Can We Stop Scrutinizing Political Women’s Fashion Choices?
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Women in politics are constantly scrutinized and torn apart for the way that they look, whether that be the outfit that they’re wearing, their shoes, or even their makeup. As young, professional women ourselves, we understand the importance of dressing the part and always looking presentable. However, there has emerged a recent phenomenon where the fashion choices of women have increasingly become scrutinized more than their policies or political stance on an issue. This shouldn’t be the case. You almost never hear the outfit or style of a male politician examined on the news, nor are there commentators focused on clashing suit colors. Women in politics should be judged to the same degree as men are. A closer eye should be placed on their policies and what they stand for as a public servant, rather than how expensive their dress was or how high their heels were.
This issue was prevalent recently because First Lady Melania Trump appeared at a United Nations luncheon wearing a bright pink dress. The content and message of her speech was on bullying, and how everyone must come together to put an end to it. However, you would be hard pressed to find many news articles about the content of her speech. Many were entirely focused on what she was wearing. The dress she was wearing cost $2,950. According to an article on Business Insider, her fashion choices showed her lack of public speaking experience. Despite this supposed coverage of her speech, this article didn’t actually talk about the performance of the speech, or what was lacking. In fact, it was entirely focused on her look. This article isn’t unique. There are countless recounts of the event that barely mention the message that she was trying to convey, as everyone was instead entirely focused on her pink dress.
To be fair, this is not a strictly Republican issue. I’m sure we can all attest to seeing an article or two during the campaign all about Hillary Clinton’s infamous pantsuits. Whether you agree with her politics or not, her policies are what should be analyzed and criticized, not her outfits. When giving a speech about inequality, she was heavily criticized for wearing a $12,000 Armani jacket. She was often criticized for not being feminine enough. Some argued that she should’ve worn more makeup. We should be focusing on what she is saying, and what her ideas are, and not her ensemble.
By focusing on the politics and policies of a candidate or elected official, we can learn more about who they are, and determine if they are the right person for the job at hand. It shouldn’t matter the clothes someone is wearing, or how much makeup they have on. By constantly criticizing the fashion choices of women, we are demeaning them in the political sphere, and only further impinging them from reaching greater levels of success. Focus on their policies, because that is what makes a good politician, not the outfit they wear or how they look.
Joleen is a Contributor at FFL. She enjoys reading, going to Chipotle, and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can find her at the library, or studying for the LSAT. Her goal is to become a lawyer, and eventually run for public office. Her role models are Nikki Haley and Sandra Day O’Connor.
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