Tuesday's Republican Debate brought out the worst in all the candidates. The media storm that followed Wednesday morning highlighted the heated exchange of words between Governors Rick Perry and Mitt Romney over immigration; the ganging up on Herman Cain; Ron Paul's attack on all the candidates for their unwillingness to "cut a penny" in defense spending; and Michele Bachmann's nails.
Yes, the day after the debate, political pundits and bloggers alike were up in arms over the long, squared-off, French-tipped nails of the bride-to-be only female GOP candidate.
Despite my aversion to the Minnesota Congresswoman, at first, I was a little outraged. Well, maybe not outraged, but miffed. "This is all people have to say about the lone female in the debate?" But then I came to my senses.
One, no one actually considers Bachmann a real contender anymore -- including the other candidates. Two, people have been listening to the crazy poppycock she's been spewing for months now and it's probably simply gotten tiresome to write about. And three, we make fun of John Boehner's fake tan and Chris Christie's weight.
Do I think there's a clear divide in the way men and women are treated in politics? Absolutely. Do I think gender biases and stereotypes still exist in this field? A hundred percent. But the truth is, if you're well-spoken and well-liked in the field, your appearance isn't going to be the butt of everyone's joke. Take Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law Professor running for Ted Kennedy's former Senate seat, for instance. No one's making fun of the way she looks -- and let's be honest, her eyeglasses do bear a slight resemblance to Sarah Palin's. Yes, Warren's campaign is on a much smaller scale than someone running for president, but I think we can all rest assured that if it were Bachmann or Palin or even Christie running for the seat, we'd see their faces on the likes of late night talk shows.
Bottom line is, no one and nothing are off-limits in politics. That goes for appearances, particularly appearances, if one has something specific about them -- long, fake, acrylic nails; a crappy spray tan; a weight problem. No, it's not PC to discuss a female's looks (unless they're an actress, singer, or model), but I really don't think they'd be commenting on these ladies' (or men's) style choices if they had a different personality.
When they start to nitpick Elizabeth Warren's appearance, then we'll have a problem.
Did you find Michele Bachmann's nails news-worthy? What about her arguments?
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