Pretty politics

The editor of Vogue has been knocked flat upon her bony, Valentino-covered rear:

Imagine my amazement … when I learned that Hillary Clinton, our only female presidential hopeful, had decided to steer clear of our pages at this point in her campaign for fear of looking too feminine. The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying. How has our culture come to this? How is it that The Washington Post recoils from the slightest hint of cleavage on a senator? This is America, not Saudi Arabia.

Vogue goes on to give Hillary some “inspiring and empowering” clothing suggestions, including a “delicious plum” coat that would make anyone besides a 5’10” 100-pound model look like, well, a delicious plum. Thank God women’s rights paved the way for political chic, along with senatorial cleavage! Those Saudis with their shapeless, monochrome burkhas are really last-season.

All mocking aside, the Prada-shod girl has a point, perhaps cliché but worth remembering: A woman’s clothes reflect the way her culture sees her and the way she sees herself. When a woman bares it all it means she sees herself as a body, boobs and butt and nothing more. When a woman swathes it all in ugly, shapeless clothes, I think it may mean she’s a little ashamed of being a woman. The medievals saw women as temptresses and beauty as potential poison. Could a blue jean jumper-wearer think the same?

So I side with Vogue — manicured hand-wringings and all — on this one. Women can be pretty and powerful.


~ by stultiloquence on January 17, 2008.

13 Responses to “Pretty politics”

  1. James, I expect you to weigh in on this one, being male, ex-homeschooled and a flaming feminist.

  2. …and men still remain to be powerful and not bother how they look.

  3. Men are only in power because they oppress women and view us as a homemade meatloaf and denim skirts. Thank God for plum suits to empower us and show men that we are more than baby-making machines.

  4. Ross, J’s militant passion for plum suits aside, you make a good point and ask a question I can’t figure out how to answer. Why is it that a woman’s clothes matter so much, even to feminists? Why do women’s clothes always make statements? I think it’s always been that way. That’s interesting. Maybe I should go into the study of fashion and feminism.

  5. I would suggest that career choice. It would allow you to justify more shopping.

  6. (token chauvinism): Because women are more beautiful than men. Men might be more attractive to women, but women seem to appreciate womanly beauty more than men appreciate manly charm.

  7. As an ex-homeschooler, a man, and a mad dog feminist I found this post to be no holds barred attack on the patriarchy which dominates the so-called free world. Beautiful women in general strike fear into men’s hearts; however this fear is magnified when there exists a keen awareness that she can decimate you with her intellect. I maintain that the combination of beauty and intellect is the only true path toward egalitarianism.

  8. Having just recieved my Vogue…I actually think it makes the model look like a plum.

  9. James, that was beautiful. I think the egalitarian man wants the girl with the short skirt and the long jacket:

    I want a girl with a mind like a diamond
    I want a girl who knows whats best
    I want a girl with shoes that cut
    And eyes that burn like cigarettes
    I want a girl with the right allocation
    Who’s fast, and thorough, and sharp as a tack
    Shes playing with her jewelry, shes putting up her hair
    Shes touring the facility and picking up slack
    I want a girl with a short skirt
    And a looong jacket.

  10. I want a delicious plum coat.

  11. I ought to add that I have a particular fondness for the typical attempts by folks like our friends Tim and David to moderate the harsher edges of their positions with inspiring appeals to beauty:

    Look, babe, we’ve got the whole brains, brawn, and business side of God’s image covered. But don’t worry: you’re aesthetically appealing, like a nice set of drapes.

  12. I think the hyper-modest Christian folks (not necessarily putting our friends in that category, but you know the general type) don’t even really want girls to be aesthetically appealing, though. Like I said, I think they’re a little suspicious of feminine beauty and the kind of power that beauty can exercise over men. No offense to our patriarchal friends, but it’s kind of the same reasoning Saudi men use when they arrest women who wear lipstick.

  13. I agree just take a look at Margaret Thatcher…. I mean Condeleeza Rice…. Oh nevermind.

    Seriously, Hillary (not that I support her politics nessecarily), is in a dog eat dog world. She does whatever she can to pull the heart strings of white american women, and still stand her ground in a sausage party. It should be that she can have both, but we won’t even accept the presidents wife looking pretty (Look at Goerge Jr’S mom…. even Jackie O. as Mrs. Fashion Plate Kenedy was a bit homely looking very demure and dull, but “classic”)

    The world just isn’t ready for fall 08’s plum coat.

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