Sexist or just silly? Painting Hillary as a fashion icon • New York Post
The season of presidential candidates trying to look cool is upon us. If you’re a Democrat, the media will lend a helping hand. And Glamour magazine’s attempt to hip-ify Hillary Clinton is as awkward — and hypocritical — as one might expect.
Women want solid information, not gimmicks, whether we’re deciding what products to buy or candidate to support. Most of the time, we can tell when we’re the target of manipulative marketing, and soundly reject it. We have certain sources of information that we trust — and even more that we know to tune out.
Glamour has had a longstanding and well-deserved reputation as a solid source of information about fashion, beauty and culture for smart, stylish women. Yet when it comes to politics, Glamour’s standards drop through the floor.
Rather than featuring Clinton’s accomplishments and the policy agenda she offers America — and comparing those to the policies and positions of her competitor, Donald Trump — Glamour is trying to sell women on Hillary by positioning her as a fashion icon and influencer. It’s strained, it’s silly and it’s exactly what feminists are usually arguing against.
Take this month’s popular “Dos and Don’ts” section, which features “The Hillary Effect,” showcasing how Hillary’s pantsuits — once the butt of jokes — have grown in popularity. Here’s Glamour:
“It started in 2008, when the presidential candidate worked the campaign trail in a wardrobe of ROYGBIV pantsuits. Today everyone from Gigi to Kesha to Zendaya is suddenly rocking the rainbow. Pure coincidence? Subliminal fashion influence? Outright endorsement? Whatever your politics, it’s fun to look at.”
The magazine shows Hillary smiling and laughing in a dazzling array of colorful images, which are placed in the shape of a rainbow high above her celebrity imitators. This is sending readers an important signal. It’s not an explicit endorsement — that would be far too political and leading for this discerning, independent audience — but rather attempts to imbue Clinton with the aura of celebrity and high fashion.
Glamour’s message: Hillary Clinton is so cool that major celebrities featured in Glamour are emulating her.
Just as Glamour details what fashions and beauty products are being donned by the rich and famous — knowing very well that’s a much more powerful endorsement than any ordinary ad — Glamour is selling Hillary Clinton as the latest trend that the cool kids are all embracing.
Hillary’s not the pitchman. She’s the product.
This in-kind gift to the candidate is practically priceless. Glamour has a circulation of more than 2 million readers, most of whom fall into the very politically desirable demographics of millennial, Gen Y and Gen X women. These are people who may generally lean to the left politically, but aren’t necessarily so reliable when it comes to turning out to vote.
They need to be motivated, and Clinton and the Democrats are both the source of their enthusiasm and its beneficiaries.
Hillary Clinton desperately wants her own aura of hipness like the one that had fueled Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Sanders had managed to make his campaign an important social signal: His devoted followers weren’t just expressing their support for him and his platform; they were also saying something positive and important about themselves in aligning with Sanders.
They were showing that they’re principled, fighting to make the world a better place and standing up against a stodgy Washington machine standing in the way of true progress.
Now Glamour — like many in the media — is attempting to put a new spin on Hillary’s decades-old image. She’s being repackaged as a forward-thinking, hip, energetic leader.
Yet for Glamour readers to be convinced, they’ll need a lot more than just a spread on Hillary’s trendy pantsuits. After all, women reject the idea that a political leader needs to have the right “look” to succeed. We want substance over style. Frankly, the focus on Mrs. Clinton’s attire and appearance is a little insulting both to the candidate and to Glamour’s thoughtful readers.
Glamour, in the future, please do inform women on the important issues our country faces, but please don’t manipulate and insult us by pretending that pantsuits and color schemes are what’s at stake in this election — or that they’re what women really care about.
Carrie Lukas is vice president for policy of Independent Women’s Voice.