Fox News Commentator Brit Humes. Source: Independent Journal Review
Fox News commentator Brit Hume recently came under fire after the first presidential debate. Hume, who hosts the segment On The Record, made uncalled for remarks about Hillary’s appearance after the debate. When critiquing the candidates’ performance, he criticized Hillary’s appearance by referring to her as “not necessarily attractive.” While he also made negative remarks towards Trump, they only concerned his performance, not his appearance.
Hume completely stepped out of bounds by critiquing Hillary’s appearance. As a political commentator his job is to critique the policies and performance of politicians, not their appearance. Whether he perceived Hillary as attractive has nothing to do with whether she would be fit for a presidential role, which is, after all, the purpose of the presidential debate. He should’ve spent more time focusing on the issues that matter, like Hillary’s platform and performance compared to Trump.
Hume’s comment also displayed his sexist double standards to the millions of people tuning into the debate. Why did he critique Hillary’s appearance but not Trump’s? One can assume that Hume places a larger emphasis on a woman’s appearance than a man’s. A woman’s appearance also has absolutely nothing to do with job performance, yet Hume felt that the topic was relevant. This comment also took the focus of the commentary away from the focus on Hillary’s presidential qualities, while the spotlight continued to shine on Trump’s.
The critique of Hillary’s appearance not only signifies Hume’s personal sexism, but the greater issue of sexism in politics. Women in politics often have trouble gaining power and success because men such as Hume will distract from the issues by putting emphasis on trivial matters like appearance. Meanwhile, male politicians are able to flourish because they do not have this glass ceiling. Women in politics may also be subject to unfair standards of appearance and be expected to handle sexual harassment. According to the NPR, Andrea Tantaros recently sued Fox News for sexual harassment from former CEO Roger Ailes. Many other women on the channel like Megyn Kelly have stepped forward to validate the claims of sexism.
Unfortunately, in the realm of politics women are often held to unfair standards compared to men. For the first time in a history a woman may take the presidential stage, but there is still an immense amount of progress towards women’s equality that needs to be made. Women in politics need to be held to the same standards and critique as men in order for the glass ceiling to be broken. It is imperative that these sexist double standards are erased from politics so more women working in politics may prosper.