Well, never, really, but this really made my day. Sorta.
It started off as a joke. In the photographs showcasing the meeting of ultimately useless heads of states and wannabe-states (I’m lookin’ at you Palestine!), I noticed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was looking pretty good. When someone looks good, you notice they look good. When someone looks like crap, you notice it. And when someone’s in between, well, either you’ll be crucified or heralded for maintaining such an appearance that takes no real, polarizing aesthetic side.
Anyway, I noticed that her hair in particular was looking smashing – sleek cut, longer than the traditional bob-cut and flattened as opposed to hair-sprayed for volume white women just don’t have. Finding this amusing, I decided to do what most observant people do these days: tweet my thoughts. So, I tweeted:
Personal opinions on this sham of a peace process aside, I will say this: Hillary’s hair finally looks decent.#blatantsexism
It got some attention and that was that. When I began to see more pictures of Hillary, I thought to myself what a great satirical post it would make on KABOBfest.com, were I to write about Hillary’s hair as the most important point of discussion in this renewed peace process. Not only was it the most important but it was the only thing that seemed to provide me with any hope for change.
Even if follicle.
So, in attempt to get the post going, I thought I’d do something Perez Hilton style – mouse drawn white text and arrows and gooey gross stuff at the edges of people’s mouths, that sort of stuff. In my search for pictures, however, I came across an article in the Washington Post’s Fashion and Beauty section entitled, “In her latest defiance, Hillary Rodham Clinton gets a new, longer hairdo.”
And it is completely serious.
For a moment I thought I had come across The Onion which is slowly becoming a more legitimate source for news and commentary than MSM. But alas, it was the perpetually annoying WashPo. And the article? God awful with quotes like the following:
Clinton, at age 62, has grown out her hair. And it looks quite nice.
Conventional wisdom advises that after a certain age — 50ish — women should cut their hair. It’s impossible to trace this bit of advice to the first tyrant who uttered it. But over generations, it has become ingrained in beauty lore. Some women might continue to wear flowing hair deep into their AARP years, but they do so knowing they’re flouting accepted practice.
Clinton’s hair, now creeping toward below-the-shoulders territory, is practically radical for Washington’s seasoned female power elite. Good for her.
There’s no desire here to try to delve into the secretary’s psyche by focusing on her longer hair. So defenders of a woman’s right to be fickle about her hair can stand down. Whether Clinton’s new style is feminine or pretty or soft are matters of personal opinion. What resonates more broadly is the length. Somewhere between chin-length and shoulder-grazing, a hairstyle became a silent reminder that cultural assumptions do more damage to women as they age than any poorly chosen frock ever could.
Is Robin Gihvan serious? Is the Washington Post serious? Are they seriously wasting precious near-infinite online space on Hilary’s hair and relating it to the pressures experienced by women on how to appear, as dictated by the length, colour and style of their hair, amongst countless other things? Does Gihvan not see the problem in her article which focuses only briefly on Clinton and even then not on Clinton but her hair.
Japan’s Koizumi got some love for awhile for his amazing hairstyle (which honestly was amazing and such an attractive look on the man) but even that was no where near the obsession everyone’s had with Hilary’s hair.
To state the obvious, the issue here is simple and age-old. It’s hard to get past the physical when it comes to women, regardless of their achievements ..or lack of achievements. As much as we say we’ve progressed in terms of women’s rights and equality, those things are ultimately meaningless if nothing substantive has come from them which redefined our objectified and commodified humanity – we’re still commodities, but with voting rights. This sort of stuff, especially when completely serious, trivializes a woman’s role, especially one which is meant to be authoritative. Women in the public eye become more of public properties than men. Men can get away with much, but the societal eyes constantly follow women around – always filled with scrutinizing pus.
Anyway. Way to ruin my fun, WashPo.
As per usual. Jerks.