Sunday, July 22, 2007

WPost Condemns Hillary for Showing Cleavage "Ambivalently"

A writer for the Washington Post condemns Hillary Clinton in Friday's paper for showing a little cleavage on CSPAN2 while talking on the Senate floor.

Apparently, a little bit of cleavage was visible because she was wearing a V-shaped top underneath her jacket. The writer condemns Hillary Clinton for showing her cleavage too ambivalently, too tentatively, as if the viewer was seeing something Clinton did not intend. The writer compares Hillary's cleavage display to that of a British politician, Jacqui Smith, the new British home secretary, who, by contrast, "presented [her cleavage] so forthrighly": "If Clinton's was a teasing display, then Smith's was a full-fledged come-on. Smith's fitted jacket and her dramatic necklace combined to draw the eye directly to her bosom. There they were . . . all part of a bold, confident style package."

Wow, the assumptions this writer makes! The conclusions she draws from the fact that a little bit of cleavage was visible while Hillary Clinton spoke about educational reform! Read her last two paragraphs:

"With Clinton, there was the sense that you were catching a surreptitious glimpse at something private. You were intruding -- being a voyeur. Showing cleavage is a request to be engaged in a particular way. It doesn't necessarily mean that a woman is asking to be objectified, but it does suggest a certain confidence and physical ease. It means that a woman is content being perceived as a sexual person in addition to being seen as someone who is intelligent, authoritative, witty and whatever else might define her personality. It also means that she feels that all those other characteristics are so apparent and undeniable, that they will not be overshadowed."

"To display cleavage in a setting that does not involve cocktails and hors d'oeuvres is a provocation. It requires that a woman be utterly at ease in her skin, coolly confident about her appearance, unflinching about her sense of style. Any hint of ambivalence makes everyone uncomfortable. And in matters of style, Clinton is as noncommittal as ever."

So, apparently, it would have been better if Hillary Clinton had shown more cleavage, then she would not have appeared "ambivalent." Oh, the uphill battle a female politician must climb; how careful must be her sartorial choices that she is judged so even for her appearance on CSPAN2.

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