Here's some good news about women in politics: We've progressed to the point that political pundits know they're not supposed to comment on Michele Bachmann's nails. But they're so long, so square, and so noisy that many are having trouble resisting!
If we had to guess which element of Bachmann's appearance at the debate last night would spark controversy, we would have gone with her one-woman homage to Officer and a Gentleman. (Hopefully she isn't doing Dirty Dancing next.) Yet, according to the Washington Post, the nails were her most discussed feature, even though they're nothing new. As the Huffington Post notes, "Squared-off at the tip, her high-gloss french manicure never varies at all."
So why are we talking about them now? Well, they made noise when they clacked against the podium, and it's totally impossible for a male candidate to make a sound when he drums his fingers against the table. Also, there's the question of whether French manicures are "timeless or tacky," and we certainly couldn't have that talk about bowties.
The Post points out that, "Unsurprisingly, there has been no discussion of the length, color or cleanliness of Bachmann's opponents' fingernails." To be fair, pundits do discuss the appearance of male political figures when it changes (see: The inevitable article about the president going gray after a few years in office) or when it varies from the Romney-shaped candidate cookie cutter mold, as we saw in the discussion of Chris Christie's weight. Yet, even if commenters are just taking note of anything unusual about a candidate, it's still sexist in Bachmann's case. Everything about her is out of the ordinary because she's one of a small group of female politicians. There is, however, a potential silver lining to the renewed focus on Bachmann's fingertips. It's possible pundits aren't losing interest the words coming out of her mouth because she's a woman, but because they've already listened to what she has to say for months now, and have determined it's totally looney.
Michele Bachmann's Manicure: Tasteful? Tacky? Totally Off-Limits? [Washington Post]
The Fashion Whip: Fake Tans And Fake Tips [Huffington Post]