11 May 2012 by

Hillary Clinton Goes Without Make-Up: Bare Faced Cheek Or Fair Game?

Hillary Clinton Goes Without Make-Up: Bare Faced Cheek Or Fair Game?

Hillary Clinton going for minimal makeup in Dhaka this week

Oh Hillary Clinton. She’s at it again – sparking a huge debate, riling up the hacks and creating a big old media storm. Over the past few days, reporters around the globe have been frantically tapping away at their keyboards to get their two pence in on the latest Hillary hiccup: her controversial stance on… Make-up. Oh, and the odd scrunchie.

Yep, the U.S. Secretary of State has hit the headlines again after she dared to attend her press conferences in Bangladesh with barely there make-up on last week. (How could she?) Hours later reports from the event started to trickle in - but instead of writing about the fact that she, y’know, said clever stuff, the journalists filed hard hitting reports questioning if she ‘forgot’ her make-up. And the woman who previously set tongues wagging in feminist circles after she was labelled ‘haggard’, and who was recently criticised for her use of scrunchie hair ties, was branded ‘tired and withdrawn’ by Fox News. Eugh. Being tired, wearing hair accessories that went out of production in 1999. Really, you can see where they’re coming from: what good is a Secretary of State who’s working hard for a living and wants her hair out of her face?

Hillary Clinton Without Make-Up: Bare Faced Cheek Or Fair Game?

Hillary Clinton wearing more make-up on an official visit to Spain in July 2011

More reports say that a woman without make-up is showing she’s ‘resigned to defeat’, or ‘given up’ – that it’s a lack of effort. Of course, it’s nice to make an effort with your appearance - especially when you’re a public figure. But isn’t that something most of us do because we like to? Or feel slightly more confident because of doing so? Either way, it should remain a choice: if Hillary’s happy with her appearance, then why shouldn’t we be? (Again, she says actual words, too guys.)

But seriously – and most importantly – why are we even discussing it? It’s worrying that it’s still even an issue. Despite the many doors that have opened for professional women, the ones that do make it to the top are often subject to this mindless, sexist drivel and an incessant urge to bring down a woman on one of two counts: she’s clever? Well, then she must be ugly. She’s pretty? Obviously, she’s dumb.

And – as Jezebel asks – by engaging in discussion on the topic, jumping in to defend the honour of our female role models, are we merely reiterating that their ‘honour’ is defined by a woman’s looks, not her intelligence? Instead of fighting back, telling the perpetrators that it’s OK for Hillary to go bare-faced, that she isn’t ‘haggard’ that, of course she looks tired, would it more effective to say nothing about her looks at all?

Luckily, it doesn’t seem to bother Hillary. In a recent interview, she said: ‘I feel so relieved to be at the stage I'm at in my life right now. Because, you know, if I was to wear my glasses, I'm wearing my glasses. If I want to wear my hair back, I'm pulling my hair back. At some point, it's just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention. And if others want to worry about it, I let them do the worrying for a change. It doesn't drive me crazy anymore. It's just not something I think is important anymore.’

Is it that simple? Or has she just ‘given up’? Let us know below, or get involved in the discussion on the Grazia UK Facebook page.

Now, where’s that scrunchie…


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