Sunday, May 13, 2012

The High Price of Maintaining an Acceptable Political Appearance

I don’t think I had ever read a copy of Allure magazine until recently.  To be honest, I’m not sure I had even heard of it until someone gave me a stack of magazines she had already finished and didn’t want to just throw away.  So at my daughter’s dance class last week, I was flipping through a bunch of magazines including the February 2012 edition of Allure magazine. 

To be honest, I wasn’t too impressed.  The magazine seems incredibly superficial.  It is just advertisement after advertisement for make-up and toiletries.  It had hard hitting articles with titles like “How to Take a Relaxing Bath,” and “Shocks of Color.”  There were also articles on fake eye lashes, accessories every woman should have, and the claim that “women will go to extraordinary lengths to tame their curls.”  Earth shattering stuff.

I was sitting next to a male friend as we were watching our kids in dance class.  He was giving his baby daughter a bottle while I was flipping through my copy of Allure.  Even before I got to the article entitled “How to Buy a Sex Toy,” I was pretty mortified that my friend saw me reading such a stupid magazine.  He is a smart, thoughtful fellow whose values I really admire.  (He recently quit his job when his wife had their third child so that he could be the primary caregiver as she grows the family’s business.)  This gentleman and I have had some great discussions about all kinds of interesting things:  the impact of student debt on the younger generation, work-life balance, whether our respective families will add more children, and even the parameters of attorney-client privilege.  What a disappointment it must have been for him to have looked over and seen a woman who had seemingly had a brain and family values reading such a moronic magazine!  I wonder if he’ll bother to strike up a conversation with me at future dance classes or if he’ll tell his wife to steer clear of the nit-wit with the make-up magazines.

Anyhow, as I was quickly flipping through the February edition of Allure one article caught my eye—it was a brief history of make-up through the centuries.  Maybe “article” doesn’t quite describe the piece.  It was more of a bunch of bulleted make-up facts.  One such bullet particularly got my attention:

“$22,800: Makeup artist Amy Strozzi’s earnings for two weeks of work with Sarah Palin in October 2008.  Strozzi was the highest-paid staffer on John McCain’s campaign.”

Now, based on my brief exposure to the magazine, I’m thinking the editors and readers of Allure like this fact and perhaps celebrate it.  The magazine seems quite obsessed with make-up. 

But I myself was horrified at this little fact.  Think about the repercussions.  Do the math.  What a sum must have been spent on make-up for Governor Palin’s vice presidential campaign!  And one can imagine this must not be an isolated phenomenon.  Other female candidates likely also need to have flawless make-up to be presentable.  That would suggest that female candidates routinely have to raise more money for their campaigns than male candidates.  They have extra expenditures to pay for the make-up artists (and presumably the hair stylists, if they want to avoid the Hillary “un-coifed” label).

1 Peter 3:3

 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.

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