When it comes to self-presentation, Hillary Clinton can't win.
On Wednesday morning, Page Six reported that Clinton spent 600 whole dollars -- the horror! -- on a haircut at a high-end salon in New York City. Clinton, who is running for President of the United States and is a former First Lady, also committed the cardinal sins of (1) having "a huge entourage in tow," and (2) "being ushered through a side entrance." (Security detail? Entourage? Basically the same thing!)
Hillary Clinton is a woman who is constantly in the public eye and on television. She is a person who is constantly photographed. She is also a person who has money, not unlike many other high-profile political figures, and sometimes she spends that money on her personal grooming.
Clinton's hair has become a news item before, like when she wore a scrunchie...
Or when Matt Drudge started the rumor that she wore a wig...
Or when she wore a headband...
The above headlines are all from the last five years. Let's not forget the many snide comments written about her hair before the Internet archived every such piece. As Michelle Goldberg outlined in a piece for Slate in November, Clinton's hair has been a topic of conversation for actual decades, her changing hairstyles used as proof of her "conniving inauthenticity":
“Not only has Clinton’s hair changed since the campaign season, it seems to change just about every day,” said a 1994 piece in the San Jose Mercury News. “Just this week alone, her 'do went from softly feathered bangs on Tuesday to sleekly coiffed pageboy sans bangs on Wednesday. It’s most discomforting for the national sense of identity, Clinton watchers mutter. After all, you wouldn’t want the Statue of Liberty changing her hemline every other week.”
Clinton is not the first politician to face criticism over her or his hairstyles and their upkeep -- John Edwards, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders all come to mind. But the tenor and consistency of such critiques feel unique to her. Both Trump and Sanders have faced dumb jokes and rude comments about their hair, but neither's character or "authenticity" has been called into question over it.
Being a woman in this country means having your worth and respectability tied inextricably to your looks. Women are, of course, not obligated to keep up with beauty norms, but they are always expected to. As a woman who has been in the public eye for years, Clinton knows that all too well. She has not only had her hair picked to death, but also her glasses, her makeup (or lack thereof), her smile and her voice.
So is it really that crazy to think that she might invest her own money in a nice haircut?
Plus, as writer and editor Anna Holmes pointed out on Twitter, paying hundreds of dollars for haircuts and coloring isn't a habit unique to the Democratic frontrunner: