Michele Bachmann has spent at least $4,700 getting her hair and makeup done since she declared she's running for president June 13, campaign finance disclosures show. Mother Jones' Andy Kroll says that this could be Bachmann's "own John-Edwards'-$400-haircut moment," given the Republican's "crusade against government spending and her demand that America live within its means." But it seems like this is closer to her own Sarah-Palin's-$150,000-wardrobe moment where a female candidate is deemed unserious because she tries to meet to the demands of high-definition television cameras--in this case, by not letting her pores show.
Kroll's post plays on the extremely annoying expectation that female politicians be both perfect-looking and never ever betray any vanity by actually spending money on their appearance. Heads up, dudes: contra the oops-I-didn't-know-I-was-sexy conventions of romantic comedies, being hi-def-ready is very expensive. Have you ever checked the price tags at Sephora? Makeup For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation: $40. HD Microperfecting Primer: $32. HD Microfinish Powder: $30. And how do you think you get all that stuff on your face? HD Kabuki Brush: $39. That's just the skin. Don't forget cheeks, eyes, lips, hair and hair. And then there's the person to put it on. Bachmann has beautiful hair. Do you know how hard it is to get perfect hair in July?
The makeup tab revelations come only a few days after the Huffington Post's Hilary Moss created a slideshow about Bachmann's fake eyelashes. (Note: Laura Mercier false eyelashes cost $18 for two strips.) "But what about her beauty muse?" Moss snipes. "Tammy Faye Bakker, apparently." Zing? This is part of a long tradition of making fun of political ladies for doing exactly what television demands they do. The Daily Beast ran a story titled "Who Did Nancy Pelosi's New Face?" back in 2009. In February 1996, the Associated Press marveled that there was a website on the Internet devoted to Hillary Clinton's coiffures, called HillarysHair.com. "Between 30,000 and 40,000 people have looked at the site each day since it went online Feb. 7. About 1,300 people have voted for the best and worst hairdo." (This was apparently a lot of clicks in 1996.) The story ran with this image:
It's important to note here that looking like you've got yourself together is a high-stakes proposition. As Christopher Olivola and Alexander Todorov wrote in the Scientific American in 2009, several studies have shown that a candidate's appearance plays a huge role in her electoral chances. Kids as young as 5 can accurately predict the winners of elections in other countries based solely on their photos. So it's critical that Bachmann look the part.
US News' Paul Beard reported last month that just before Bachmann was about to go onstage for a speech, she realized she forgot her lipgloss, so she asked a close friend for hers. "We thought she might need a little touch-up," Bachmann's spokeswoman Alice Stewart explained, so "Elizabeth whipped out her lip gloss and off [Bachmann] went." But Stewart quickly clarified that Bachmann wasn't a "prima donna," in Beard's words--it's just that she's so focused on her speeches she forgets her lipwear.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.