Hairgate Redux all over again
Helaine Olen at Slate has a good piece up about the latest "hairgate" scandal, this one involving, who else, Hillary Clinton who is being dinged for being a rich, elitist for paying big bucks to get her hair done at Bergdorf Goodman. (Click over for the details...)
I just want to point out that women, in general, particularly older women, can't win on this one. If they don't go out of their way to at least look presentable they're called an "old crone" and if they do they're derided for spending so much time and money to try to look presentable. And none of it prevents the world from being casually vocal about how revolting they look look either way.
Take a gander at this grotesque image:
That's from a respectable mainstream magazine. You don't even want to know what the rightwingers are doing.
Olen points out rightly that Republicans, with the notable exception of Sarah Palin, have not been subject to this particular criticism. But Democratic men certainly have. She writes:
[W]hen it comes to Hairgates past and present, men—or at least male Democrats—are as likely to get dinged for their choices as women. Maybe the celebrity haircut is a gender-neutral easy get—an instant way to paint a candidate as privileged, out of touch, narcissistic. That it takes more than a bit of narcissism even to consider running for president is conveniently forgotten.
It's not really gender neutral though. She mentions the scandal over John Edwards' expensive haircut, but it's important to note that the tactic had a specific purpose: feminizing the Democratic candidate. They called him "The Breck Girl."
Here's Mike Huckabee using it to good effect:
"Congress is spending money faster than John Edwards in the beauty parlor."
So the purpose of these "hairgate" scandals is different for men than it is for women. For men it's to make them seem less than manly. For women, it's to highlight how much work it takes to hide the fact that they're ugly old beasts or frivolous little featherweights. Either way it's sexist and creepy. But the media always has a good time with it --- as if they've never spent any time primping in front of the mirror.