Dear Hillary: Two Words

Dear Hillary,

Thank you.

Thank you for insisting that your brain and your chutzpah matter more than how you wear your hair or if you’re seen in glasses.

Thank you for not taking the bait when it comes to the perpetual picking at your style, rather than your substance.

Thank you for the debate that is being raised over appearances in general – an issue of performance and qualifications over artifice, if you ask me.

Thank you for showing up looking weary, as well you should, given the responsibilities of your position. Frankly, I’d be worried if you weren’t showing a bit of a change much less your age, and were instead out scouting the latest quickie beauty tips and tricks, or concierge-assisted nips and tucks.

Thank you for allowing the pundits (and yes, some of the rest of us) to feel foolish about giving a damn what you look like, though if you ask me – you look just fine and more importantly, you do us proud.

In the recent flurry of press over your “au naturel” look, also known as utterly appropriate Normalcy (in my book), I am reminded of Dorothy Sander’s Huffington Post column on Keeping Up Appearances. Dorothy points out how much time (and energy) we squander, worrying more about how we look rather than what we learn, what we say, what we do, and what we contribute in substantive ways.

So if you will allow, a thank you to Dorothy as well, for keeping women honest and aware, even as we struggle with cultural conventions, and the desire to nonetheless “look good.”

I don’t recall that we nitpicked over Madeleine Albright to this extent, during her historic tenure as Secretary of State. But perhaps I’ve conveniently forgotten if we did.

Still, we didn’t seem to mind Henry Kissinger in glasses and sans makeup, though I don’t care to imagine him in lipstick, thank you very much. All in all, I’m relieved to know that our Secretary of State is tending to India and China and Iran, rather than consulting a stylist.


A Woman Taking a Lesson

Image 1 of Hillary Clinton, AP Photo / Bikas Das. Click to access original in full size. Image 2, AP.

© D. A. Wolf



    • BigLittleWolf says

      Personally Belinda, I think a lot of women give a damn. But many of us are living that blur of juggling school and relationships, or work and relationships and child-rearing, or work and single parent child-rearing, or some other combination. By the time we look up or take a breath, another day has disappeared and the bigger picture items that would help us all seem to slip away.

      Perhaps this is part of why we’re seeing renewed activism in those of us who are emptying our nests or past that stage. We’re feisty and fighting back. We’re standing up and speaking out. And so are many younger women. But yes – we need more – giving a damn about what matters.

  1. says

    Our immature expectations that women be beauty queens cause so much harm and diminish what should be really important. Neatness and cleanliness are, I think, reasonable – being stylish and “properly” made up is so much less important than what we are doing as people, how we are using our talents. What kind of messages are we sending? Your words struck a chord with me!

    • BigLittleWolf says

      I’m glad my words struck a chord, Carol. I’m with you – for men and women both. But how do we reclaim our common sense on this issue – and the importance of appearance and body image attached to a woman’s value?

  2. says

    BLW, I wish I had the answer to that, but I do not. I suspect we will not reclaim our common sense until we, as a society, become less absorbed with the superficial. In other words, not in our lifetimes!

  3. says

    Yes. Thank you. For allowing the rest of us to feel normal and maybe even a but foolish at times. I look at her and think about her amazing brain, not about what isn’t hiding her dark spots or her wrinkles.

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