Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website   Read more about this blog.
Posted: April 9th, 2013
The damaging impact of media coverage on female politicians’ appearances

How many times does have you read about Hillary Clinton’s hair? Or Michele Obama’s upper arms? The inadvertent inclusion of details about women’s appearances can and does have a negative impact on their winnability and credibility in the world of politics.

So says, Name It. Change It, a non-partisan media-monitoring and accountability project of The Women’s Media Center and She Should Run, which tracks sexist media coverage of women candidates and public leaders.

According to the group:

“In the survey on media coverage of women candidates’ appearance, conducted by Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners and Robert Carpenter of Chesapeake Beach Consulting, the research used actual quotes about women candidates from media coverage of the 2012 elections and demonstrates that when the media focuses on a woman candidate’s appearance, she pays a price in the polls.”

And it doesn’t matter if it’s positive, negative or neutral. The mere mention of appearance somehow diminishes the viability of a fermale candidate, period. If you really think about, male politicians are rarely the subject of editorializing when it comes to their appearance–which includes what they wear, the color and style of their hair, their sagging faces, and their physical appeal. But not so with women. And with women fighting to get taken seriously in traditional male worlds, everything makes a difference.



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