Ted Cruz Sports Grey Beard First Time in Senate Tenure

Julia Niehoff, Editor-in-Chief

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   Okay, now that I have your attention with this absurd title, I am going to be honest: this has nothing to do with Senator Cruz’s appearance. Instead, while the title of this article may seem out of place, similar titles directed at female politicians and leaders are flooded in our media; all of which are about their physical appearance.

   Despite their accomplishments, women nonetheless are demeaned by the media constantly. These articles are intentionally created to distract female politicians from their work, but it is our own culture’s treatment of women in the media that adds fuel to the fire. Sexism, thanks to how widespread it is, is often overlooked as normal. The thing is, it’s not, and in 2018, we as responsible digesters of media, need to notice that poor representation of women leads to poor treatment of women.

   The following headlines are real and from The Daily Mail, the second-most sold magazine in the U.K., which also has a large following globally: “Makeup free Jennifer Garner hides her enviable figure under dowdy slacks and shirt during coffee run in Los Angeles”, “Hillary Duff shows off shapely legs in skintight jeans and towering wedges as she takes son Luca to lunch”, and “They say makeup-free Amy Adams is anything but glamorous as she goes wild in the aisles in Los Angeles supermarket.” This is not just directed at celebrities, but all women in the limelight. Angela Merkel at the Oslo opera house wore a low-cut shirt. The Headline? “Merkel’s Weapons of Mass Distractions.”

   But how does this difference compare to men? That is best explained by Guto Harri, a writer for GQ Magazine, “How men look matters a lot less than what they say.” In other words, how men present themselves physically is not seen as a top priority. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s campaign hair and makeup were reported to take 600 hours in total. Clinton, in her campaign memoir, she wrote, “I’m not jealous of my male colleagues often, but I am when it comes to how they can just shower, shave, put on a suit and be ready to go. The few times I’ve gone out in public without makeup, it’s made the news.” Being a “woman in the public eye” and the corresponding media pressure results in delegitimizing women as leaders.

   This does not occur in the United States. Prime Minister Theresa May, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, and even Dutchess Meghan Markle have been scrutinized for their appearance, even whilst on humanitarian and political appearances.

   In order to stop these double-standards, it is vital to speak up. The media needs to stop over-analyzing every single physical aspect of women–but instead look at their policies. Treat powerful women as colleagues, leaders, but most importantly, people.