And — of course — that new haircut

81356816Calling attention to this piece is emphatically not meant to pick on the writer Lloyd Grove, who may be a decent man who gives alms to the poor. Rather, I submit it to decry the nature of public discussions about public women.

Why of course would we need to hear Katie Couric talk about her hair? And why say she showed up for her interview in “sexy high boots?” Granted, the hair question shows up at the end of the interview, long after we’ve let Couric establish her newswoman bona fides, and Couric dismisses the question quickly, but it turns an interesting piece on a big-time television journalist into something far too predictable.

It isn’t hard to find examples of this kind of dismissive reportage when it comes to women in the news — and it sometimes comes from some fairly respectable sources. Case in point? Hillary Clinton, according to Carl Bernstein’s “A Woman In Charge,”  has thick ankles. (And when I wrote something for the Hartford Courant suggesting that wasn’t an interesting detail, I actually got a phone call from Mr. Bernstein, who could not bring himself to believe that 1. I’d read the book, and 2. Having read the book and seen the context in which it appeared, the detail still struck me as superfluous.)

(Maybe I shouldn’t have suggested he lose a few pounds, himself. Ah, well. C’est la guerre.)

We haven’t come such a long way, baby, if women of substance still have to talk about their looks, our clothes, our jewelry, how we’re aging, whether we’ve put on a few pounds, our hair, our boots, our (shudder) ankles. Maybe it would be better if we took a cue from Cybill Shepherd, who once showed up for an appearance with David Letterman wearing only a white towel. But then we’d probably have to live with endless comparisons of our towels — the weave, the absorbency, all of it.

(I’m typing this in black sweats and a gray hoodie. Just thought you’d want to know.)

Published by datingjesus

Just another one of God's children.

Join the Conversation


  1. I’m not so sure that this is a bad thing. (We disagree on something!)
    Talking about hair is a thing that women do a lot. “I’m having a bad hair day.” “I can’t stand my haircut.” We bond with our hair stylists and we bond with each other when we talk about our hair troubles or a new hair style. I know your comments aren’t just about hair, but women tend to talk a lot about appearance and struggles with appearance. There is good and bad from it. I do think it is one way we bond. e.g. When Oprah talks openly about her weight struggles, others who also struggle with that issue feel like they have something in common with her even if she does have more money than some small countries! We’re more accepting of the flaw and we like her for being honest about it.
    However, when an interviewer points out an imperfection or an appearance related thing, then other reactions can result. We can become more critical or we can relate, depending on the situation. Any way it goes, I kind of blame women for making it known that this is something that we talk about and think about, so why shouldn’t a journalist recognize that? I’m not saying that I always like that; sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I think I understand it, though. When a famous woman is being interviewed and the interviewer interjects (eg) questions on motherhood or aging, I pay attention. I can relate to it. So, I think those questions come up because people really want to hear about normal stuff as well as the stuff that is unique in the life of a famous person. i.e. We may not like to admit it, but I think we women do want to hear about those things in general.
    Having said that, I love my jeans, hate high heels, don’t own a pair of sexy boots, need to lose a few pounds and am usually overdue for haircuts. Since I’m not famous, I am so glad that no one has interviewed me about my appearance!

    1. Yes, to everything but: If a woman has distinguished herself because of her brains, why then focus on her haircut? That’s Katie Couric. That’s certainly Hillary Clinton, about whom we could read every time she cut her bangs, tucked her hair behind her ears, or wore a headband. I think it’s distracting — even if among my own friends, we do talk about this kind of stuff, just not to the point where it takes over our conversation.
      If we disagree on this, Jac, can we still be friends?

  2. I see the haircut thing as something just added after the important stuff. It’s not really important, but it humanizes her in a way so that “anybody” (really any woman) can relate to her and the interview. A little connection via a haircut comment makes her less threatening and more “normal”. I don’t think men need that type of connection like some women do. That’s my theory anyway and I could be way off.

    You bet we can still be friends! By the way, I like your shorter hair style. ;)

    1. I get it. I probably just don’t care about that stuff because I-don’t-know-why. I ever hit the big time? I’m shaving my head. Hell with it.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: