Photos of Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke eating on the US campaign trail have highlighted the contrast between how we respond to female public figures broadcasting everyday activities—versus men doing the same things.

On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton’s former Instagram manager explained he had avoided posting images of Clinton interacting with food because “different rules for men & women running for office” would likely prompt “sexist” reactions.

The food and clothing choices of women in politics have long been intensely scrutinised, down to the calories, sauces, cutlery, and beer brands.

British prime minister Theresa May’s footwear, and even her dancing, routinely attract mockery.

In contrast, male politicians are lauded for the size and nature of their meals, and are able to tap into tropes like “Guys gotta eat.”

Now, collective responses to Democrats’ thronging, diverse field of presidential candidates are underlining enduring double standards.

These include fixations on women’s likability, authenticity, style, poise, and “substance."

How can we move the public representation of female politicians forward?

       

Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.