Monday, December 10, 2007

Peacock Bravado

Sharper minds and pens have already dissected Robin Givhan's odd little piece about Hillary Clinton's fashion choices:

The pantsuit is Clinton's uniform. Hers is a mix-and-match world, a grown-up land of Garanimals: black pants with gray jacket, tan jacket with black pants, tan jacket with tan pants. There are a host of reasons to explain Clinton's attachment to pantsuits. They are comfortable. They can be flattering, although not when the jacket hem aligns with the widest part of the hips (hypothetically speaking, of course). Does she even have hips?


Women have come a long way from the time when wearing a pair of pants was considered "borrowing from the boys." So it would be highly regressive to suggest that the candidate is using trousers to heighten the perception that she can be as tough as a man. And yet . . .

And so and so on, ending with a reference to Clinton's pink jacket as an attempt to compete with the guys in peacock bravado. Such an odd ending. Peacocks are beautiful in their iridescent garb, peahens are modest little brown things. But of course the fashion for human males today is to look like peahens on steroids: no colors, but some clear indicators of status. Had Clinton really wanted to compete in that she would always wear a pinstriped suit with a burgundy tie and a little American flag in her lapel.

It doesn't matter what Hillary Clinton chooses to wear. Whatever that might be, some writer, somewhere would argue that she is manipulating her clothing to get votes. Show some cleavage? The horror! Dress in a feminine way? She is trying to pass! Dress in a masculine way? She is trying to outmacho the men. Dress neutrally? She is cold and calculating and can't even dress with some emotional warmth. Choose a flamboyant color? See! We told you she is a schemer.

She probably should campaign naked. That way nothing could be interpreted as contrived.

And yes, this is really getting to be ridiculous. At least with George Bush we were only asked to contemplate having a beer with him. We didn't have to judge whether his butt looks big in those suits he wears.