New York Magazine: Fox News Blondes Are ‘A Dog Whistle Of Whiteness’, Wink To Racial Privilege

Posted on Sun 08/13/2017 by


By Clay Waters ~

Even in this feminist era, some personal choices women make can still be made fun of, especially when they involve Fox News womenThe latest exhibit is New York magazine’s “Political Peroxide – Blonde privilege” by Amy Larocca, in the August 7, 2017 edition.

The magazine’s Fashion issue features “plus-size” model Ashley Graham on the cover and acceptance of “fat girls” inside, making Larocca’s attack on blonde women — conservative blonde celebrity women in particular — as “a wink-wink to the power of racial privilege” all the more jarring. The complementary graphic featured headshots of 48 blond conservatives including Kellyanne Conway, Katherine Timpf, and Megyn Kelly, rather dehumanizing choice, as if these women had no other distinguishing characteristics.

After a potted genetic history of blonde hair, Larocca got political with a nasty tone:

And then, of course, there are the politics of hair color. Attributes associated with whiteness — light skin, narrow noses — have dominated American beauty ideals as long as there’s been such a thing. Which means that blondness has always been…charged: The ’50s gave us Doris Day, who once said that her only ambition ever had been to “be a housewife in a good marriage” (“Preordination had other plans”)….

Fox News and Donald Trump have given blonde hair a new chapter: Now, blonde is the color of the right, for whom whiteness has become a hallmark. Over the past decade or so, as inclusiveness became the hallmark of Obama-era liberals, the left found feminist icons in Rachel Maddow, Samantha Power, and Michelle Obama, who make no apologies for their failure to fit traditional ideals. 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 haira 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….

Larocca’s text is dehumanizing as well, reducing conservative personalities to dumb blonde automatons.

The alt-blonde common on Fox News is a specific look: It’s layered and yellow and never too long. It’s controlled and polished and always in place. In earlier generations, news was delivered almost exclusively by white men, with neat auburn (when it wasn’t graying) hair. These men spoke in tempered tones; they strove for a bland, unquestionable authority. But at Ailes-era Fox News, the point was no longer to project a sense of well-being or calm, it was to instill panic and fear, and blonde hair was practically a prerequisite for delivering it. Panicked reports about dangerous immigrants and the president with Hussein for a middle name were presented by white women wearing snug dresses, with pert noses, bronze skin, blonde hair. The Fox blonde is, in the end, conspicuously unnatural....

Clay Waters was the director of Times Watch a former project of the Media Research Center .

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