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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Look At That Face: Women Politicians And Their Appearances

Donald Trump's remarks toward his opponent, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, brings up an even bigger debate about the appearances of women in politics.

Carly Fiorina/Getty Images
Carly Fiorina/Getty Images
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a less than flattering comment about his rival, candidate Carly Fiorina. 

“Look at that face,” Trump said to the reporter. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not [supposed to] say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”

When later confronted about the statement, Trump tried to deflect. He said he was not talking about Fiorina’s looks, but instead her “persona.”

Fiorina took a different approach in her response by not mentioning Trump by name, but nonetheless addressing the comment in a web ad, called “Look at this Face.

“Ladies, look at this face,” said the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive. “And look at all your faces. The face of leadership.”

“This is the face of a 61-year-old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle,” said Fiorina.

But according to former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder of Colorado, the issue goes beyond these two political candidates. This situation brings light to how working women are judged by different standards than their male counterparts. She said there is no uniform for women like there is for men.

“They [men] can wear a suit anywhere with a red tie and they look like a candidate,” said Schroeder. “If they take off their coat and roll up their sleeves, loosen their collar, then they look like they’re working.”

There is no comparison for women said Schroeder. 

“For a woman to look like she’s working, often doesn’t come off very well,” she said.

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