Is the number of women in politics growing? It's the type of question news talk-show hosts are asking now, thanks to competitive election races in states such as Delaware, Nevada, and California, where women are serious contenders in elections taking place next Tuesday.

Republican candidate Sharron Angle isn't pulling her punches in Nevada, currently running in a tight race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Angle told Reid to " man up" in a recent debate, pushing him on issues such as health care and unemployment. Reid called Angle "extreme" in response, wisely steering clear of any gender-related advice. Vice President Joe Biden didn't fare so well later in the week, lumping together two very different—and, according to him, "extreme"—female candidates as "these women."

The other woman was Christine O'Donnell, Republican Senate candidate in Delaware. Reminiscent of Sarah Palin, who endorsed her, O'Donnell is the type of woman who has many fellow conservatives racing to disassociate themselves. O'Donnell hits a lot of strong points and is an outspoken Christian. But she also has made flamboyant statements—about witchcraft, masturbation, teaching evolution in schools, and the separation of church and state—that have raised eyebrows and set off "airhead" alerts across media. O'Donnell, like Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), also has been noted for wearing pearls and peep-toed shoes and the color of her toenails. It seems that an emphasis on fashion accompanies female candidates who don't fit the mold of the traditional political candidate.

Hair became a talking point in California's Senate race, which happens to be between two women: incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer and Republican candidate ...

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