I was scrolling through my facebook page and saw an article one of my friends posted that reminded me of our class discussion of how feminine power and beauty are linked. The title of the article is “Kamala Harris Flap Highlights Study that Female Political Candidates Are Hurt by Discussion of Their Looks,” and it essentially discussed the results of a new study that indicated that female political candidates see their ratings suffer if their personal appearance is discussed in the media. Interestingly, this was true regardless of whether the discussion of their appearance was positive or negative; as the article put it,
“Remarks that are neutral, positive or negative about a woman candidate’s appearance are all detrimental to her candidacy. But a positive statement actually caused a bigger drop in favorability than a strictly neutral statement or a negative one.”
This article about female politicians in the United States shows a strikingly different attitude towards the co-mingling of feminine beauty and power than the model provided by She. In the novel, She derives the vast majority of her power and agency from her beauty, and is respected and admired for her physical appearance. While I think it is unfair that female politicians have to be concerned about the media’s portrayal of their appearance in a way that male politicians do not, I like the fact that this article seems to suggest that U.S. voters are looking to separate a woman’s appearance from her ability to be an effective leader. I hope that this article indicates that voters in the U.S. legal system are acknowledging a separation between feminine beauty and power, and are willing to trust women based on their capabilities rather than any focus on their physical appearance. However, I don’t think this will have really been achieved until the media stops giving dramatically more coverage about female politician’s appearances than those of male politicians.
The link to the article (which itself contains a link to the survey) is here: http://www.ca.allgov.com/news/unusual-news/kamala-harris-flap-highlights-study-that-female-political-candidates-are-hurt-by-discussion-of-their-looks-130411?news=849701