Sexism, ageism, lookism: They all came to the fore this week with wisecracks and commentary about Hillary Clinton and her natural look during her recent trip to Bangladesh.
The U.S. Secretary of State’s style had already been getting significant attention of late. Photos of her sitting and tapping on her BlackBerry in a no-nonsense way while wearing a Washington power-broker suit and sunglasses even became the subject of a parody Tumblr page. But laughs with her, not at her, and even lends Ms. Clinton a certain dollop of cool among the young, digital set.
Then a fresher crop of photos: Ms. Clinton was photographed smiling and apparently wearing no makeup except red lipstick, her hair falling simply to her shoulders. The Drudge Report had a field day earlier, declaring the look “Hillary Au Naturale”. The Huffington Post noted other reactions, such as writer-commentator Ed Klein on Fox News calling her “overweight” and “tired.” The Washingto n Post though described her relaxed look “refreshing.”
Yet as the Huffington Post also notes, Ms. Clinton herself put it all in proper perspective with comments to CNN. In an interview, Ms. Clinton goes into mild hysterics about the attention paid to her looks recently, whether kind and unkind.
As she told to CNN: “I feel so relieved to be at the stage I’m at in my life right now. Because, you know, if I want to wear my glasses, I’m wearing my glasses. If I want to wear my hair back, I’m pulling my hair back.”
And here’s where she bests all the commentators. Glasses, a natural look, confidence about one’s age and individuality, all are the height of hipness at the moment. So anyone suggesting that the natural look is out is obviously not in.