Hillary Sexism Watch: Tim Gunn says she dresses like she’s “confused about her gender”

This shit might be why women don’t run for office nearly enough. Tim Gunn and George Lopez have a few laughs about Hillary Clinton’s fashion choices. Oh the lolz!

Gunn referred bitingly to her “Jersey Shore style,” and Lopez compared her prints to No Bugs M’Lady. It got worse.

After paying lip service to Clinton’s actual accomplishments, Gunn demanded, “Why must she dress that way? I think she’s confused about her gender!” He added, “No, I’m really serious, she wears pantsuits that are unflattering.” Then it went on to “cankles.”

Gunn finished, “I have great respect for her intellect and her tenacity and for what she does for our country in her governmental role. I just wish she could send a stronger message about American fashion.”

1) Anyone who makes fun of someone’s “cankles” is an idiot. For that matter, anyone who says the word “cankles” is an idiot.

2) Gunn seems “confused” about the responsibilities of the Secretary of State. They are many, but I’m pretty sure sending a “message about American fashion” is not one of them.

3) This kind of sexist commentary on Clinton’s appearance is the flipside to the sexist criticism of Bachmann that Jos wrote about just yesterday. It’s 2011, folks, but it seems like women politicians can still never win. Spend too much money and energy making sure you conform to the strict beauty standards of being a “woman” in this culture and you’ll risk not being taken seriously as a “politician.” But spend too little and you’ll end up having your identity as a “woman” questioned. Like, literally. In either case, your appearance will be scrutinized in a way that would be totally unthinkable for a male politician.

This catch-22 is, of course, emblematic of the impossible tight rope walk–between “feminine” and “unfeminine”, too emotional and not emotional enough, “bimbo” and “bitch”–that many powerful women are forced to walk in a society that still often views “woman” and “in power” as mutually exclusive categories.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation