Daily Dose: Why Was Body Image Discussed at Monday’s Top American Leaders Forum?

The Washington Post featured an interview with Sheila Bair, former FDIC chairwoman, who was honored yesterday at the Top American Leaders forum. Amongst other topics, Bair was asked to comment how women in high political positions cope with comments regarding their physical appearance.

I’ve seen kind and not-so-kind comments about my physical appearance and commentary and on the Web and things…I think Vogue contacted us halfway through the [economic] crisis. They were doing a power woman thing, and they came and… they called back later and said we’re not going to run it. We’ll put it on the Web site, we’re not going to run it. And we kinda said, well you put us through all of this, and thanks but no thanks.”

I was surprised that this issue came up in the interview at all. She was being honored for her contributions to our country – why was physical appearance brought into the picture? Was the same question asked of the males who were being honored?

Do you think it is appropriate for the public to comment on the physical appearance of women in politics?

Sheila Bair on body image (video)


“Daily Dose of the Washington Post” is a blog series created by GovLoop in partnership with The Washington Post. If you see great a story in the Post and want to ask a question around it, please send it to [email protected].

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Janet Spencer

In a perfect world, perhaps all that matters is job performance as a measure of success. However, human beings make all sorts of conscious and subconscious judgements about each other based upon appearance, among other things. Given the objectification of women in visual media, it recognizes this leader as an emotional being to inquire how the bleed-over affects her when her image is portrayed and it is her physical attributes which are the news focus, rather than the substance of her work.