Irin Carmon: How To Talk About Women’s Looks


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As part of our new partnership with, we conducted our first interview with staff writer Irin Carmon on the lessons learned from the controversy over President Obama complimenting California Attorney General Kamila Harris’s looks. Carmon wrote a piece about this for Salon, and told us the President should have known better:

The moment that you bring looks into it, you’re bringing something that women constantly have as this double edge sword, a catch-22, so I think the President should know better.

Carmon also stressed the double standard in place for male vs. female emotion, using crying as an example.

“When it comes down to things like crying…women when they engage in that kind of emotion, people have this kind of ‘can she do this question?’ but where as when a man tears up they think ‘oh what a softy.'”

And on whether a potential President Hillary Clinton will change the lives of women?

“It will mean a lot in terms of symbolic representation, but it won’t mean that every single struggle is over.”

Do you think President Obama was wrong to compliment a female public figures looks?