Hillary's Pantsuits: Far from Newsworthy, But Her Work Is
Hillary’s Pantsuits: Far from Newsworthy, But Her Work Is
As the 2016 presidential election approaches, many are considering whether Hillary Rodham Clinton- former FLOTUS, U.S. Senator of NY, and U.S. Secretary of State- will try her hand at a second run for office. The thought of electing the first female president is inspiring for those who hope to maintain the current momentum of progressivism. Nevertheless, the rise of Clinton’s political presence has come at a cost: public scrutiny of her appearance by various media outlets.
For those who need a brief refresher, here is the difference between newsworthy coverage of Clinton, and non-newsworthy coverage of Clinton:
Newsworthy: Clinton makes diplomatic strides with China, India, and Bangladesh
Not Newsworthy: Hillary wears no makeup on an overseas trip, looks “like a schoolgirl”
Newsworthy: U.S. Secretary of State addresses Chamber of Commerce
Not Newsworthy: Many view Hillary's scrunchie as “too silly” for a cabinet official
Newsworthy: Clinton meets with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere at United Nations
Not Newsworthy: Hillary’s hair clip is “unprofessional,” according to critics
Newsworthy: U.S. Secretary of State speaks to the New York Women’s Foundation
Not Newsworthy: Hillary appears “overweight and very tired” in recent events
Newsworthy: Senator Clinton delivers speech at the Democratic National Convention, calls for Democratic party unity
Not Newsworthy: Hillary’s orange pantsuit is “flattering to her hair and skin tones”
Most citizens concur that the physical appearance of Hillary Rodham Clinton is not a newsworthy topic for media outlets to cover. In contrast, most citizens do not recognize that such coverage is inherently harmful to Clinton, as well as to all women. Here’s why:
1. Discussion of Clinton’s hair, makeup, and weight is degrading, whether the discussion is positive or negative in nature. Truly, her esteem warrants a level of respect equal to that of male political leaders, many of whom have never been scrutinized for their physical appearance.
2. Focus on Clinton’s physical appearance detracts from the discussion of her policies, the most significant aspect of her work as a former FLOTUS, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State.
3. If media outlets place emphasis on the physical appearance of a female political leader, it implies that all women, regardless of esteem, are subject to critiques of their own physical appearance. Such implications perpetuate the objectification of women, for they teach youth that a woman’s body is an integral part of her identity.
As 2016 nears, let’s all remember that the future president of the United States is not defined by her pantsuits, but rather by her policies.
Gina DiPaola is a junior at Irondequoit High School in Rochester, NY. At her school, Gina is the president of her class, the president of Student Service Club, and an active member of Debate Club and Model UN. Outside of school, she is the editor and social media manager of the non-profit organization Girls4STEM, a committee member of the New York Women's Equality Coalition, and a VolunTEEN Nation Ambassador. Gina is passionate about writing, politics, human rights, and advocacy; she aspires to pursue a career in social justice and international development.