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Feminists Want You To Have A Mustache And Wear Big Ugly Shoes
And I'm not just talking about men, of course. And idiotic feminist thought about beauty and other issues has trickled down into society to the point where few really question it. For example, there's a blog post, with beaucoup comments below it, criticizing the AP for mentioning the designer of Nancy Pelosi's suit.

pelosisuit.jpg

She happens to look pretty snappy (for a politician), and in very nice shape for a woman of her age, and I'm not disinterested in knowing she wears Armani...yes...along with more important issues. Just as, when I take a long flight, I like to buy The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and The National Enquirer.

For a huffier view on the photo, here's the indignant blog post about the photo caption:

Check out the caption the Associated Press put on this photo. And tell me that they would dare mention the brand and color of suit Harry Reid was wearing. This is sexist and belittling to the incoming Speaker simply because she is a woman.

The original photo is at this link.

Here's the comment I left (repeating the word "institutional" -- I think, as in, institutional misogyny or something, which I spotted in a comment before I posted mine):

It's not "institutional" to care about a woman's looks, but evolutionary (as in, based on our adaptations, which, in the words of Donald Symons, take hundreds or thousands of generations to change). Feminism did some good things -- getting women the vote and equal pay for equal work -- and I'm grateful for them. I'm disappointed that we keep seeing horrified blog posts that people care about women's looks.

Ladies (or do I need to call you wimmin or wymyn or something?)...men and women are biologically different. With those biological differences come psychological differences, both in the individual's behavior and in societal perception of it. Do try to deal with it.

UPDATE: Here's how they do it in France; specifically, how the beautiful Socialist party candidate Segolène Royal does it, from a Reuters story by Crispian Balmer:

Her feminine charms are proving a hit with the electorate, apparently tired of centuries of male supremacy in the French political arena, and a headache for her opponents who are struggling to grapple with a woman rival.

"The fact that Segolene Royal is a woman makes things difficult for us," said Nadine Morano, a parliamentarian close to conservative presidential favourite Nicolas Sarkozy.

"Her appearance alone represents a break with the past because she is a woman and voters want to try something new," said Morano, who is set to play a prominent role in the election campaign to insure Royal does not corner the gender market.

Royal is clearly aware of the power of her gender and does not hesitate to play up her female attributes, shunning sombre trouser suits worn by many women politicians in favour of flowery dresses and striking skirts.

Asked in a television debate what was the difference between herself and her two male rivals for the Socialist candidature, Royal stepped back and offered a radiant smile. "I can see at least one visible difference," she said, to loud laughs.

Photo of la jolie Royal at the link above. More here.

Posted by aalkon at November 15, 2006 12:30 PM

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Here's where this fashion-loving feminist finds middle ground: I'm not so perturbed about the attention paid to Pelosi's (or any other woman politician's) sartorial choices. (For that matter, I thought the critique about what Cheney wore to the Auschwitz memorial service was apt too.) Pelosi is a snappy dresser, and she doesn't bow to the overly made-up, pink-skirt-suit-pearls-and-pumps cookie cutter look that a lot of female politicians feel obligated to adopt. That's sure to garner notice and mention. When I start to get peeved is when the comments about appearances start to run along the "what-an-old-bat-she-should-get-a-face-lift" type of commentary about any woman politician over the age of 30. Now that's sexist. And yes, I've seen it.

BTW, Amy, I recently discovered The Sartorialist http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/ and I'm hooked!


Posted by: deja pseu at November 15, 2006 6:01 AM

And tell me that they would dare mention the brand and color of suit Harry Reid was wearing.

I wish they would because Harry's such a clothes horse I would run right out to Sears and buy whatever he was wearing and help the American economy.

And as far as Mark Foley was concerned those shorts with the hearts on them are to die for...did I say that?

Posted by: tony plate at November 15, 2006 6:01 AM

Ooh, thanks for reminding me - meant to do a blog item on The Sartorialist. It's in my file somewhere!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 15, 2006 6:04 AM

I think there SHOULD be more attention paid to what the male members of Congress are wearing, especially pointing out the few really nicely dressed ones.

Maybe it would encourage some of the fatasses to spend less time noshing with lobbyists and go to the gym.

Lest we forget, politics is just show biz for the ugly.

Posted by: Darry at November 15, 2006 7:02 AM

Oh, and doesn't the AP use a spell checker? "Acqua"?

Posted by: deja pseu at November 15, 2006 7:17 AM

It's possible that was inadvertently left lowercase (or changed by a style-challenged copy editor) and is the name of one of the designer's clothing lines. I think it's the word for "water" in Italian. For example, Armani Acqua di Gio is a fragrance by the designer. The color of the suit is "blue-gray" -- to also call it aqua would be redundant, not to mention inaccurate.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 15, 2006 7:42 AM

"She happens to look pretty snappy (for a politician), and in very nice shape for a woman of her age..."

Agreed, Amy!

Which is why the AP caption writer was totally remiss (said sarcastically) in failing to further point out - strictly for information, of course - that "nifty, Armani-clad Nancy is a 66-year-old mom-of-five and a grannie to boot. What a gal!"

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at November 15, 2006 7:48 AM

Very good point.

I'd like to see captions for her that are even more hot mama.


Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 15, 2006 7:51 AM

Personally, I love the fact that they mentioned the designer, but I was flat-out amused that they felt the need to spend three words trying to describe the color of the suit in this brief little caption! That's about 7% of the word count.

Next time I think she should wear beigey-greyish-mauve-tinted taupe with a rose pinstripe.

Actually... that might look rather good on Speaker Pelosi.

Posted by: Melissa at November 15, 2006 8:29 AM

and is the name of one of the designer's clothing lines.

Ah, makes sense.

Posted by: deja pseu at November 15, 2006 8:58 AM

Get a face lift! She looks like she's had a dozen already. It's surprising she can still smile with skin that tightly stretched.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher at November 15, 2006 9:08 AM

It's funny, I don't remember any backlash when everybody and their mother was reporting on Condi Rice's fashions during her European tour.

Posted by: Hasan at November 15, 2006 9:58 AM

Probably because Dems hate Condi already, and few Republicans drink the Kool-Aid of the Vagina Monologuists and the Naomi Wolfs of this world.

PS, You'll have to search on Cathy Seipp's blog (cathyseipp.journalspace.com), but there's a very funny piece Cathy wrote a few years back about Naomi mewling about not being able to find cowgirl maternity wear. I'm supposed to be working on my column, so forgive me not searching it out - if somebody does find it, please post the link.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 15, 2006 10:11 AM

Got it, the aptly titled "Is Naomi Wolf Nuts?"...
cathyseipp.journalspace.com/?entryid=255&h=maternity

"Kool-Aid of the Vagina Monologuists" - great name for a rock band.

Posted by: Hasan at November 15, 2006 12:33 PM

The suit emphasizes how stacked she is. Nice tits, Nanc!

Posted by: Lena at November 15, 2006 12:40 PM

It's funny, I don't remember any backlash when everybody and their mother was reporting on Condi Rice's fashions during her European tour.

Maybe not in the mainstream media, but several feminist blogs and websites objected to the fashion critique of Rice. Likewise when Catherine Harris' appearance was being ridiculed, the argument from a lot of feminists was "let's criticize people based on their actions/politics and leave appearances out of it."

Posted by: deja pseu at November 15, 2006 12:44 PM

>> "let's criticize people based on their actions/politics and leave appearances out of it."


For an extreme take on that thought, and for some entertainment, check the discussion logs of Andrea Dworkin's wiki-page.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at November 15, 2006 1:37 PM

Your appearance is part of who you are. Nancy Pelosi gets out of bed in the morning and throws on an Armani suit, not Andrea Dworkin's overalls.

Yes, I know Andrea Dworkin is dead. Sadly, her image lives on in my head. Worse yet, there are people who live by the crap she spouted.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 15, 2006 3:17 PM

> several feminist blogs and websites

Oh shit. There are feminist blogs and websites?

Who knew? Norman, did you know about this? Christ. Maybe we can legislate. If you can suppress the righteous human desire for five-card stud...

> The suit emphasizes how
> stacked she is.

Christ, that's a despicable thing to say about our future Speaker, an aging woman of tremendous achievement and serious pursuit!

It's true, though. Power rack.

I haven't read Stu's link yet, but I'll never forget how Paglia put it (paraphrase): 'Obviously, Dworkin's problem is not her sex, but her FOOD! She's like the girl in my classes who comes in wearing a sweatshirt with a wad of toilet paper wrapped around her fingers to blow her nose with, because she always has a cold.'

Posted by: Crid at November 15, 2006 4:09 PM

"Royal is clearly aware of the power of her gender and does not hesitate to play up her female attributes, shunning sombre trouser suits worn by many women politicians in favour of flowery dresses and striking skirts."

I think it also says something about her confidence -- ie, she knows that a sexy woman will still be taken seriously, if she's intelligent and articulate. A good friend of mine who was trained in economics at MIT and taught at Harvard is also not afraid to be beautiful (Amy, you saw a photo of her recently on the Web -- that knockout blonde, remember?) She dresses totally frilly and sexy, but anyone who thinks that means she's an airhead is up for a very big surprise. Don't go there!

Posted by: Lena at November 15, 2006 5:51 PM

Sabine Herold's better in bed.

Probably.

Posted by: Crid at November 15, 2006 6:38 PM

I was impressed by that photo, Lena, because I'd heard so much about the strength of her work from you over the years. I think of beauty, used correctly (ie, you don't want to have your tits hanging out like Pamela Anderson if you're in Congress) is a form of power attire.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 16, 2006 11:11 AM

I seem to be in disagreement with most of the posters on this. I *do* see the logic. In any of the published media, you expect the limited word count to be used for the most important facts. If this were a male politician, the caption would be something like "Congressman X attends the world hunger conference". The existing caption, as written, falls perfectly in line with the sterotype that a female's primary function is, of course, to look good.

Even if that's true in general (which I'd dispute, but that's irrelevant), it does tend to show what the reporter seems to consider important - looks vs. function. I don't know about you, but I don't care so much how my politicians look; I care what they do.

Posted by: Ron at November 16, 2006 12:07 PM

But the Pope Wears Prada. And now he's getting his own calendar.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/061108/481/b752c8e4d70f4c55abd1b359e01de35a

Posted by: deja pseu at November 16, 2006 12:49 PM

"A good friend of mine who was trained in economics at MIT and taught at Harvard is also not afraid to be beautiful..." says Lena.

"Not afraid to be beautiful"? Gosh!

Do they give out Purple Hearts trimmed with eau-de-nil ecru for such courage?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at November 16, 2006 12:59 PM

Stockholm Syndrome, Ron?

Read the ev psych bit above.

Yes, we all care what our politicians do. If we cared how they dressed alone, we'd have Elizabeth Hurley instead of Nancy Pelosi.

I hate when people say stuff like this: "But, it's what's inside that really matters!" Duh. But, if the outside looks like Andrea Dworkin, nobody's going to want to fuck you -- and perhaps that's your intention.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 16, 2006 2:25 PM

Jody, I think your tongue would look very beautiful lodged and wiggling in my butthole.

Posted by: Lena at November 16, 2006 10:02 PM

Okey dokey.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at November 17, 2006 4:13 AM

"But, if the outside looks like Andrea Dworkin, nobody's going to want to fuck you -- and perhaps that's your intention."
How did this suddenly become ad hominem? My point was that what a politician wears ususally isn't news unless it's being written up in the Society section. Also note: I have no wish to fuck my politicians and I especially don't want them to fuck me.

Posted by: Ron at November 17, 2006 5:58 AM

Have you read the newspaper lately?

I have no wish to fuck my politicians and I especially don't want them to fuck me.

In the latter part, you're particularly out of luck.

I was talking about caring about women's looks, and some women's denial that looks are important. Of course, if your goal is NEVER getting fucked, I understand you letting yourself get obese and wearing farmer overalls.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 17, 2006 7:00 AM

And YES!!!!! Ségolène Royal easily gained the nomination. "Vous allez, fille!!"

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at November 17, 2006 10:35 AM

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