Lawyer Gal's Blog

A Young Lawyer's Perspective

Is the Sarah Palin updo professional?

Sarah Palin has lovely hair that looks fetching in an updo. Her long hair is certainly different from that of most female politicians. I tend to think this is undisputed. 

Sarah Palin also has a rather amusing parody on Saturday Night Live poking fun at her ability as a professional. I tend to think the hilarity of the skit is undisputed. 

I’ve often wondered if her image causes people to consider her to be less qualified for a serious profession. To wit: does long hair detract from a woman’s professionalism?

A lot of female lawyers probably question their image and whether or not it hurts their career.  I know I do!

I, like Sarah Palin, have long hair and a youthful face.  I’m also short like Sarah.  I am spunky as well – and like anyone, I say stupid stuff that makes me look dumb. 

I admire Sarah because she doesn’t change herself to fit the mold of an ideal professional.  She, like me, enjoys long hair.  Instead of chopping it off for a more “modern” hairstyle, she puts it up in a tasteful updo.  Personally, I think an updo is quite attractive and can accent a suit nicely.

Yet Sarah is constantly derided for being vapid.  I’m sure any other female politician with short locks and a serious demeanor has goofed up just as much. But we don’t hear about them!

So I query: does a long-haired, feminine woman, by virtue of her hair and attitude, become disqualified as a professional?

If we used Sarah as an example, and the media circus of pundits that follow her, I tend to think so.  Maybe I should cut off all this crazy hair!


July 2, 2010 - Posted by | Your legal rights | ,


  1. For the defence I bring forward legal facts from England:

    a) it would be a crime to cut off such magnificent hair
    b) it wouldn’t be a crime it would be bigger than that, it would be a sin
    c) anyone who can’t see past your hair isn’t going to see past the fact you are a woman
    d) if they have a problem with c) then they have problems
    e) because of d) you might have problems with them
    f) just maybe by being brilliant at what you do they will realise that a woman can be just as brilliant at any career as a man
    g) It’s unrelated but congratulations on your achievements at such a long age – now focus on the future and build a brilliant career – if there is a lawyers weekly magazine then aim to get on it with your wonderful hair!

    Case rests


    Comment by edenchanges | July 2, 2010 | Reply

  2. Who cares what she looks like? She doesn’t read! Or think. Does that sound harsh? No, it sounds scary because it’s true. ha ha.

    Comment by Cayann | July 2, 2010 | Reply

  3. All of the people that criticize Sarah… it’s a shame. It’s like they look for one thing after another. I remember a ways back I was reading an article on her somewhere, and there was a picture of her wearing open-toed shoes on the stage. Her pedicure was done with like, a red base coat and little white polka dots on them. I could hardly even make it out from the image, but some woman commented, tearing into her for her shoes, how they fit and looked on her feet, and her pedicure.

    Who really cares? I thought that the point was to look polished and well put together. It can be done with long hair whether it’s in a classy up-do, or long tousled waves like I do with mine. I don’t think my colleagues in management think any less of me for it, in fact I usually get nothing but compliments!

    I just think that people will do anything to criticize poor Sarah, instead of embracing her for as normal as the every day people all around us. She reminds me of so many other women I know, and it’s a shame that she’s had to go through everything she has since 08.

    Comment by akwart | July 2, 2010 | Reply

  4. Thanks for an interesting post! I don’t think any negative media coverage of Palin stems from her hair necessarily. I think it’s more a function of people not liking her politics (obviously), and then picking out things about her that sets her apart from “their” candidates, and using those characteristics in a unflattering way. Because it’s still socially acceptable to comment on someone’s hair or the geographic region they hail from (as opposed to their weight, for example), Palin is easy game for many. Like you, I’m impressed that she’s comfortable in her own skin, and isn’t interested in changing for public opinion polls.

    Comment by Justice Bird | July 3, 2010 | Reply

  5. Short answer: yes, looking feminine – especially attractively feminine — is inherently “unprofessional.”

    Longer answer: It’s sexism, plain and simple, because what it really means is that being a non-androgynous woman (i.e. having tits and long hair) lets people take you less seriously, for no good reason. It sucks, and nobody wants to admit they’re doing it, but it’s true. (Lame self promotion: I’ve written a bit about this).

    Now, you can choose to ignore that, or purposely screw around with people’s expectations, which is what I’ve chosen to do. But it’s still annoying that you even have to worry about it.

    Comment by WorstProfEver | July 5, 2010 | Reply

  6. I’m a trainee solicitor, and wrote about office image a little while ago – not about hair, but about what bag might be appropriate to take to work. I agree it’s a shame that people are SO quick to judge on looks and image alone.

    The best advice I got was – people are going to pick on you for your hair, your makeup, your clothes, something you say or something you didn’t. You just have to hold your head high and people will see your talent come through 🙂

    Fyi, the post I mentioned is here:

    Comment by tashination | July 12, 2010 | Reply

  7. Who defines the “mold of an ideal professional”? And who gave them the right to define it?

    Those would be the questions I would ask if faced with whether or not to cut my hair for professional reasons. Then I would answer the same way I’ve been answering when people ask me when/if I’m going to cut my long hair, and say “I have no plans to cut it”. As my chosen hair style, it is part of who I am, and I shouldn’t have to change that to fit someone’s idea of a “mold”.

    Long hair can easily be done in a variety of updo’s, some of which look more ‘put together’ (or professional, to use that term) than others. But even long hair worn naturally is attractive when it’s well taken care of, as yours looks to be. My vote would be “no!” on cutting your beautiful hair.

    Molds are for jello, not people 🙂

    Comment by call2write | July 12, 2010 | Reply

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