Men, Please Leave Hillary Clinton’s Hair Alone – Vogue.com
Filed under stranger than fiction: Just when people thought that “pharma bro” and noted Trump fan Martin Shkreli was sufficiently tied up in court for securities fraud, the man with the dubious distinction of topping America’s most-hated list has set his sights on Hillary Clinton’s hair. In a since-deleted Facebook post—Twitter had already banned Shkreli for harassing Teen Vogue contributor Lauren Duca—he offered $5,000 for a strand of Clinton’s hair, a move that led a judge to revoke his $5 million bail and send him back to jail.
What is it with men and Hillary Clinton’s hair? Troubling as it is that someone is putting a bounty on the first would-be female U.S. president’s hair, the truth is that Clinton, a lifetime advocate for gender equality, has endured an endless string of sexist aggressions throughout her career, as many have used her hairstyles to undermine her competence. Consider this gem from 1994, when Clinton was FLOTUS: “When will Hillary Rodham Clinton settle on a hairstyle?” blared a Time article about the accomplished lawyer. Just as important to note, Clinton sparked a media firestorm when she remarked that she would rather pursue her profession than stay at home and “bake cookies.”
It seems that every public role Clinton has taken on has attracted public scrutiny to her appearance: Her early shift from a makeup-free, bespectacled Smith grad to bleach blonde First Lady of Arkansas—velvet headband and all—was an attempt to fit into a world where the role of a politician’s spouse was to smile for the cameras and to be liked but not heard. Clinton had to accompany her own political aspirations in the late ’90s with a smart power chop to convince the public of her intentions. And yet, the complex relationship between women and their looks still took its toll on Clinton during the 2016 election, where her reported $600 Serge Normant haircut sparked outrage among the same conservative outlets that excused Donald Trump’s admittance to sexual assault as mere locker room talk.
It’s not just survivors of sexual assault who can understand the terror of Shkreli inviting his 70,000 Facebook followers to literally tear out Clinton’s hair, especially now that she has stepped back into the public eye with a memoir, What Happened, chronicling why she lost the election. The implications of Shkreli’s threat reach far beyond boilerplate sexism, considering that we live in a time when Donald Trump has become president, despite threatening to incarcerate and physically harm the opponent he calls a “nasty woman.”
But at least Shkreli, who is insisting that his post was mere satire, is being punished for this crime. The judge in this case ruled the incident a “solicitation to assault” that doesn’t fall under the protection of free speech. Time to lock him up.