Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) doesn’t want to be asked about his hair.
In an interview with The New York Times published Monday, reporter Ana Marie Cox asked the Democratic presidential candidate — whose hair is occasionally unkempt and stands on end — why rival Hillary Clinton’s hair gets more attention than his own.
“O.K., Ana, I don’t mean to be rude here. I am running for president of the United States on serious issues, ok? Do you have serious questions?” Sanders replied.
As Marie Cox began to defend her question, citing coverage of female candidates’ physical appearances that male candidates aren’t subjected to, Sanders cut her off.
“When the media worries about what Hillary’s hair looks like or what my hair looks like, that’s a real problem,” Sanders said. “We have millions of people who are struggling to keep their heads above water, who want to know what candidates can do to improve their lives, and the media will very often spend more time worrying about hair than the fact that we’re the only major country on earth that doesn’t guarantee health care to all people.”
Advocates for women in politics have long cited studies that show that female candidates face disproportionate and sexist coverage of their appearance when seeking elected office. Clinton herself has expressed frustration in the past that as a woman, her appearance has been subjected to unfair levels of scrutiny.
“When you’re in the spotlight as a woman, you know you’re being judged constantly,” Clinton told ABC in 2014. “It is just never ending. You get a little worried about, ‘OK, people over on this side are loving what I’m wearing, looking like, saying. People over on this side aren’t’…I’m done with that. I’m just done.”
For his part, Sanders has shown little patience for what he perceives as superficial questions from journalists.
When theSkimm asked him how he takes his coffee and how many times he hits the snooze button in the morning, he replied with a question of his own: “Do you have many of these questions?”
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