I posted a diary today at Daily Kos that I thought was funny.  It featured a photoshopped photo of Hillary Clinton wearing a revealing ball gown that was actually worn by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  It was a really great dress, but the cleavage was rather remarkable.  When I saw the original photo, my first thought was, “Hillary Clinton would never wear something like this, and it’s cool that Merkel is comfortable enough to wear it.”   Then I thought it would be funny to put Hillary’s head on the photo- my husband the photo shop master did a great job.  In the diary post, I even included the original photo of Merkel.

Well, no one really got the joke, and I got flamed terribly.  Demands to delete the diary were met, and people really got their noses out of joint.  And that bothers me.

I still don’t know if people viewed it as anti-female, or objectifying, or maybe they’re just so serious that a post about fashion is offensive to them.  Whatever.  They were just furious, and demanded it be taken down right away.  Frankly, I was embarrassed I’d posted something that upset so many people.

My point was, Hillary is running as the “female” candidate.  Yet her clothes do very little for her, and make her look more like a small man.  I don’t understand why people would be upset at the idea that a serious female candidate could embrace her female identity and body image and celebrate dressing like a woman without being seen as losing ground, or making themselves out to be sexual objects.  Of course, I’m not saying that a women should dress in a revealing way, but on occasion even serious women like to remind themselves that they’re beautiful, at any age.  Angela Merkel is clearly comfortable with her body image and her fashion choices, and I don’t believe the world sees her as less serious, or as less of a leader.  It’s too bad Hillary isn’t comfortable with her body image in the same way.

That makes me wonder what message that sends to girls interested in politics.  That women have to give up their feminine selves in order to be successful?  That the only way to be successful is to dress like a man, pretend you don’t have curves, and refuse to acknowledge your considerable female power?  Surely we’re more evolved that that by now.

What the pundits don’t address is that Hillary’s fashion sense does speak to voters- some negatively and some positively.  This could possibly be a reason why she polls best with over 65 women than with under 30  voters- her style of dress sends a specific message to them, and it’s not always good.  I have yet to see her in something that is not a pantsuit of some kind.  It’s getting boring.  She is in a rut.  I have yet to see a dress, skirt or even casual clothing.  Jeans, anyone?   The clothes one wears is an outward indicator of what a person is about.  For women, that is particularly true- you send others a very clear message about what you’re about by what you’re wearing.

Hillary’s look spells rigidity and follows a formula too often.  There is little creativity involved on her part, little personality displayed.  The colors she chooses also show she doesn’t pay close attention to detail, and relies on others to tell her what’s best.  Why else would she wear so much yellow so often?  Remember that shiny orange mandarin collar jacket she wore to a debate early in 2008?  It was terrible, and made her look ill.  Then, in the PA debate, she lectured Obama on working class folks while blinding the audience with diamond earrings that must have been 2 carats each.  Certainly a mixed message if you ask me.

For those who cry foul that women get judged more on clothing choice than men, tough twinkies.  That’s the way it is, and it’s not likely to change.  I believe in equal rights, and I fight for women to be treated equal to men every day in my work.  However, I don’t believe that I have to give up my love of a great handbag or interest in fashion (even though I can’t wear any of it) in order to support women’s rights.  I choose to have both, and that choice doesn’t make me or my work any less relevant.  I happen to like being female, I like having more clothing options than men (neckties anyone? Yuck!), and I like to look nice to please myself.

Of course I am not a Hillary supporter.  I was originally for Edwards, and when her dropped out I chose Obama.  I haven’t looked back since.  As a woman, I’d love to see a woman in the White House in my lifetime.  I just don’t think Hillary is the right woman for this time.  Obama is clearly the best choice for a number of reasons, and I hope he wins.


2 comments so far

  1. ewok1993 on

    Did they take down your post already? I was searching for it on Saturday, 4/26, and I could not find it. I was curious 🙂

  2. mamabigdog503 on

    I deleted the post myself after a giant outcry. It was deleted probably less than two hours after it was posted.

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