“I just don’t think she has a presidential look and you need a presidential look.”
One way or (and) another, Donald Trump dissed Hillary Clinton’s appearance. Of course he’s not the first or last to dis HRC’s appearance, but he used it as a disqualifier for the presidency of the United States.
Whether he was being sexist (he was), or just a jerk (he was), we often talk about looking presidential, as opposed to a presidential look. “Looking presidential” implies that a person exhibits certain qualities with a demeanor of distinction: authoritative (not authoritarian); intelligent (not ignorant); well informed (by reputable resources and critical thinking); diplomatic (not wheeling and dealing); cordial; articulate…
Other qualities such as charisma may be highly regarded, but ultimately seriousness is preferable for a job that demands gravitas and clear thinking. Strength is another quality that is difficult to define, but purposeful beyond self would be respected. Oh, and then there’s respectable…. I guess there are varying definitions of looking respectable, but presenting (not exclaiming) oneself as decent, reasonable, of substance…these seem to comprise an expression of respectability.
It’s amazing how much we disregard, disqualify, disrespect, distrust, dishonor, and even just dis people based on appearance. We assume a tremendous amount based on appearance. Even those who prefer to minimize an appearance of effort in their appearance, are conveying something through their appearance, namely: I’m not shallow; I’m interested in more than my appearance. Likewise, we often assume that those who have sartorial interests or accessorize are making a different sort of statement, and that those interested in presenting themselves more materially are therefore shallow and/or materialistic. Beware— sometimes appearances can be deceiving!
As we are all always concerned about looking good (whatever that may mean)—of a certain type or status—even if that means modest—we are always aware of when others look bad. Looking good or bad goes way beyond our physical appearance. It’s what we do and how we are. We use external appearances too often as assessments of character—that which really defines whether or not we look good.
And yet, everyone has a look. We can change our look through hair, clothing, glasses, etc., and we tend to think of this as expressing our selves and/or our position. Some of us, however, only know how to look one way. Our look hasn’t changed, but have we?
So what about that presidential look? What does that even mean? Looking presidential is more significant than a presidential look, although a presidential look should reflect the qualities that have one look presidential. A presidential look (or any look) is one’s superficial (external) appearance. Looking presidential is one’s demeanor.
Trump does not look presidential; nor does he have a presidential (modest and distinguished) look. Why would he dis appearance? Because it’s the lowest common denominator. It’s broad enough to include the most base of his base, who have difficulty with race and gender (as they are understood first by appearance). Because if anyone is shallow, it’s Trump. And those Trumpeters want simplistic, caustic, anti-, because they regard their blowhard as strong.
Why dis appearance? Because it immediately attracts the disgruntled.
To me, that doesn’t look very good.