Hillary, Politics & The Beast of Beauty
No, you probably didn't. But then that shouldn't matter.
Mind you, I believe that a woman can do or not do whatever she damned well pleases with her appearance, and an older woman certainly has more than earned that right. Which brings me to the brouhaha surrounding this photo of Hillary Clinton. In a moment.
You probably also didn't know that Mrs. Clinton is not my type. Not that that should matter either.
I have been around Mrs. Clinton a few times, including up close twice. She not only isn't a classic beauty, which is okay and wouldn't keep me from voting for her, but she doesn’t project an inner beauty, which also wouldn't keep me from voting for her but is a disqualifier in my own beauty book.
I've been smitten by women who wouldn't be confused with a 60-something Julie Christie but radiate a beauty from within that is quite transfixing. (Christie happens to do both, at least on the screen.) Mrs. Clinton leaves me cold, while the photo's initial publication at the Drudge Report website with malicious intent leaves me disgusted that the old double standard regarding how women and men look is alive and thriving in Campaign '08.
Mrs. Clinton, who turned 60 in October, obviously is showing wear and tear, as well as some wrinkles.
This prompted a misogynist blogger who goes by the handle "XWL" to opine at Immodest Proposal that the photo is "the most significant" of the year because:
"Whichever photog snapped this photo effectively ended Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.Ed Morrissey asks at Captains Quarters whether the photo will indeed derail her bid:
"There's no recovering from that, image isn't everything, but it counts for a lot, and her image in that photo isn't the image most Americans would want us to project as a nation. You don't have to be wrinkle free to be president, but you can't look haggard and bedraggled, either."
"Have political campaigns become the equivalent of beauty contests for both men and women, and if so, can women get a fair shake at an age where candidates have the requisite experience?"I think women can get a fair shake most of the time and use Elizabeth Dole as a reference. But this is Hillary and she is getting the kind of scrutiny no one on the public stage deserves this side of image freakazoids like Brittney Spears and Paris Hilton.
Viagra jokes aside, Mrs. Dole never was subjected to the kind of scrutiny Mrs. Clinton is getting when she was the wife of a senator and presidential wannabe and later as a presidential wannabe herself. And while we're at it, Fred Thompson ain't no glamourpuss, while John Kerry didn't get any closer to the White House in 2004 after Botoxing his wrinkles away.
Right-wing talkmeister Rush Limbaugh at least asks the right question:
"It's like almost an addiction that some people have to what I call the perfection thatMy answer is that while Christie surely would agree that beauty is the tail that wags the
presents of successful, beautiful, fun-loving people. So the question is this: Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?" Hollywood
If you've read this far, you may have noticed that all of the commentating is from men. That, of course, is that the vast majority of commentators are men. That, of course, is because . . .
One exception is the Anchoress, who sums things up thusly:
"Some are wondering if showing such a picture helps Hillary by inspiring pity or hurts her. I think it’s a wash -- some will be small and pathetic and laugh at her for daring to look like a 60 year old woman, some will admire her. I happen to think it’s a good picture, not 'flattering' but so much more interesting and human than most of her photos.I wish that were so, but I'm not holding my breath.
"Perhaps showing a woman wearing her miles on her face will help to erase the double standard that says men may be permitted to age gracefully while women must remain freakishly unlined, dewy and firm."