Post-Debate Roundup: It’s Bachmann in White?

Scanning media coverage of last night’s GOP debate readers would find out that Herman Cain bungled some responses, Mitt Romney lost his cool, Rick Perry extolled our founding fathers, and Michele Bachmann wore a white military-style jacket. Huh?

Of course no other article happened to mention what the other candidates were wearing, just Bachmann. The men’s attire seemed to be grossly overshadowed by what these candidates were doing and saying rather than their fashion consciousness.

To outlets like Sunshine State News Bachmann wore a “white tunic” and to the Los Angeles Times, she “was dressed in an outfit with a nautical theme, complete with epaulets.”  Meanwhile the Huffington Post’s style editor Ellie Krupnick devoted an entire post to Bachmann’s nails, which she said “stole the show.”

Paired with her severely styled hair, curious dangly hoop earrings and a white military-inspired jacket (that, admittedly, we really liked) were Bachmann's famous fake nails, extending what seems like inches from the tip of her fingers for all the world to see.

Krupnick felt the need to posit that Bachman was so distracted by her own nails that she forgot where Libya was.

This kind of appearance-based coverage comes from men and women alike who shame and blame Bachmann for “refusing to be photographed in informal clothes.”

Why the discrepancy between what constitutes news for male versus female GOP candidates? The Boston Herald suggests that radio debates would eliminate this conundrum and make for a less distracting debate experience. But let’s think about this term “distracting” that keeps appearing in descriptions of Bachmann’s appearance. The fact that her clothing, face, and nails continue to be called “distracting” underscores a more insidious desire: for her to just stop distracting everyone with her problematic body and go away. That’s sexism.

Published by support on 10/19/2011

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