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The Beauty Pageant of Presidential Politics

It’s the birth pangs of the first woman president.

Boy, do I know this topic. I’m an expert on beauty pageants. I’m also an expert
at what happens years after those days are over and you’re damn fine looking,
but just not in that 20-something ideal. When you get into your 40s something
else happens, but when you hit the meat of middle age, as Hillary Clinton has
today, it’s not enough in America to simply have your game on. It seems America
hasn’t grown at all since Eleanor Roosevelt. I can’t imagine Britain or the
European countries putting a female candidate through the beauty juggernaut
with an eye towards what Americans perceive as perfection. Margaret Thatcher
seen through the mirror wasn’t exactly a Princess Di moment.

We’re not talking about Britney Spears showing up on stage fat, unprepared
and pathetic. What we’re talking about is a middle aged woman who is competent,
prepared, intelligent and ready to lead this nation in all manner of crisis.
Yet that is where the right-wing has gone. But what about Clinton’s looks? After
all, when meeting Ahmadinejad you better have your best face on.

Back in the 1990s they had Ken Starr drag her in for testimony, then when that
wasn’t good enough they tried to tie her dear friend’s suicide to her machinations.
Hannity did it again just this year.

They’ve tried going after her policies. Sean Hannity picks over them every
day even though he hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about. Never stopped a wingnut
pundit before.

Mr. Obama is going after her policies today by lying about his health
care plan saying it does something it does not. He’s doing it in direct mailing.
Of course, he won’t do it the way Drudge and Rush are doing it, because as weak
an ideologue as Obama is he’s still a Democrat and we respect smart women.

But it’s finally come down to this. A picture of Slick Mitt in all his perceived
male beautification versus a snapshot of Clinton that is bad.

… .. We know that the presidency ages the occupants of that office rapidly.
You go back and look at… Well, you can’t use Clinton because he dyed his
hair based on the audience he was speaking to, but take a look some pictures
of Bush in 2000, when he was campaigning, or 2001 when he was inaugurated.
Take a look at him now. Just been eight years. The difference is stark. He’s
kept himself in good shape and so forth, but you can say that this is a sad,
unfortunate thing. But men aging makes them look more authoritative, accomplished,
distinguished. Sadly, it’s not that way for women, and they will tell you.
(interruption) Well, Snerdley, you’re just sitting there thinking I’m on the
precipice of the cliff here without a bungee cord. I’m not. I am trying to
be… Look, if I’m on the edge of the bungee cord, then I’ll take the leap.
The bungee cord will save me. I’m just giving an honest assessment here of
American culture. Look at all of the evidence. I mean, I’ve just barely scratched
the surface with some of the evidence, and so: Will Americans want to watch
a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis? … ..

Our Looks-Obsessed Culture Want to Stare at an Aging Woman?
, by Rush Limbaugh

The wingnuts are doing whatever they can to attach a bad photo to Clinton and capitalize on America’s
infantile views of beauty that stop when the woman is middle age. Men get more
distinguished. Women simply age and it’s not pretty. Do we want to put ourselves through such a visual onslaught?

There are many things Clinton symbolizes, including a woman who is at her most powerful prime in intellect and prowess, with a beauty that comes from something other than simply youth. It remains to be seen if it will
inspire America and the women in this country to stand up for a fuller view
of women. That beauty turns to brilliance when brains hit maturity and power
comes into play.

Over my many years I’ve done more photo ops than you can imagine. Certainly
more than any blogger and likely more than most radio hosts on the air today.
It’s easy to take a bad shot. Ask any actor. Ask Jennifer Love Hewitt. Cameras
are everywhere and you can’t always be prepared.

There is a reason we’ve not had a female president when countries all over
the world have long ago. It’s not just our disrespect for female brain power,
including in the fields of national security and military issues. It’s mostly
because of conservatism’s reign over this country and our culture, with men like Huckabee just
a decade ago pontificating on how a wife should submit to her husband. The role women have in a Mormon family, which is similar. It was
illustrated yesterday when Chris Matthews called Clinton a ball buster, referring
to her “eunuch chorus,” because this powerfully strong individual, this woman, couldn’t possibly inspire independent men to follow her if she didn’t fist castrate their free will.

The other issue is that we ditch our women at
midlife. Husbands have been doing it for over a century. I won’t get into the hormone reality
that women experience at midlife. Or that a man’s midlife impotence is usually
hidden or fixed with a pill. But come midlife women are seen as “old” simply by virtue that they can’t have children anymore. Those days are changing, even if some women hang on to fertility as the last gasp of youth. Many women are discovering, however, that in the modern era the childbearing years are not the only great years. Freedom at midlife is liberating, especially if you’ve done your homework.

However, for decades conservatives and others have
been talking about the post-feminist era, which I’ve been arguing doesn’t exist.
It’s not a reality because women around the world are still suffering. I also
doesn’t exist because America hasn’t grown up to accept the beauty of women
once we get past child bearing age and into our prime. Yes, our prime. A time
when family, children and even a husband is less the focus than self. A time
when women can bring all their life’s experiences to bear, their education,
their travel and put it into action for others.

What a perfect time to wake up and say, I think I want to be president.

Oh, but Rush asks, calling himself “brave” instead of the infantile, sexist gasbag that he is: Does Our Looks-Obsessed Culture Want to Stare at an Aging Woman? This from a stuffed pig of a man who has no respect whatsoever for women, calling us “feminazis” and “babettes” when we venture into serious subjects.

It takes a long time for a woman to find her stride in things that matter,
worldly issues on which she can have an effect. It’s long past time America
grew up. After all, a woman would never get a chance to exert her power in national politics if she was young and simply inspirational, with little experience or accomplishments to her name, you know, like Mr. Obama. The power of her personality simply wouldn’t be enough.

Sometimes a bad picture is just a bad picture. But sometimes it’s also conservatives
warning that a distinguished man is better qualified than an aging face in a
country where the beauty standard is Britney Spears. That’s because conservatives are still holding women up as objects and symbols, instead of respecting women for their intellectual value and the power behind it. After all, Condi might have gotten the big titles, but she was always second to Deadeye Dick. Sexism and symbols, baby.

Conservatives don’t want America to grow up. It will screw up their “traditional” vibe and Concerned Women for America won’t have an excuse to get home to cook hubby’s dinner.

Democrats are ready. Primary voters are prepared. It’s long past time we joined the grown ups and seriously considered inviting a middle aged
woman into the world leader’s club.

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.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong