms and all, is really pretty!), and she has been dragged through the mud over her choice of attire as much as she has been for her dubious conduct with email. She has been hit with comments about her looks almost since she hit the stage back when Bill Clinton was running for president. No one, it seemed, gave a crap about anything she believed in; it was all about how she looked and how she might redo certain rooms in the White House, if that was what she chose.

Why didn't Bill Clinton get the same attention?

Sure, there was Bill's unfortunate dalliance with a cigar and a White House intern, but beyond his sexual predilections, the focus for him, at least as far as the newshounds were concerned, was what his foreign policy looked like, or how he was going to tackle health care. There was never any questions about who he was wearing, or why he chose one suit over the other.

Because no one cared.

Why is it different for women, and what does that say about our focus when it comes to women in today's political landscape?

Ah, the good old days...

The official White House portrait of the Clintons.
The official White House portrait of the Clintons. | Source

Women are still the gift wrapping...

OK - so Hillary's outfit choices were not really discussed during the DNC, but certainly during her tenure in the White House, everything from her attractiveness to her clothing choices were discussed.

"She's particularly hard to watch as a candidate. (That laugh.)" Bill Maher wrote in an essay for The Hollywood Reporter.

Rush Limbaugh asked in 2007, "Will Americans want to watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis? And that woman, by the way, is not going to want to look like she's getting older, because it will impact poll numbers. It will impact perceptions."

Glenn Beck has said that "Hillary's Voice Makes Angels Cry. ... Brace Yourself, Men Of America."

There has been comment after comment about Hillary's overall attractiveness. When Bill has been mentioned in the media, it's not about his hair, or his charming smile, or even the tailoring of his suits. There have been comments regarding the way his weight has yo-yo'd in the past, but beyond that, there have been few, if any comments, regarding his appearance.

If, by comparison, we look at Melania Trump, the GOP nominee's wife, we have not really seen her much on the campaign trail - in part, apparently, because she prefers to tend to their now-10 year old son, Barron. After the accusations of plagiarism were levelled against her during her appearance at the Republican National Convention, it would be a bit of a surprise to see her much on the campaign trail again. Of her press coverage, though, one can safely say that at least once, if not two or three times, it is mentioned in any given article that she is a former model, as if that somehow has bearing on what she might say or how she might say it.

Even going back to when the Obamas first moved into the White House, much was made over the fact that Michelle Obama was an attractive woman with very well toned arms. In fact, there was a media furor when she chose to have her White House portrait taken in a - GASP - sleeveless dress.

My God, what was she thinking?

Never mind the fact that Michelle Obama, like her predecessors, have had agendas of their own as they head to the White House with their husbands. Never mind that each of the First Ladies have done a great deal of good in their largely-ornamental positions. The media went nuts over her arms.

Even though it's the 21st century, one thing continues to be painfully clear; women continue to be the gift wrapping for their husbands, and so long as we as a society understand that, all is good.


What do you think?

What do you think about the coverage on Hillary vs. Donald?

See results

A case for women...


We Gotta Be Fair

Hey, I get it - women have been eye candy for generations, and there are those who take pride in that role. That's all right, and if you can get away with it, more power to you. I also get that men traditionally have held the seat of power in part because of their traditional role: they are the hunter gatherers and spokespeople for the family while women have been, for ages, relegated to the background to raise children and look attractive.

But we don't live in the Dark Ages anymore, and while anyone should be complimented if they're looking good - it's a boost to the ego, after all - that should not be our chief focus when it comes to women. Yes, we have made fun of men's looks on occasion, ranging from picking apart Donald Trump's hair to mocking comedians like Carrot Top, but that has never been our focus for that gender. Women have a lot more to offer than just a pleasing face or body to look at, and it's time that the media starts reflecting that.

Oh No, She Didn't! (She did, and she looks great!)

Michelle Obama's White House Portrait
Michelle Obama's White House Portrait

A Glance At The Gender Gap


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