November 10, 2006

"But what does a woman of great power look like?"

Robin Givhan asks:
Does she choose her own version of camouflage and, as Hillary Rodham Clinton famously did during her first campaign for the Senate, wear a black pantsuit as a personal uniform? Does she wear stiffly tailored suits and a lapel festooned with patriotic brooches in the manner of former secretary of state Madeleine Albright? Or, like current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, does she mix professorial reserve with a hint of confident sex appeal?

Pelosi had to decide how a woman who will be second in line of succession to the presidency should look. And what she came up with is someone who wears a neutral-colored, softly tailored power suit. One that is accessorized with style rather than rote references to love of country. She looks dignified and serious. And in this case, she also happens to look quite good.
Face it. They all wear suits. Say what you want about how one woman's suits are softer and another's are stiffer. The fact is the main reason they look different is that these women actually look different.

19 comments:

Mortimer Brezny said...

And yet you used the singular, not the plural! Freudian grammar!

tjl said...

Givhan tactfully said nothing about Botox.

charlotte said...

Yeah, but their politics don't suit them or us. These lady pols skirt the issues and pump the rhetoric, while we all know they have something up their sleeves.

Only Rice has panache to boot.

Slac said...

I noticed Pelosi's change in style. Actually, before the election I thought, "no way can Nancy Pelosi dress like that as Speaker," and after the election I thought, "that's better."

Pelosi is not a woman of great power. Sorry to burst your bubble, Democrats. She's a woman who's temporarily in a position of great power. That's why it's imperative for her to "blend into the position," so to speak. She has to look and act more like a Speaker of the House, and less like Nancy Pelosi.

Women of great power look comfortable. They wear whatever expresses their inner sensibilities and makes them feel comfortable.

That's just my opinion. Emancipated women look beautiful to me, so they all have "great power" over me. :)

Pelosi may actually become more comfortable, now that she appears to be losing that horribly frightened wide-eyed minority leader look on her face. She's actually smiling now. Good for her!

West Coast Independent said...

"But what does a woman of great power look like?"

They look like....

http://static.flickr.com/58/223033103_9e29350117.jpg

:)

Bruce Hayden said...

I do think that this is a big issue for Pelosi and for the Democrats in general. You have a woman who comes across as a shrill nutcase, and she has to change that image so that the Democrats look like they have elected a responsible leader.

I don't like Hillary, but she would make a 100% better first Democratic woman of power than will Pelosi. That woman just doesn't have the gravitas for this sort of job. Primarily though, I think she needs to figure out a way to wipe that fake smile off her face and keep her mouth shut.

class-factotum said...

Could we get past this "first woman in this position" or "first woman in that position" awe? Can't we just talk about the person? Why does the sex matter? Isn't that just a little 20th century?

I was quite annoyed when I got an email from the president of my university telling me that Rice now had two women department heads and wasn't that so great! I wrote back and told him that all I cared about was that the most qualified person be in that position, male or female, purple, pink, polka dotted or green. I want him to be concerned about maintaining Rice's reputation of academic rigor; I don't want him kowtowing to the forces of political correctness.

It was so insulting for me at my old job to know that I was a checkmark on my boss's scorecard because I was a woman. He needed a woman at a certain level working for him for bonus purposes. How demeaning to think that my sex played any part whatsoever in my getting my job! If I'm not qualified, don't hire me. I'm good enough that I don't need any favors, thank you.

The Drill SGT said...

Just out of curiosity, what does Angela Merkel wear?

I seem to recall that Margaret Thatcher, who I think everybody recognizes as a "woman of power" was a dress and handbag sort.

boston70 said...

For 66 years old Nancy Pelosi looks good.
Personally, I like her Armani suits.
I think her style is one of confidence, class and style.
Go ahead, now go off on me for thinking she looks good.

TMink said...

A woman of great power looks confident, she looks in control, she looks caring, she looks strong. And she looks that way first thing in the morning because people of great power do not need clothes to exude character.

Women of great power look like my wife after she has not slept beause the kids are sick. They look solid and real.

You can dress a monkey in an Armani suit, but people of real power look that way based on their strength of character. Anything else is posing.

Trey

knoxgirl said...

And in this case, she also happens to look quite good.

For someone with a stretched out, mask-like face...
I hate it when writers whose forte is beauty and such ignore obvious disgusting plastic surgery. It's bogus! "Dignified, serious" and botox are mutually exclusive.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Hey, you changed the grammar, Ann! No fair.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry, Mort. I gotta correct typos. Even if people flag them as amusing...

Maxine Weiss said...

Margaret Thatcher.

tjl said...

"I hate it when writers whose forte is beauty and such ignore obvious disgusting plastic surgery."

But Knoxgirl, take another look at the photo attached to Givhan's article. It's a triumph of the arts of makeup and lighting. Pelosi's face looks almost lifelike.

George said...

"Power suit."

What an expression.

To infinity and beyond!

Sharoney said...

The fact is the main reason they look different is that these women actually look different.
----
Except, of course, if they are liberal feminist bloggers who commit the unforgivable sin of having boobs and standing up straight. In front of Bill Clinton. At an invitation-only luncheon. To which you were not invited.

Then their appearance is fair game, right, Ann?

Kirk Parker said...

"Pelosi's face looks almost lifelike."

Well, look what a good job they did on Glenn Reynolds. Heh.

TMink said...

As I recall, she stood up 3/4.

Trey