It's no secret that blonde hair, in certain arenas, is seen as a commodity. For centuries, it was far less common than darker hues — and didn't have the negative associations that red hair had in some cultures.
In American culture, blondes have occasionally been stereotyped as “airheads” — but they were having so much more fun than everyone else that it didn't matter all that much.
In recent years, Fox News has been accused of favoring leggy blondes for host and anchor positions on the network.
And on Thursday, Amy Larocca penned an article for The Cut that examined Fox News — and all of the Trump women save First Lady Melania — suggesting that their blondness revealed more about them than their personal style preferences.
The latest trend in liberal outrage — “blonde privilege” — has reared it's ugly, though carefully coiffed, head.
But #MAGA, Fox News America is a place where all the classic signifiers of privilege and wealth work on overdrive: country-club-issue blue blazers with brass buttons and khaki pants, and above all else, for women, that yellow-blonde, carefully tended hair — a dog whistle of whiteness, an unspoken declaration of values, a wink-wink to the power of racial privilege and to the 1980s vibe that pervades a movement led by a man who still believes in the guilt of the Central Park Five.
During that Republican Preppy Handbook era, when Dynasty and Dallas were on TV, the type of conspicuous ostentation that would lead a real-estate developer to sheath his entire apartment in gold leaf was actually in vogue. Look at the movies: Jake’s girlfriend in Sixteen Candles with the lush swoop of thick, blonde locks that ended up stuck in a door (losing the boyfriend to a redhead of all things meant, literally, losing that luscious hair).
Johnny, the villain of the Karate Kid films, had a decisive swoosh of blond hair that obscured his headband. We knew, the moment we saw that hair, that small, ethnic Daniel was up against more than another teenager, he was up against privilege itself.
The fact that liberals — who are generally against people judging others by their appearances — have signed off on the idea that blond hair is a “dog whistle of whiteness” did not go unnoticed:
But it gets even better.
Larocca wrapped up her article by addressing the elephant in the room: That fact that Hillary Clinton, the left's last great hope in the face of President Donald Trump and Fox News's bevy of blondes, was a blonde herself for much of her political career:
For as long as Hillary Clinton was a public figure, Hillary Clinton was a blonde. She worked her hair — dishwater brown and frizzy, according to pre-politics photos — into every version of mainstream acceptable: She wore it with headbands, she wore it in a bob. She tried it longer, shorter, with barrettes and without.
Clinton's saving grace, apparently, was the fact that she has let go of her blonde image in the aftermath of the election: “In the first photographs taken after the election — mostly, of Clinton’s run-ins with supporters on hiking trails and in supermarket aisles — it appeared that she had finally given up the gimmick and let a bit of her natural gray-and-brown find its way in. Her fans rejoiced.”
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.