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Palin’s skirt and Clinton’s shirt

By | September 10, 2008 | Opinion

Ryan Tubongbanua / The Collegian

THE POST-REPUBLICAN CONVENTION SHOWS WERE abuzz with it.

It wasn’t political. It had nothing to do with stances on issues or promises of change.

“Letting her hair down out of that matronly bun was a bold maneuver.”

“She wore heels — not just heels, but high heels.”

“Sarah Palin is bringing glasses back in fashion.” This latter came from Nina Garcia, panel judge of the popular Bravo TV show “Project Runway.”

The price of McCain’s tie wasn’t mentioned once. But Palin’s outfit, from her diamond stud earrings to her decision to wear a skirt instead of pants, was analyzed thoroughly.

Los Angeles Times fashion critic Booth Moore posits that the nation’s obsession with Palin’s wardrobe is due to its hazy understanding of her positions on pivotal issues.

Yet when Hillary Clinton was campaigning for the Democratic nomination, her pantsuits were often a discussion point.

“How manly does she look today?” the tabloids would ask. “Why does she have so many of the same outfit in different colors?” And so on.

Clinton’s ideology is about as clear-cut as any politician’s ever is.

Thus, during the post-convention coverage, I glared at the television and whined, “Why?”

The coverage comes not because Palin’s political leanings are unknown. Had she not been stereotypically conservative, McCain would not have chosen the former beauty queen as his running mate.

Her beige jacket is under inspection because of the breasts it covers.

Her red peep-toe pumps are noted because of the legs sporting them.

Americans are obsessed with looks, and Sarah Palin has them. As long as women are rushing to buy librarian-style glasses, Palin’s political agenda will take a backseat to her sense of style.

Every woman faces the same sort of instant judgment. Women’s cognitive prowess (or lack thereof) is nearly always of secondary importance to their appearance.

As an example, an attractive friend of mine was approached in a Starbucks by a man who wanted her phone number.

“I know if I’d have been 50 pounds heavier, he wouldn’t have asked,” she told me. “He was obviously interested in my mind.”

Most people of this great country unfortunately seem to share a mentality with my friend’s Starbucks stalker.

In other words, men and women alike need to stop focusing on female politicians’ high heels and start focusing on their platforms.

Heather Billings is a senior at Fresno State majoring in mass communication and journalism with emphases in print journalism and digital media.

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4 Responses to Palin’s skirt and Clinton’s shirt

  1. whatever says:

    Instead of spending time criticizing the lowest forms of media and society, you should offer more valuable analysis you seem to expect. All this type of story does is focus attention on the things you’re denouncing so enthusiastically.

    Media criticizing other media is probably the laziest form of editorializing.

    Let’s face it, a pregnant teenager is more exciting than fiscal policy. The solution for those wanting more hard news? Don’t waste your time reading tabloids.

  2. whatever says:

    Instead of spending time criticizing the lowest forms of media and society, you should offer more valuable analysis you seem to expect. All this type of story does is focus attention on the things you’re denouncing so enthusiastically.

    Media criticizing other media is probably the laziest form of editorializing.

    Let’s face it, a pregnant teenager is more exciting than fiscal policy. The solution for those wanting more hard news? Don’t waste your time reading tabloids.

  3. Heather Billings says:

    The Collegian Staff Comment
    The Los Angeles Times is hardly a tabloid. I should think that my closer makes this article’s purpose clearer than your comment would indicate. I’m not analyzing media, but the the lack of depth of society, which is what media reflects. For mainstream media to focus so heavily on so much nothing is not only degrading to Sarah Palin as a candidate, but to women as a whole.

  4. Heather Billings says:

    The Collegian Staff Comment
    The Los Angeles Times is hardly a tabloid. I should think that my closer makes this article’s purpose clearer than your comment would indicate. I’m not analyzing media, but the the lack of depth of society, which is what media reflects. For mainstream media to focus so heavily on so much nothing is not only degrading to Sarah Palin as a candidate, but to women as a whole.

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