When you’re sick with a cold, the last thing you want to do is watch a presidential debate between Miss Piggy and He-Man. Since Donald Trump announced that he would not engage in debate practice with a Hillary stand-in, I could pretty well guess how the debate would go.
I was right. The whole debate boiled down the next day to the merits of “Miss Piggy,” the former Miss Universe Pageant winner who was fired for gaining too much weight during her reign. Alicia Machada, the former Miss Venezuela, carries much heavier baggage, however, including aiding a would-be murderer by driving the get-away car and threatening to kill a judge.
Hearing about it the next morning, I had to re-confirm the facts as my ears were stuffed up from my cold. Were they talking about the Miss Universe brouhaha from 1996? Twenty years ago? Was Hillary that desperate for sludge that her secret police had to go back in time to dig up this ridiculous skeleton?
She rationalized the attack by claiming that the incident pointed out Trump’s objectification of women.
As long as we’re playing “It’s Academic” (a 1960s game show in which Clinton was a back-up player), let’s take a look at Hillary’s role as a model for women.
As a student at Wellesley College, and later at Yale University in the Seventies, Hillary Diane Rodham forswore make-up, leg and arm-pit shaving, dresses, hair-combing, and even deodorant in the name of feminism. This was the hippie trend back in the Sixties. Going barefoot was all the rage.
Deodorant was a marketing invention of the Big Hygiene companies. The same for shaving, and apparently, shampooing one’s hair. Dresses were the invention of men to keep women in abject vulnerability and humility.
According to Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton, by Barbara Olson, who died in the September 11th attacks when her plane slammed into the Pentagon, Hillary had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the beauty parlor.
Her initial appearance as First Lady of Arkansas was so shockingly unkempt to the native Southerners that Bill Clinton’s polls began to slip and there was fear he wouldn’t win a second term. In fact, he did lose, but ran again a few years later and won two more terms in Little Rock.
Little Rockers were offended by Hillary’s northern arrogance and feminism. Mary Lee Fray, his campaign manager’s wife was tasked with making Hillary look more “feminine.” Mary Lee’s other job was keeping the revolving door revolving to make sure that Hillary and Bill’s many female friends never encountered one another.
While a student at Wellesley College, one of Hillary’s many campus campaigns was to change the dress code so female students didn’t have to wear skirts or dresses to the dining hall. According to Mary Lee Fray, later, Hillary didn’t have the figure for a dress anyway.
She also supported the dorms of the all-women’s college to visits by men.
According to Olson, citing an interview with Hillary’s mother, Dorothy, “As a high school student, Hillary had always been indifferent to cosmetics. ‘When she was fifteen or sixteen and the other kids started to use makeup and fix their hair, she wasn’t interested,’ Dorothy recalled. ‘That used to annoy me a little bit. I used to think, why can’t she put on a little make-up?’ Still, it wasn’t until she went to Wellesley that she adopted a hippie Leftist look.”
Later, Olson describes the courtship between Bill and Hillary.
“Bill, ever the connoisseur of women, was worldly and political enough to see beyond the Southern-born underpinnings of his Arkansas upbringing. He recognized that Hillary’s long, unkempt hair, her sandals and frayed jeans, and her owlish frames represented her sense of how she fit into Yale and her statement of how she wanted to be perceived there. As a girl, her mother Dorothy recalled, Hillary had thought ‘make-up was superficial and silly. She didn’t have time for it.” She wasn’t going to compete on her looks or her charm. Her appearance was her statement, a declaration of her need to appear serious.
But even Bill knew that Hillary’s look was going to play well in Arkansas, where he hoped to begin his political career. It would be a public problem and he assigned Mary Fray “the task of finding ways to mute the hippie Hillary with a few traditional southern touch-ups.”
During Bill Clinton’s second bid for the Arkansas governorship, a powerful legislator had advised Bill during the last bid, which he lost, “Hillary’s gonna have to change her name, and shave her legs.”
For career, political, and ideological reasons, Hillary did not take Bill’s last name when they were married. But now, when it was matter of winning by one or two points, it didn’t seem to Hillary the height of wisdom to flout Southern customs and virtues. At least that was Hillary’s version of the matter.
But Olson tells a different story.
“Whether Bill and Hillary did or did not have such a conversation, the president’s account [no doubt, very much edited by his wife] falls short of the truth. In fact, it was such a testy issue between the two that Bill had to go to others to lobby his wife to change her name. He buttonholed Webb Hubbell on a golf course, and persuaded to talk to Hillary about what everyone knew as “the name issue.”
“To compete with Gay White [the wife of Bill’s Republican challenger], Mrs. Bill Clinton [as she demurely allowed herself to be introduced as at the official announcement] ordered a total makeover from the wisp of hair at her crown to her polished toenail[s]. When it was complete, Hillary looked more feminine, more like a traditional first lady. Her hair had been lightened and she had a new wardrobe provided by a fashion consultant. ‘I had been trying to wear contact lenses since I was sixteen,’ Hillary said. Suddenly, she was miraculously able to make the change, liberating her face and eyes from the owlish [eyeglass] frames.
“Hillary’s makeover continued for the next twenty years. Hillary read the autobiography of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who wrote that some women should lighten their hair after a certain age. Soon thereafter, Hillary’s hair became lighter and lighter. In fact, she experimented with so many hair styles that in the 1990’s, a website was dedicated to tracking them all.
A Hollywood power couple, Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, came to the Clinton’s rescue in 1988.
“They produced the campaign film, A Place Called Hope, a distinctly Reaganesque portrayal of Bill Blythe-Clinton’s life. Harry created a series of whistle-stop torus that high-lighted the Clinton’s light-hearted interaction with people. Linda brought in [professional Hollywood] hair and make-up stylists, lightening Hillary’s hair even more, and making her look like an appealing middle-class housewife.”
The young woman who had once entertained the notion of becoming a United States Marine was now First Lady of Arkansas and destined to become First Lady of the United States.
But as Bill Clinton was about to inaugurated President of the United States in 1992, the façade disintegrated. Time Magazine reported that as he and Hillary stood on the steps of Blair House (the official guest house of the White House), the pair got into a screaming match with Bill yelling “F*#^ing B*tch!” and Hillary responding, “Stupid Motherf*#^er!” Secret Service agents and nearby well-wishers cringed.
What was it someone wrote or said about eight years ago about putting lipstick on a pig?