Yet again one tabloid is prioritizing a woman’s wardrobe over anything she’s doing that actually matters.
Earlier this month, British tabloid the Daily Mail put former first daughter Chelsea Clinton under a fashion microscope, criticizing her for her choice in shoes twice in one day. In the morning, they ran a piece with photos of Clinton on her way to work, and they made a point to comment on her shoes: “a pair of destroyed nude pumps, whose missing chunk of enamel exposed the steel frame of her heel and threw off her otherwise polished professional presentation.”
That wasn’t the end of the tabloid’s unsolicited commentary. Later that same day, the newspaper published an article titled “No wonder they’re shredded! Chelsea Clinton sticks with her favorite pair of frayed nude heels AGAIN as she steps out solo in New York for awards dinner.”
As though it wasn’t enough to call Clinton’s shoes “destroyed” at the beginning of the day, the tabloid took it upon themselves to label her shoes “shredded” and “frayed.” Taking the topic a step further, they put “AGAIN” in all caps to mark their surprise and frustration that she would wear a pair of shoes more than once.
This behavior by the Daily Mail is nothing new. In March, the paper’s front-page read “Nevermind Brexit, who won Legs-it!” beside a photo of British Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at a meeting where they sat side-by-side with legs crossed. The public shamed the paper for its sexist headline, which focused on the politicians’ bodies instead of the crucial work they were doing. Because the paper tends to do this only with women, it’s safe to label the practice as misogynistic.
Clinton responded to the criticism on The Tonight Show saying, “As we were talking about earlier, there was an article that came out today about the fact that I wear the same shoes a lot, which I’m actually wearing again this evening. How dare I wear scuffed shoes? They’re really comfortable.” She further explained, “I think this is probably something working women – particularly working women New Yorkers – can empathize with. When you find a good pair of shoes, you just stay with them.”
The newsworthy story happening around Clinton’s shoes is the widespread positive response to her bestselling children’s book She Persisted. The book introduces kids to 13 strong women who enriched the nation’s history because they persisted. Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor, and Harriet Tubman are among the women mentioned throughout the story.
Also, the second article mentions an “awards dinner.” It neglected to clarify that the dinner was the Gordon Parks Foundation Gala which raised over $1.3 m to support the arts and honored Parks’ Civil Rights photography.
In spite of the Daily Mail’s opinions, choosing to wear the same pair of shoes more than once is a perfectly normal decision, especially when the shoes are comfortable. Similarly, stories about how a woman looks are not news. Her efforts to make women rights accessible to children and to honor the Civil Rights Movement, on the other hand, are.
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