I have long wondered about the physical and personal transformation of Hillary Clinton after Bill Clinton lost his reelection campaign for Arkansas governor. This snippet from the PBS Frontline documentary “The Choice” touches on this “makeover.”

Physically, Clinton went from having darker blonde curly hair, pronounced glasses, and light makeup to having lighter hair, contacts, and eyeshadow. Personally, she moved from her maiden name to taking Clinton as her second last name, and according to Frontline even adopted a slight southern drawl in her speech. Hillary Clinton resisted these changes, explaining to reporters that she wanted to be judged on her merits rather than her appearance. Ultimately, however, Clinton sacrificed her identity to help her husband’s political career. These physical and personal changes are cited as being difficult for both her and her friends and family.

This story about Clinton’s sacrifices made me feel quite sad. She was and is a highly educated woman with a great career, but ultimately was subject to societal pressures on the feminine appearance and gender roles.

What ways have both male and female politicians manipulated their “visual rhetoric” or appearances to appease voters? What are female politicians expected to look like? Do you think that much has changed regarding the expectations and roles of wives of politicians?


Image Via Buzzfeed

Taddonio, Patrice. “FRONTLINE.” PBS. PBS, 22 Sept. 2016. Web. 24 Sept. 2016. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/watch-for-hillary-in-arkansas-first-came-rejection-then-came-rebranding/&gt;.