Michele Bachmann Still A Control Freak, Still Female

Is Michele Bachmann's campaign team overly controlling because they know that women are held to an unfair standard, or is it because they're afraid of the world seeing her mania in full bloom? I don't know, let's write another article about how much she spends on her makeup and talk about how women in power are held to an unfair standard.

The former editor of the Times Styles section is now on the campaign trail, bringing us a piece on how Michele Bachmann "controls her image." This translates into a mashup of two familiar themes: Michele Bachmann is surrounded by people willing to cut a bitch, a ruthlessness she may or may not share, and Michele Bachmann is female.

In the former category, those ill-advised physical altercations with the press and a less misdemeanor-ready form of control, sticking to softball questioners. We knew that. In the latter, a meta-acknowledgment that Michele Bachmann has to take greater care with her appearance than say, Ron Paul, because the press is going to pay attention to it. Including in articles about how the press and in turn voters will pay attention to it that also conveniently allow the reporter to talk about the candidate's appearance. To wit:


That control is partly about her appearance, a far more complicated issue for a female candidate because there is no voter consensus on what looking "presidential" means for a woman. Viewers of a televised debate this month with seven male candidates scratched their heads when Mrs. Bachmann disappeared offstage during commercials, before learning she was touching up her makeup....Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, said female candidates still faced such scrutiny, citing an unflattering photo feature on The Huffington Post comparing Mrs. Bachmann's long eyelashes, apparently false, to Tammy Faye Bakker's.

Also, a Bachmann spokeswoman asked reporters not to photograph the candidate in cargo pants, which in turn made it into a recent New Yorker profile. The Huffington Post, incidentally, also just published a critique of Bachmann's shoes. We are hereby noting that female candidates are held to a different standard, and also, don't Bachmann's shoes remind you of a Minnesota mom's? I mean, that's what someone else would say, knowing that that indeterminate media is always holding female candidates to a different standard.

In Campaigning, Bachmann Controls Her Image [NYT]