Hillary Clinton’s mouth shape at debate on trial from men with opinions.

Helpful Critiques of Hillary Clinton’s Mouth Shape From Men Watching the Debate

Helpful Critiques of Hillary Clinton’s Mouth Shape From Men Watching the Debate

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Sept. 27 2016 1:15 PM

Helpful Critiques of Hillary Clinton’s Mouth Shape From Men Watching the Debate

Hillary Clinton at the Hofstra University presidential debate on Monday in Hempstead, New York.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Monday night’s presidential debate looked and sounded like a tiff between a petulant, sociopathic toddler and the world’s most patient, cool-headed teacher. Hillary Clinton was unflappable, maintaining a calm, slightly condescending smile while Donald Trump dribbled out bits of wordstuff. She stuck to facts and arguments without taking his ad hominem bait, while he shredded whatever bits of political decorum America has left.

Christina Cauterucci Christina Cauterucci

Christina Cauterucci is a Slate staff writer.

One would think that people would be pleased to see Clinton’s good-natured smile—she’s weathered a constant battering of smile, sweeties from the likes of Reince Priebus, Joe Scarborough, and millions of Twitter randos since the start of this campaign cycle. And yet, Clinton did not satisfy all! Some pundits were repulsed by the pleasant, relaxed shape she made with her mouth on Monday night—not a good sign for an aspiring president. (Trump sniffled through the entire thing and kept his mouth in a stiff duck lip, but who’s counting?) Here’s some much-needed advice for Clinton from people who know what presidential mouths and shoulders and faces should do.


The New Yorker’s Philip Gourevitch thinks Clinton shouldn’t smile like one of those bratty housewives or loopy old ladies who love to overindulge on white wine. She should strive to smile like a respectable book-party attendee who has consumed exactly the correct amount of red wine, but without the purple tongue.

The Atlantic’s David Frum thinks Clinton shouldn’t smile like she’s having fun with people she loves. She should smile like someone who’s pretending not to seethe with white-hot rage while a man tells her she belongs in prison.

Former Slate columnist Mickey Kaus thinks Clinton shouldn’t smile as much as she is currently smiling, even though people used to think she should, because now that she is, people are doubting which mouth shape they actually prefer.

NBC’s Chuck Todd thinks Clinton shouldn’t have prepared for the debate as much as she did, because the best way to get ready for most important night in your political career is to just ignore the haters, have a nutritious dinner, imagine everyone in their underwear, and loosen up already!


Racist bloggers think Clinton should move her shoulders back and forth for just two or three Mississippis less than she did on Monday night.

A congressman who gets sexual fulfillment from his mother and parental guidance from his wife thinks Clinton should stop reminding him of the screwed-up Oedipal nightmare that is his life.

Fox News’ Brit Hume, heartthrob of the drunk 70-year-old set, thinks Clinton was “composed, smug, not necessarily attractive”—like at least 91 percent of former U.S. presidents. She’s ready!