'Mean Girls' or 'Sisterhood': The Politics of Women

"There's certainly a lot of coverage that women get, not about their policy positions, but about how they look or what they're wearing," O'Connor said. "Let's face it. The microscope on Hillary Clinton was very different than what we had on male candidates."

Conway feels that while the coverage of women candidates today is different, the media still falls back on covering women more for their fashion sense or who their spouse is and less on their achievements.

"For all the strides we've made as a nation, including electing our first black president, somehow it's still acceptable, if not High Five worthy, for the poison keyboards and the cable punditry to go straight after a woman in politics based on who her husband is, how she looks or what she's wearing," Conway said, adding that the coverage of Fiorina's gaffe has been overblown. "Part of that is women are relatively new to politics and people are figuring out how to cover them."

Molinari said the obsession with looks is likely to phase out but don't expect that to be any time soon.

"I think you have more and more women who are stepping up. It's like anything else -- the first women in science, the first women in law schools, the first women in politics, now it's the upper echelons of the government," Molinari said. "They're going to be studied a little bit more and every move they make will seem a bit more exciting, questionable, provocative and as people become more and more accepting that this is the way it's going to be, those issues die out."

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