Powered by
Movable Type 3.2

April 15, 2008

Why isn't Obama "too pretty"?

Warning: Liberal

I'm sure we all remember the ridiculous argument that John Edwards was "too pretty" to be President. Recently, I've been wondering why those same charges haven't been leveled against Obama. He's a strikingly handsome man, and younger than Edwards, to boot. (In some pictures from around his law school days, he practically looks like a model.) So why aren't we being told that Obama, like Edwards, is too pretty to be President? (What the heck that even means is another question.) A friend and I discussed this over dinner the other night (mmm, broccoli with spicy garlic sauce) and came up with a few possibilities:

1. Obama's detractors just haven't needed to mention his prettiness, since they're already accusing him of being a Muslim/racist/atheist/Marxist/socialist/whatever it is today. There are more easy (if false) targets with Obama than Edwards.
2. It's not just an issue of looks, but of seeming to care about said looks. So far as I know, there haven't been any big things about expensive haircuts with Obama as there were with Edwards.
3. I just have weird taste, and Obama isn't as good-looking as I think he is. (I'm sort of amused that this suggestion came from someone I used to date.)
4. The sorts of people who are likely to hold something like "too pretty" against a candidate in the first place just wouldn't think to use that term to describe a black man.

Are we on the right track? Any other ideas?

EDIT: Consensus (at least among people named C/Kate...) seems to be that I'm just nuts. Although - hmm. I think my thinking was not necessarily that he's ridiculously handsome or anything, but that I don't see how Edwards is more "conventionally good-looking" than Obama. Because I think (just off the top of my head) that Obama has more regular features, and Edwards is sort of squinty, and his hair is floppy. Hm.

Posted by Kat at April 15, 2008 07:34 PM

I'm gonna have to go with 3. While you know I play for the other team, I can appreciate hot. I agree that he looks pretty hot in that Harvard picture, but he's a bit of a beanpole and well the ears...the days of modest 'fros being in style were good to him--this close-cropped fashion is not.

For the record, I don't think Hillary is particularly hot either, and even less so politically. ;)

Posted by: mamacate at April 15, 2008 10:35 PM

I'm going to agree with mamacate. Not that he's bad looking, just sort of average. (I really think it's the ears.) I think the law school picture makes him look like he has an enormous chin.

I'm not sure what sort of person uses that argument in the first place, so I can't say if they would use it with a black man. But I suspect 1 might be an issue, too. The "too pretty" argument is reaching so far - they don't have to reach nearly as far to find something that sounds scarier with Obama.

Posted by: kate at April 16, 2008 09:23 AM

warning: I'm not as knowledgeable about this as I might be if more than, oh, 3% of the footage I viewed of any candidate was video. (The rest is still photos, just to clarify; I don't have TV and keep up with news online).

That said, in my opinion, Edwards has the appearance of someone who spent a lot of time fussing with his appearance. (The video that circulated in the last election cycle of his pre-interview combing session did not come as a surprise to many people, I'd wager.) He has shiny, carefully-done hair; he has even features in a boyish face. Obama is handsome, yes, but he's got a strong jaw and a more craggy appearance, and there's less need to speculate on how much he spends on his hairdresser, with that very short cut. (Although in the world of politics, who knows?) Obama doesn't look *polished*, in other words, and Edwards very much does.

Posted by: Rachel at April 16, 2008 11:43 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Page design by fluffa! Hosted at prettyposies.com. Powered by Movable Type 3.2