Media Monday – Politics of Female Politician’s Bodies

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Is a Female Politician Only the Sum Of Her Parts?

-Carrie Laski

While cruising the online sphere of women in the media, an article written by Carrie Laski caught my attention. Usually, an article in relation to politics would not spark my interest, however I am now thanking myself for giving this article a chance.

This article was published in Role/Reboot and focuses attention on how in the political realm, women cannot seem to escape an evaluation on their physical appearance by the media. Aside from what their political agenda might be, when a female politician is celebrated (or scrutinized) for her achievements, often times these statements are paired with some other comment about her appearance, her personal life as a mother or a wife.  Laski points out that this consistent focus on women in politics sends the message that that they are women/mothers/wives first and public figures second. Laski continues on by describing how the public’s constant attention on a woman’s physical appearance can influence her body image, identity, confidence and her chances of obtaining public office.

I want to congratulate Laski for the perspective that she gives in her article, she does a great job with addressing the politics of female politician’s physical appearance. I would add that because female politicians often face body-focused scrutiny above or along with their political perspectives, it completely minimizes the importance of a woman’s intelligence. Being that her physical appearance must be addressed at all sends a message across that the importance of a woman’s appearance is above her intelligence.