Dear Readers, Dear Feminists:
We’d all been waiting for it, and on Monday, February 6, it happened: Hillary Clinton made a video appearance, her first since last fall’s election and this winter’s inauguration. “The future is female!” she concluded with force and joy, and oh, how we are still with her. . .
However, what mattered most to me about Clinton’s video wasn’t her words. It was her actual appearance. She chose to go on camera with an absolute minimum of makeup and with her (albeit highlighted) hair minimally styled.
If “looking presidential” derives from patriarchal expectations (and it does), then Clinton looks more presidential than ever. In most of her public appearances between last November and now, she’s been barefaced and straight-haired, a private citizen enjoying the ability to head out for a hike or a beach walk without a legion of stylists and makeup artists and PR folks. Male presidential candidates may be powdered and prepped for TV time, but they don’t have to wear eyeliner and three colors of shadow and blusher and lip liner and. . .
There are those of us who might wish that male presidential candidates did wear some of those cosmetics, for political reasons (although, TBH, a little cheek color might make the new Vice President look more alive). We believe in equality of the sexes. If women running for office are given the opportunity to wear lipstick, shouldn’t men in that position have the same right?
Are you giggling, imagining our dear Commander in Chief choosing an orange-toned lippie? But I am quite serious. Equality goes both ways. If women should have the same rights as men, men should have the same rights as woman.
Oh, wait. Women still make less. More women die in domestic violence incidents every year, as opposed to men. Women’s biology puts them at risk, too, due to ill-considered legislation at state and federal levels against safe, legal abortion.
We’re not equal—yet. That doesn’t mean, gentlemen, that we aren’t willing to see you in guyliner and nail polish; these products aren’t just for Adam Lambert anymore. But wouldn’t it be great if cosmetics and other appearance-altering things were optional for everyone? If women didn’t have to wear makeup, or high heels, or too-tight garments in order to “look like women?”
Hillary Clinton has chosen to dial back the gender signifiers of glamor. How we wish she could have done so before election day, but we understand why she didn’t. We still live in a patriarchal society. We still need to fight. We still need to ROAR.
This month, I take on the position of Executive Editor for ROAR Magazine, because I still want to fight, to engage, to work on changing the things that need to be changed. I couldn’t be prouder of the work we’re doing. In the weeks and months to come, many of you will hear from me directly as I seek your work for our pages, but if you don’t hear from me directly, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to see your work! You can reach me with questions or pitches. I’ll be handling essays, book reviews/author interviews, television writing, and more as we figure things out among team members.
P.S.: I’m wearing a lot of makeup in my current headshots, and I like them, and I feel like they represent me pretty well. But in the next round, I think I’ll be wearing my “everyday look:” Sunscreen, lip balm, and a big smile.