During last year’s presidential campaign, Twitter trolls sadly bypassed the important issues Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton was discussing and chose to zero in on every pantsuit, haircut, and slick of lipstick she wore instead — a fact not at all lost on the former candidate. Perhaps that’s why, in between chapters on Donald Trump and Russia, Clinton took a moment in her new memoir What Happened to unpack what it’s really like being a female politician under such intense physical scrutiny.
“I’ve never gotten used to how much effort it takes just to be a woman in the public eye,” she wrote. “I once calculated how many hours I spent having my hair and makeup done during the campaign. It came to about 600 hours, or 25 days. I was so shocked, I checked the math twice.” (For comparison, a recent study shows that most women average about 335 hours a year in front of a mirror.)
Clinton says that she used that time getting ready to go over briefings and schedule calls with staff to discuss electoral strategy or new policies, but she still questioned why she needed to sit in that chair at all. “I’m not jealous of my male colleagues often, but I am when it comes to how they can just shower, shave, put on a suit, and be ready to go. The few times I’ve gone out in public without makeup, it’s made the news,” she wrote. “So I sigh, and keep getting back in that chair, and dream of a future in which women in the public eye don’t need to wear makeup if they don’t want to, and no one cares either way.”