Hair and There

In July, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton addressed the 88th National Beauty Culturists League convention in Fairfax, VA. Her campaign produced placards for each table depicting seven of Clinton's hairstyles dating back to her days as first lady with the tag line, "Pay attention to your hair, because everyone else will." Adhering perhaps to the if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em school of thought, Clinton joked about her hairstyling missteps over the years. "Now, you know, when you get to be my age, there are three things you know you have to have—good friends, a good sense of humor and a good hairstylist," she said. "If there's ever been anyone who exemplifies the need for help on many occasions when it comes to hair, I am that person. I am really here, in part, to say thank you for dedicating your life to helping take care of people like me." She went on to say that her late mother-in-law, Virginia, loved visiting her hairdresser and even ended up marrying one. I guess those are the kinds of remarks you'd expect her to make to a convention of hairdressers, but it makes you wonder why Clinton's hairstyles have merited so much media attention over the years when there are so many more pressing issues to consider. Clinton actually brought the subject up herself, alluding to the fact that when she was first lady, "Changing my hairstyle took up more space in the newspapers than a lot of important issues like, you know, the war in Bosnia, health care and so much else."

Marianne Dougherty
Marianne Dougherty

To be fair, it's not just Clinton whose hairstyles have been making headlines. After John Edwards was pilloried for getting a $400 haircut, YouTube ran clips of him primping before a television appearance, while "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story played in the background. That's when Edwards decided to make his own YouTube video called "Hair" that poses the question, "What really matters?" If you ask me, what we should be discussing is why the most powerful nation on earth has yet to elect a female president. Other countries, including Ireland, Germany, Chile, Finland, Latvia, Liberia and Switzerland, have done so. Maybe when we start taking women seriously, we'll care less about what's on their heads than what's inside. —Marianne Dougherty, editor in chief, [email protected]

Hillary Clinton's signature bob
Hillary Clinton's signature bob


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