This week in double standards

One need look no further than the vaunted “Washington Whispers” blog at US News today to see how women in the public eye are treated differently than men. Writer Paul Bedard delves into the world of Michele Bachmann’s lip gloss:

Just consider last weekend’s 2011 RightOnline Conference in Minneapolis. Before stepping on stage to speak, the Republican realized she needed a touch of lip gloss but didn’t have any. Her new spokesperson, Alice Stewart, who worked for former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign, saw an old friend from Arkansas, Elizabeth Aymond, and asked for hers. “We thought she might need a little touch-up,” Stewart says. “Elizabeth whipped out her lip gloss and off she [Bachmann] went.”

But don’t call Bachmann a prima donna. “She is so focused on her speeches that it’s the little details [like lip gloss] that you don’t think about.”

The shade: Bare Minerals “Wild Honey.”

Jon Huntsman announced his bid for the presidency today, and most of the coverage — so far — has been about his politics rather than his appearance.

It’s not just female politicians, of course, who get this treatment. Venus Williams, the five-time Wimbledon champ, went to work a day ago and got this treatment from the Associated Press:

Goddesslike Venus dazzles Wimbledon in white dress

And she won her match. A later AP story had Venus stoking the coverage…

There sure was nothing shy about a playsuit Williams called “trendy”: white and sleeveless, with a deep “V” neckline, a triangle cut out in the back, a gold belt and gold zipper.

“Jumpers are very ‘now,”‘ she explained, “as is lace.”

Not as sensational as the corset-like black lace number with skin-toned undergarments that drew so much attention at the 2010 French Open, but Monday’s romper looked something akin to a toga and surely would have won the approval of her Roman goddess


  • JackU

    I can’t speak to Rep Bachmann’s makeup choices, but the second half of your story should mention that Venus Williams is also a fashion designer. What she wears on court is usually related to that part of her professional life.

  • Jon

    I personally think MPR is over covering Tim Pawlenty, but it would amuse me if the coverage did, occasionally, mention what kind of makeup Governor Pawlenty is wearing.

    That aside, I am glad you are highlighting the gender biased coverage. It needs to end.

  • Shannon Drury

    Hear hear! As a lifelong feminist and Minnesota NOW’s state president, I am no fan of Rep. Bachmann’s politics–but there is no excuse for sexist coverage like this. Her shade of lip gloss? What is she, a cute seventh grader? Bachmann is a member of Congress and a serious candidate for President, and she deserves coverage that discusses her ideas, not her appearance.