Female politicians are often treated differently by society and in the media. Women in politics, like Hillary Clinton and Wendy Davis, are often criticized over outfits and appearances instead of campaign messages—a condemnation their male counterparts do not face.
“They are judged heavily on their appearance,” said Joel Munoz, fashion merchandising sophomore. “This includes clothing, makeup, hair and even age.”
Brayln Williams, fashion merchandising junior, said female politicians must have “the whole package” to become successful.
“It’s like a brand,” she said. “It’s like society needs sex appeal from them, so that’s what the media focuses on. I feel like when it comes to the women running for office, a lot of voters look for the person that looks good.”
Williams feels society and media criticize female politicians differently than males.
“Women are expected to be quiet and well-mannered,” she said. “They are expected to not be aggressive, but female politicians have to be aggressive to not be overpowered by the men.”
Munoz said he admires women in politics who aren’t afraid to play by their own rules.
“Hillary Clinton stands out to me because she is known for her power suit,” Munoz said. “It shows she means business, instead of doing what the world would like, which would probably be to see her in a dress every day.”
But the politicians themselves aren’t the only ones making waves in the fashion world.
“Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama are two style icons to me,” Williams said. “Their styles coincided with each generation, and they were really the trendsetters during their husbands’ terms.”
Fashion merchandising sophomore Amanda Smith equates the reasoning for heavy criticism on female politicians with the history of the treatment of women by society.
“For years, men have been perceived as the dominant gender,” she said. “When women have a say in something, society as a whole has the tendency to judge them more.”