The Fiorina Effect: Why Focusing On A Woman's Looks Only Silences Her

by Whitney Hawkins

Carly Fiorina is a Republican, a former CEO and a candidate for president in the 2016 United States presidential election.

Carly Fiorina is also a woman.

A woman who has become a victim of intense scrutiny, not just for her politics, but her appearance.

Following a recent debate, Fiorina was told she doesn’t smile enough. CNN's Michael Smerconish complained that she did “not smile all night long. There are times to be serious, but you’ve got to loosen it up a little bit.”

The candidate made light of this criticism flashing a big, beaming smile for the cameras during the debate on Wednesday evening.

People still weren’t happy.

Michelle Collins and Joy Behar decided to ridicule Fiorina for smiling too much.

“She looked demented,” Collins said. “Her mouth did not downturn one time.”

Joy Behar chimed in stating that the candidate smiled so much, she looked like a Halloween mask.

It is the first time in history that we have two women running for president, and what are we talking about? Fiorina's smile.

Carly fought back, stating:

I think what this points out is liberals, and that includes liberal women, when they don’t like the message they attack the messenger. My message to the ladies of 'The View' is man up. If you want to debate me on policies, the Obama administration has been bad for women. Planned Parenthood is harvesting baby parts. Don’t sink to talking about my face.

In this moment, the hosts of "The View" resemble high school bullies sitting around a table gossiping.

Rather than discussing her political viewpoints, they have chosen to attack her appearance.

Her smile doesn't fit their image of a woman, so they have reduced an accomplished person to a body part: a smile.

Fiorina acted no differently than any of the men on stage, yet her actions were under severe scrutiny.

This doesn’t sound like feminism to me.

Yes, Fiorina is a conservative.

She holds a lot of views liberal women do not necessarily agree with. But this commentary has nothing to do with political affiliation or viewpoints.

It is about destroying women based on their appearance.

When the women of "The View" decided to comment on her appearance, they immediately changed the conversation.

It was a cheap shot, especially coming from other women, that changed the dialogue from political to personal.

After this remark, all reporting focused on Florina’s appearance rather than her message.

Maybe this was the goal.

But you cannot truly stand by women’s rights while simultaneously tearing down the women around you.

Supporting other women and treating them as equals must be the basis of our modern feminism. Because when we only support the women who share our beliefs, we are instilling fear in our daughters, sisters and mothers.

This message screams: Be careful what you say because we might not listen. We might turn our backs on you and make fun of your looks.

Instead, we must inspire American women to share their voices and share them proudly.

We may not always like what they have to say, but that’s not the point. It is about promoting a dialogue and the exchange of ideas. If we silence the views of everyone we disagree with, there will be no progress.

During this pivotal moment in history, women deserve a voice.

Carly Florina’s response urges the women of "The View" and women in America to engage in a more meaningful political dialogue,  one focused on opinions and facts.

It encourages women to use their voices to promote the exchange of ideas, not the destruction of a woman based on her appearance.

You can disagree with her politics, but breaking her down will not build you up.

Women are so much better than the gossiping teenagers "The View" has made us out to be.