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The Forward Sisterhood: Why Do Women Compare Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren?

The-Jewish-Daily-Forward-logo-alt-blRumor has it that Elizabeth Warren might join a Bernie Sanders ticket, and another rumor suggests that Clinton will ask Warren to be her running mate. Meanwhile, Warren hasn’t endorsed either candidate but her name comes up a lot, especially when people critique Hillary Clinton for being fake.

Usually the conversation unfolds like this: Someone points out how Hillary Clinton is subjected to a double standard for her appearance, and then Warren is brought up as proof that it’s Clinton’s own fault. “I wish Elizabeth Warren were running for President,” they might say. “Because she proves how a woman in politics can be real.”

The argument goes that Warren doesn’t invest in her appearance and is therefore “real” and trustworthy, whereas Clinton spends time on her appearance and this bolsters the claim that she’s fake and untrustworthy. People point to Warren as proof that a woman in public life can be authentic, but when Warren was actually running in 2012 she was also deemed a “liar” by voters. Only now that she’s no longer seeking power is she trusted, and the antipathy is directed at Clinton.

I’m on the Hillary-Bernie fence but I’m astonished that anyone can dismiss the notion that women in public are judged and critiqued and verbally abused over their appearances in a way that men almost never are. The attention paid to Donald Trump’s looks is the exception and not the rule.

The much admired Elizabeth Warren came into the public eye in 2008 when she chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel overseeing TARP (aka the government financial bailout) and was elected as a Massachusetts Senator in 2013.

Before that she was in academia. It’s notable that in the brainy realms of society, women are usually given the room to be themselves without the botox and the bikini waxes. This doesn’t detract from the respect Warren deserves but it does put her chill attitude towards her looks in context. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has been in the public eye since 1979 when Bill Clinton was elected governor of Arkansas.

Had Clinton been in academia, would she have invested in her appearance or not cared? I have no idea, but I know the pressure on her to look a certain way has been longstanding, disproportionate, unfair and stupid.

If you Google ‘elizabeth warren looks’, no suggestions appear in the search box. If you do it for Hillary, this is what comes up:

Hillary Clinton Looks Like Yoda

Hillary Clinton Looks Like Kim Jong Il

Hillary Clinton Looks Like Miss Piggy

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