A Quick Thought on the Louisiana Senate Runoff Ads

If you live in Louisiana, you are currently swimming in a sea of campaign ads related to the upcoming Senate runoff. They are pretty attack ad heavy and the ones from the conservative super pacs are especially nasty.

Obviously they try and draw parallels between Mary Landrieu (probably the most conservative democrat in the Senate) and Obama. They also try to paint her as being far left which from the perspective of someone actually on the left seems pretty laughable. But it isn’t the words of the ads that I find weirdly troubling. It’s the photos.

They – not just one or two of the ads either, a bunch of them- seem to have spent a tremendous amount of effort and time to find pictures to make Mary look ugly or older. Some of the ads use photos with obvious filters that give that same impression. I know one generally isn’t going to pick a flattering photo of their opponents. Goodness knows the Obama photos in those ads aren’t super flattering either. Thing is, the photos of Mary seem to take this choosing unattractive photos thing to a new level.

I can’t help but think this is gender related- maybe not consciously, but maybe so. We pay far more attention to the appearance and age of female politicians than we do to males. Hillary Clinton’s previous presidential campaign lead to an insane amount of public discourse on her appearance. One article I saw about what Hillary planned to do after quitting the state department mentioned she was looking forward to being able to just wear her hair in a pony tail and wear glasses instead of her contact lenses. In a related theme, Nancy Pelosi seems to get more comments about her age than her male colleagues- many of which are older than her. So would it really be surprising if the ads focus on making Mary Landrieu look less attractive had something to do with that same bias?