Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Politics and pink pumps

Garance Franke-Ruta, a senior editor at The Atlantic, rightly observed that Michelle Obama "knocked it out of the park" during her DNC convention speech last night. Then she muffed it: "Those who are fans of the first lady will doubtless spend the next few days dissecting her patterned silk Tracy Reese frock, or her very high pink heels, or how she made them feel. But the first lady is no Barbie doll." Yes, but Franke-Ruta dolled her up anyway with the unneeded reference to haute couture. Granted, this is a pet issue of mine. Franke-Ruta is a decent political observer, and her piece is worth a read. She is simply being too clever by half with the cute "FLOTUS like a butterfly, sting like a bee" motif. And her fashionista laspe is actually tame compared to others. "Obama drew 'oohs' and 'aahs' as she stepped on the stage looking striking in a sleeveless, deep pink dress with a shimmering pewter hem. The two-tone frock accented her rose-colored pumps and highlighted her perfectly coiffed bob and hip silver manicure," wrote Allison Samuels of the Daily Beast in full-on fashion runway mode. Yeesh. Even when it's unintentional, we objectify women each time we reference their appearance. It's rarely appropriate. And, sorry ladies, women are often the worst offenders. Will anyone wonder or care whether President Obama is wearing Brooks Brothers or Armani when he glides across the stage to accept his party's nomination? Nope. Like the old Virginia Slims ad said, "You've come a long way, baby." But it's time to break the mindset, ladies.

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