From top left: Priyanka Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Jayaprada, Sonia Gandhi, Maneka Gandhi 9Women politicians and their hairstyles (Pics: ENS)
Most women politicians spend a lot of time agonizing over the saris they wear to Parliament or during an election campaign. The colour, the weave, the style of draping the pallu is looked at with the minutest of detail. Very few of them wear makeup, other than maybe a bit of kohl in their eyes. You won’t catch women politicians in India wearing bright nail polish and lipstick.
And hairdos are never thought about. Perhaps we pay little attention in India to the fashion statements our politicians make, whether they are women or men.
Priyanka Gandhi: The new Indira?
On August 20th, Priyanka Gandhi appeared at Veer Bhoomi, the memorial in New Delhi dedicated to her father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, to pay her respects on his 66th birth anniversary, and photographers at the location went into a tizzy clicking her from every angle. Major dailies noticed the change immediately commenting that she looked more like her grandmother Indira Gandhi with this new hair do.
Sonia Gandhi also favours the ponytail.
Her thick hair is pulled tightly back and secured into a clip. It is a very severe style that conveys a no-nonsense approach. There are a few wisps of gray now and then around her forehead but you will never catch her pulling a stray strand behind her ear or doing any remotely feminine act, even subconsciously, with her hair.
In India, we don’t really agonize over how women politicians do their hair. Newspapers and magazines concentrate on the outfits, usually the sari. Most women so far have tied a knot (bun) at the nape of their neck. The awkward ponytails also exist- think Mayawati or Brinda Karat.
Maneka Gandhi has probably one of the most boring hairstyles in Parliament. It is very unflattering and looks in desperate need of a shampoo and rinse.
As for the President, a knot at the nape of her neck, tightly covered by a pallu that is pinned on and never leaves the head or shoulder when she is out of the Presidential House is what we get to see.
Among the current crop of young women politicians, Jayaprada keeps her lush, waist length hair open, though her experimenting with colours seems a tad tacky.