July 20, 2007

Clinton...

.... flaunts cleavage.

Or are you going to say that "flaunts" is too active a verb? She has cleavage. Just happens to have it. Just happens to wear a top that happens to be low enough that you can see it if you happen to have eyes. Just happens to wear it to the Senate floor to give a speech about the cost of education. Are you going to say that we ought to be giving attention to the content of that speech and not to the presentation of the woman who would be President?

ADDED: Link address tweaked to provide photos.

AND: Some more attention for the linked column. Hot Air: "Whatever. I don’t want to hear about Sen. Clinton’s cleavage. I just don’t. And if HRC were a Republican, she’d undoubtedly be getting the Jeri Thompson or Wendy Vitter treatment. But she’s a Democrat, so we get hack poetry paying homage to her boobs." Gawker: "Thanks, Robin! Now if we can just get a little ass-crackery from Obama, we'll be able to make our decision on who to support!"

MORE:

144 comments:

Mike said...

No picture?

Roger said...

Boy oh boy oh boy oh boy: breast blogging! Happy Friday! Way to go Professor! Trolls from far and wide; Jessica redux; Garance redux, tradmark dave and the whole gang from feministing!!!

rhhardin said...

The article is meant to engage women, though I suppose that the bare-shoulder inaugural gown mentioned could have touched on the lack of a visible shoulder holster and interested the men.

My own choice would be Bermudas and a white tee shirt for all occasions, in the proper attire department.

How will Obama respond, is the question. Stay tuned, women!

Roger said...

rhardin: a codpiece--but an empathetic codpiece.

Simon said...
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Simon said...

The full version of the story has this cap and a clip.

hdhouse said...

is the the week's "oh brother" story?

Roger said...

Simon: thanks for providing an invaluable public service!

Ron said...

Whatever will we do when they finally launch the Pam Anderson-Jesse Ventura ticket? Which one would be called "The Body"? If Pam Anderson were to declare a limited nuclear response to the problem of urban blight while wearing a tube top...would we even notice the issue?

MadisonMan said...

Total agreement with hdhouse.

Simon said...

From the story:
"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."

Well, quite. I see no reason why a woman has to wear a coal sack in order to be taken seriously, lest even a hint of sexual appeal distract the audience. What a quaintly Islamic view! "The mere sight of a woman will incite the men." That view seems to demean both the speaker and the audience.

B said...

Won't vote for Hillary.

But I'm all for her showing a little cleavage.

You know . . . within reason, of course.

I do have a tape measure, and my own personal standard . . .

Simon said...

(BTW, in the interests of full disclosure, I should point to an old admission - "I'm in a minority of one insofar as I think that Hillary Clinton has actually become very attractive in middle age," so I say that if she wants to show some cleavage, that's not going to make me take her any less seriously.)

Gahrie said...

Incoming! Man your foxholes!

Joe said...

Without a picture, this story is worthless. No, I don't really want to see Hillary's cleavage--I don't find her attractive--but I've long learned to distrust other people's negative judgment on women's clothing.

Moreover, if you wait long enough you can get a "compromising" picture of anyone.

Bissage said...

IM IN UR SENATE

FLASHIN MAH BOOBS

Roger said...

Cleavage or not, she is the only Democratin their crowded field I iwould consider voting for.

Simon said...

Ann - re Joe's comment, might be a good idea to update the link to the full version of the story which includes a pic.

Joe - scroll down the comments. ;) There's a link to the pic.

Meade said...

Young male voters like Simon and Roger demonstrate why Hillary's run for the presidency is too soon. Too much sexuality. American voters still aren't ready to combine again the concepts of "Clinton," " President," and "Sex."

If she will just wait another seven years, she'll be Nancy Pelosi's age and perhaps a grandmother. No one gets distracted by Nancy Pelosi's sexuality. Plus, seven more years will give her time to, you know, accomplish something as a... leader.

Roger said...

Meade: LOL!!! male I am, young I am not: will be 66 in September--and I might add thanks to all you youngsters who keep my medicare paid and social security checks coming! Work harder faster!

reader_iam said...

Sigh.

AJ Lynch said...

Robin Givhan is one of Ann's blog categories.

That should tell those raving about Ann "breastblogging" that fashion/ style is a topic Ann loves. It ain't about breasts so get off her case.

Meade said...

"66 in September"

Mr. Roger, sir: you don't say!

Then by my formula, and especially if you have grandkids and perhaps some shifting cleavage, you are just about old enough to run for president, sir.

(And now I must be on my way to my next job, earning income that I can donate to Medicare and Social Security. Hmm... wouldn't we both save money if I just sent a check directly to you, sir?)

Simon said...

Meade, you either didn't read or missed the point of my 11:20 comment. There is a difference between being distracted by someone's sexuality and acknowledging that it exists. I absolutely reject the suggestion that you can't respect someone, can't take someone seriously as an intellectual, and think they're attractive.

Certainly my opinion of Hillary Clinton is neither positively nor negatively affected by her sexuality. These matters operate on different levels. Don't think that because I think she's kinda cute on the surface, that I've forgotten about the cold, dark evil that lurks in her heart!

You're also being conclusory in implying that in seven years, this won't be an issue. Are you really saying no one thinks Nancy Pelosi is attractive? I doubt that. I think it's profoundly mistaken to project your sense of aesthetics onto the rest of the population as an inviolable rule. Taste is an idiosyncratic thing: I don't find Pelosi attractive, and I don't find Paris Hilton attractive; I know for a fact that other people find Paris Hilton attracting, and I assume some people find Nancy Pelosi attractive. De gustibus non est disputandum.

Just because you like someone doesn't mean you agree with them or disagree with them. Just because you're attracted to them doesn't mean you respect them or don't respect them. And vice versa. These are separate processes.

amba said...

There are some women who should show a little bit (or a lot) less cleavage, and some who should show a little bit more. Hillary's in the latter category. But I can't imagine every move she makes isn't calculated and plotted down to the minutes of each degree. Someone (it could even be her) thought it was time to remind people that she actually is a woman.

Boy, though, you're right: that Robin Givhan can write.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon said...

Theo - yeah, it was meant to be mildly tongue-in-cheek. I just think Meade's comment was kind of silly - I found it offensive, to be honest - suggesting that one's assessment of a person's views or intellect is going to be tethered to whether you find them physically attractive.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Thanks, Simon, for the photo links.

Truly: What is the big fargin' deal?

Was that considered inappropriate cleavage by anyone?

I think when Hillary makes the effort, she is quite pleasant to look at.

Galvanized said...

Maybe the equivalent would be for a man -- say, future President -- to take off his jacket in getting comfortable in his skin to present on the Senate floor? It would certainly be a new look but not anything detracting from the task at hand. Condoleeza did the same in those boots and slit skirt, which, honestly, was a sign of confidence and being comfortable in her role. A woman shouldn't have to defeminize herself for the office of President or any other, any more than a man would have to emasculate himself for the same. The nature of the office is not masculine but of conducting business. A woman should be allowed anything that would be acceptable in a business meeting. So, without seeing the picture, would her outfit have been acceptable in a business/academic meeting?

Galvanized said...

And, Ruth Ann...the pic is priceless LOL

Hazy Dave said...

"I found it offensive, ...suggesting that one's assessment of a person's views or intellect is going to be tethered to whether you find them physically attractive"

Yet, plenty of people call those they disagree with ugly and stupid. (No need to name names, obviously.) But, maybe the cause and effect are not reversible. Or are they?

Are the looks of a presidential candidate less important than his ideas? Is the sound of his voice less important than the content of his words? Maybe to you or me, but how about to the TV Watching Voting Public?

TMink said...

Ann, I imagine you cackling as you wrote this one! Any bets as to how many posts we will end up with?

I am going for 123 after it gets picked up by the usual suspects.

Trey

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

Fixed the way I had it linked. Originally, the pictures weren't on the non-"print page" story, so it didn't matter.

2 key points that some of you didn't overlook: 1. I link to Givhan's column nearly every week. If it's about a presidential candidate, it's for sure that I'll link. 2. Hillary was speaking in the Senate (not going to a party or hanging out casually). This was the official, political presentation. That matters!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Galvanized: This one was way worse.

How good Hillary looks on any given day--or should I say Givan day?--is a barometer of how much time she took to look good. She's quite capable of looking fab.

Simon said...

Ruth Anne - why, in that last one you posted, she looks luminescent, almost like an oil painting.

;)

Virtually Actual said...

Well, you decided that Jeri Kehn's cleavage didn't make Fred Thompson a bad person, so I imagine you're happy to say that Hillary bareing cleavage in the vicinity of Bill is OK.

I believe at the time there was a fuss over Kehn's breasts, you admonished the fuss-makers and said that their disgust at the old man leering at them was probably, actually, disgust at the prospect of his becoming president. Not sure what you're trying to make of Hillary's bust, but you should probably rename your blog "Breasts!"

Simon said...

Theo - re Condi, remember this? ;)

Jimbo said...

Hillary's! cleavage is a response to the fact that Obama and Thompson are both sexier than she is. Even Guliani in drag could give her a run for her money...

Simon said...

Virtually Actual - your comment seems to assume that Ann's post expresses disapproval, and I don't think that's the case.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

This was the official, political presentation.

My opinion is that with the Clintons, it's always political.

vet66 said...

Timing is everything! Cleavagegate! Let the games begin! Not to be outdone by Fred Thompson's wife, Hillary is trying to bring parity to the breast gap crisis.

This is commonly referred to as BALT: Breast Arms Limitation Treaty! Each side is entitled to one set of launchers: Secret Embrace or NoDong.

Theo Boehm said...
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Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blake said...

Is this not her subtle response to Elizabeth Edwards' taunts? That she's not woman enough to be her (Elizabeth's) man?

"Check 'em out, fellas! Who's the real woman in this race?"

Which, I suppose, should be followed by Giuliani entering stage right in drag.

Luckyoldson said...

Ann,
What is your deal with tits?

The article was silly to begin with, but why do you always jump on such inane topics?

Didn't you throw a fit a few months ago about somebody who had a nice tits and was standing near Clinton?

Luckyoldson said...

What would you people do without the Clintons??

It's either Bill standing too close to a woman with big tits, or Hillary wearing a dress that reveals the fact that she indeed has tits.

But why no comments about Bush sucking on Cheney's tits for the last 6 years??

And to think...Hillary and her tits will be living in the White House as of 2008...for 8 wonderful years.

Jealousy: It be ugly to behold.

Ann Althouse said...

Breasts that are conspicuous in the political sphere warrant commentary. A woman speaking in front of the Senate or at a political lunch with an ex-President, unless she is utterly incompetent, has thought about how she wants her breasts to appear. Visible cleavage doesn't just happen. Nor does a clingy sweater. Every woman who is competent enought to play a significant political role knows how to change to a top with a higher neckline or put a jacket over a sweater. So how she has chosen to appear means something and it is a fair subject for political commentary. I will not be pushed back from this subject.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Clinton's breasts used politically. Circa 1996.

Adrian said...

lol, bissage!

paul a'barge said...

(1) That's not cleavage
(2) Those aren't breasts and
(3) the mutt who wrote that article and the mutt who edited and approved it are in desperate need of a life.

Really folks. Move along.

P. Rich said...

Pretty much everything a Clinton does is calculated. Given that HR is also wearing a pink jackect (as opposed to power red or black) likely means she is pushing the "I am a feminine female." sub-theme, the soft version designed for appeal to more moderate women.

Luckyoldson said...

P. Rich said..."Pretty much everything a Clinton does is calculated."

WAIT A MINUTE!!!!

Are you trying to say the Clintons are...politicians? That they're aware of the fact that their every move and every word is being scrutinized? That a single gaff could sink Hillary's election hopes of winning?

Good God...who woulda think it???

Adrian said...

And don't forget about this!

chickenlittle said...

Hillary should learn a thing or two from Nancy Pelosi, who has managed to keep her Jeri's under wraps.

Simon said...

chickenlittle -
Maybe Pelosi should take a lead from Clinton's book. Or maybe they should both take a leaf from Jeri's book. I don't know - it depends how comfortable they are, how they feel about themselves, and what sort of image they want to project.

Jon Swift said...

I will not be pushed back from this subject.

Your refusal to be deterred from writing obsessively about the breasts of women you do not like, instead of trivial matters, like, say, their positions on the issues, is right up there with Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on the bus.

LoafingOaf said...

Clicking over, I'm surprised to find the pic isn't remotely sexy and wouldn't have caused me to pause one second before flipping on to another channel. Someone wrote a column about that? Bizarre.

And then I read the columnist's take:

"But really, it was more like catching a man with his fly unzipped." And: It's a "teasing display."

Eh? It isn't in any way, shape, or form like catching a man with his fly unzipped, and I'd hardly call it a teasing display. Givhan is a weirdo. Some outfits showing cleavage would be teasing, provocative displays on the Senate floor (provided we had more attractive Senators), but not this. Not at all.

But Givhan is the nut who won a Pulitzer for attacking Justice Roberts' kids.

Is the point here that Hillary is responding to talk she is too much like a man? But she's worn cleavage before. This pic from a year ago is slightly more attractive. Still would've escaped my notice, but not the folks at NRO who made a to-do over it and predicted others would.

Apparently these un-noteworthy, conservative outfits are all it takes to get the Washington media buzzing. If that's a provocative, teassing, sexy display in Washington, no wonder call girls are making a killing.

Adrian said...

hey bissage, you like?

LoafingOaf said...

So how she has chosen to appear means something and it is a fair subject for political commentary. I will not be pushed back from this subject.

I realize politicians make very conscious decisions on their clothes. But is that outfit really like catching a man with his fly down? *scratches head*

Luckyoldson said...

LoafingOaf said..."Clicking over, I'm surprised to find the pic isn't remotely sexy and wouldn't have caused me to pause one second before flipping on to another channel. Someone wrote a column about that? Bizarre."

I realize you'll find this hard to believe, but that's exactly what I thought when I saw the picture. I showed it to my wife and asked if there was anything out of the ordinary about how Hillary looked, anything new or unseemly and she had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.

When I told her what the discussion and article was all about she rolled her eyes and asked me why I wasn't playing golf.

Luckyoldson said...

Jon Swift,
I love your pork sausage.

The Exalted said...

Haha. The Professor will not be turned back from her infantile commentary!

Btw - if you think that is "cleavage," I recommend "getting a life." IMHO.

Simon said...

LoafingOaf - I'm totally mystified why anyone who isn't a total censorious, tongue-clucking prig would even raise an eyebrow at the pic you linked to. Presumably the same people who would laud this as appropriately modest beachwear.

Revenant said...

Haha. The Professor will not be turned back from her infantile commentary!

She didn't write the article, shit-for-brains.

AlphaLiberal said...

Ann's right. This breast thing has gone too far and caused too much trouble.

We must demand all breasts be hidden, flattened or otherwise banished.

And I will try not to admire another terrible, awful breast again in my life.

Feeling catty today, Ann? meowr!

AlphaLiberal said...

Reading this article and these comments, it's simply bizarre that people can dedicate so much time to analyzing cleavage.

And for women to marginalize cleavage is really counter to self-interest. What next? Will Ann Althouse call Hillary a "hussy"?

jane said...

1. After seeing Hillary wear a pink angora sweater for her Monicagate Vast Rightwing Conspiracy and Lying, Hate Talk Radio Katie Couric interview, right before Bill “admitted” to Hill that he had indeed done a dirty deed with a young subordinate, I know her stylist is a superb propagandist.

2. Conservative women would do well to unbutton their blouses liberally (I do).

3. Liberal women do better buttoned up.

chickenlittle said...

Alphaliberal said:

"analyzing cleavage"

that's really dirty

Seven Machos said...
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Seven Machos said...

Althouse -- I would say that every man and woman is competent to make the decision about how to present boobs and every other thing. That's why you should never feel bad about leering when someone is wearing leer-worthy clothes. Isn't it obviously what they want, at some level?

Virtually Actual said...

Breasts that are conspicuous in the political sphere warrant commentary.

Er, well, I don't know about that. I mean if Barbara Boxer started batting them around on C-Span, OK. But you can't argue that Hillary's were "conspicuous." They just weren't.

I will not be pushed back from this subject.

No shit. Breasts are your bread and butter. Maybe you should consider doing a ranking of political breasts, so we know what aesthetic standards you operate with. Which breasts do you find perkiest/most desirable... You won't be "pushed back" so, which breasts are you most drawn to? Breasts attached to the most powerful women? Breasts in the vicinity of the most powerful men? Breasts with an irregular bounce? This is no doubt a topic that requires theorization in addition to the day-to-day "here are some breasts!" posts.

Jacques Cuze said...

It's one thing to have a discussion about Jessica Valenti et. al., about breast blogging since Valenti calls herself a third wave sex positive feminist and tries to claim she is different from (presumably your) second wave sex "negative?" feminism while you want to make the point that Valenti is just whoring it up and exploiting her breasts and there ain't a whole lot of sex positiveness about that.

But I am honestly surprised that you, who I thought considered herself a second wave feminist would think that a woman presidental candidate's very minor display of cleavage is in anyway notable.

I resolve this puzzle by noting you do not understand (or did not want to present) your actual rules:

2 key points that some of you didn't overlook: 1. I link to Givhan's column nearly every week. If it's about a presidential candidate, it's for sure that I'll link. 2. If it's negative about Hillary, I guarantee I will blog about it. That matters!

I don't know how you can resolve any claim to being a feminist of any sort and making a fuss out of Hillary's clothes in this particular case.

Beth said...

The "hot Air" comment reconfirms what nitwits they are over there. "The Wendy Vitter treatment"? Would that mean Wendy's carping about Hillary's sticking by Bill Clinton? That's the same Wendy Vitter who said back in 1998 that if she had a cheating spouse she wouldn't pull a Hillary Clinton, but a Lorena Bobbitt. Looks like she didn't mean it, and she's mroe like Hillary than her smug self thought back then.

Of course, she's known about Diaper Boy's cheating since at least 2004, and participated in lying about it to the press, campaign supporters, the GOP leadership, and her family, the children she's only now so desperate to protect.

Hot Air indeed. Air between the ears.

AlphaLiberal said...

Digby Rocks! All hail Digby!

"Wow, this is serious. Hillary Clinton apparently almost did a hootchie-coo pole dance on the floor of the senate, shaking her luvly lady-lumps like there was no tomorrow. Why it's a miracle the mensfolk could concentrate!

hee, hee...

Analyzing cleavage indeed.

AlphaLiberal said...

Not to introduce personal preference or anything, but could Ann just once talk about, you know, a woman's derrière?

Now that would be a welcome addition to our nation's very serious discourse.

And, with photos, please.

paul a'barge said...

Folks
Althouse is out taking pictures of nature, setting up for a vlog and in general having a life.

Hint, hint AlphaLiberal, hint, hint.

The Exalted said...

revenant,

reading isn't your forte, thats fair. to make it clear, i was referring to this:


Ann Althouse said...
Breasts that are conspicuous in the political sphere warrant commentary. A woman speaking in front of the Senate or at a political lunch with an ex-President, unless she is utterly incompetent, has thought about how she wants her breasts to appear. Visible cleavage doesn't just happen. Nor does a clingy sweater. Every woman who is competent enought to play a significant political role knows how to change to a top with a higher neckline or put a jacket over a sweater. So how she has chosen to appear means something and it is a fair subject for political commentary. I will not be pushed back from this subject.


thanks for the kind words.

AlphaLiberal said...

Media Matters gives National Review Online credit for predicting the story.

Earth wobbles on axis.

(Paul, you live your life, I'll live mine. Hint, hint).

David53 said...

Trey said,

Ann, I imagine you cackling as you wrote this one! Any bets as to how many posts we will end up with?

I am going for 123 after it gets picked up by the usual suspects.



Oh man, you are way off. The post is less than 8 hours old, it's a Friday, it includes the words Clinton and breasts, and it's just beginning to pick up steam. I bet it breaks the 250 mark by Sunday midnight.

Vox Populi said...

Someone said you were a law professor. Tell me this isn't so !!

From the look of things in the legal system it appears you probably are.
Yikes. This is just absymal.

Beth said...

So, I've now seen the picture, and I say it looks fine. She's not doing a Daisy Duke. I'm not covering my face and screaming "my eyes!"

Isn't there a picture of Obama on vacation, shirtless at the beach? He's got nice man cleavage.

I don't want to see Fred Thompson at the beach, let's just get that established now. I love Rudy in drag. Mitt Romney makes no impression whatsoever--I can't even bring his face to mind. Bush lovers have waxed on about his rolled up sleeves in scenes from the ranch soundstage.

So, go 'head on, Hillary. Let the girls out a bit.

blake said...

Reading this article and these comments, it's simply bizarre that people can dedicate so much time to analyzing cleavage.

Alpha's never been to the Russ Meyer forum....

Vox gets the "You, A Law Professor!" award.

I nominate Beth for Secretary of the Department of Aesthetic Bodily Displays.

Beth said...

Bissage made me laugh. Ruth Anne wins the best link. Amba nailed the strategy: this is right on the heels of Elizabeth Edwards' critique of Hillary's manly intellectual rigor.

Simon, when you say "Don't think that because I think she's kinda cute on the surface, that I've forgotten about the cold, dark evil that lurks in her heart!" it confused me. You're a conservative: shouldn't you be voting for the cold, dark evil-hearted candidate? I tell ya, this too-early, too-much campaign is going to drive me to the booby hatch.

Beth said...

it's simply bizarre that people can dedicate so much time to analyzing cleavage.

I'm a lesbian in my late forties. I've got more than three decades of cleavage analysis under my belt, and no plans to retire.

Jennifer said...

I'm a lesbian in my late forties. I've got more than three decades of cleavage analysis under my belt, and no plans to retire.

Best quote of the day to Beth.

Seven Machos said...

You, Vox Populi. A silly person who thinks they are insightful!

Vox Populi said...

eight machos - I prefer to be inciteful. Silly you.

AlphaLiberal said...

Visible cleavage doesn't just happen. Nor does a clingy sweater. Every woman who is competent enought to play a significant political role knows how to change to a top with a higher neckline or put a jacket over a sweater. So how she has chosen to appear means something and it is a fair subject for political commentary. I will not be pushed back from this subject.
So what does your antipathy toward these things say about the millions of women appearing like this in everyday life? Do you think they're hussies, as well?

I was just traveling, observing this cleavage fashion closely. Has flashing this much cleavage always been so routine?

No complaints, mind you.

Plus, why does Ann only rip on Democratic bosoms? What's up with that, Ann? Are you scouring pictures for bosoms closely enough?

Perhaps Beth and I can help. I'm nonpartisan on the subject.

Seven Machos said...

Ignorance truly is bliss.

B said...

Simon,

Got back here late, buit though I will not vote for Hillary, I have long thought her attractiveness was underated.

Her Vogue pictures were hot.
Heck, I also liked the geeky Yale glasses and thick eyebrows Hillary.

Again, can't vote for her.

But she is hot.

Luckyoldson said...

Jane,
Finally out of rehab?

Still running and gunning with Pogo and the gang of dolts?

And what's with exposing your tits?

Got any pics?

Luckyoldson said...

beth says...and with a non-straight face: "this is right on the heels of Elizabeth Edwards' critique of Hillary's manly intellectual rigor.

That's what you took from Edward's comment? An implication of "Hillary's manly intellectual rigor?"

I suggest you bone (and that's not a play on words) up on your "intellectual" reasoning...because that's quite a stretch.

*And what would you people do without the Clintons??

Dan said...

Ann:

Breasts that are conspicuous in the political sphere warrant commentary.

No, they don't.

The fact that — gasp!! — women take their OMGbreastsesses!!LOL!!!1!! with them when they go out in public is only comment-worthy if you're A) easily distracted by shiny objects, B) a nine-year-old boy, or C) uncomfortable with the fact that women are allowed to go out in public.

JackGoff said...

Breasts that are conspicuous in the political sphere warrant commentary.

Completely and utterly without basis in anything resembling thought.

Why?

jane said...

Luckyoldson,

Still flashing your ass, I see. Probably something you had to do in prison quite a bit.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't like the way my quote is being cut short. I said: "Breasts that are conspicuous in the political sphere warrant commentary. A woman speaking in front of the Senate or at a political lunch with an ex-President, unless she is utterly incompetent, has thought about how she wants her breasts to appear. Visible cleavage doesn't just happen. Nor does a clingy sweater. Every woman who is competent enought to play a significant political role knows how to change to a top with a higher neckline or put a jacket over a sweater. So how she has chosen to appear means something and it is a fair subject for political commentary."

The words "conspicuous" and "competent" go together and are important. We are talking about a choice to intrude sexuality into the mind of those who are receiving what is a political message. The only way out of that assertion if the woman is simply hapless and incompetent. If this is a political actor whom we are to take seriously -- and I am assuming that is the case -- then she is intentionally using what some other women opt not to use. That matters and that is a subject for political commentary. Don't break off my quote and act like I've said something different from what I've said. Comprehend the whole thing and then talk about it. Either respond to my complete thought or get your own blog and snipe from a distance. I will not be twisted on my own blog.

Beth said...

Lucky, your reading comprehension needs work. My take on Elizabeth Edwards' comment is right on; I also think Edwards added something important to the campaign -- but that doesn't mean I won't have a bit of fun with the whole gender confusion having a serious woman contender in the race brings out.

I voted for Clinton, twice, and when you say "you people" I don't think that phrase means what you think it means.

JackGoff said...

A woman speaking in front of the Senate or at a political lunch with an ex-President, unless she is utterly incompetent, has thought about how she wants her breasts to appear.

Which means that you think it was possible for her to go out without them, or without them as you would have them displayed. They were covered up. That's all that matters, Ann. Everything else is you and others tweaking about the fact that she had them, and the outfit she wore didn't cover them up enough. I suppose a nun's habit is the only thing appropriate, eh? Burqa? Can't have tits in politics, that means you're a woman, right?

Orange said...

Ann says: "We are talking about a choice to intrude sexuality into the mind of those who are receiving what is a political message."

I say: What the hell is wrong with people? Senator Clinton revealed the same amount of skin as millions of women, and far less than millions of others. It was unexceptional. When I looked at the picture, did it "intrude sexuality into my mind"? Absolutely not.

Dan at 8:51 is spot on.

JackGoff said...

The words "conspicuous" and "competent" go together and are important.

Hilarious. We know your definition of conspicuous, namely that they existed, ZOMG!

JackGoff said...

When I looked at the picture, did it "intrude sexuality into my mind"?

Well, to be honest, "intrude sexuality into [Ann Althouse's] mind" means merely referencing the name "Clinton". That is was innocuous to anyone else who saw it isn't really the issue here. It's that the name "Clinton" was involved, as well as breasts.

Ann Althouse said...

No, no, no, no. Read what I wrote again or go start your own blog and snipe from a distance. Cleavage is NEVER an accident unless the woman is incompetent. Hillary absolutely knew what she was doing. And I assume Jessica Valenti did too (because I don't assume she's incompetent).

You guys can pretend you don't understand, or maybe you actually don't get it. But women dress in front of mirrors and know how their breasts look in their clothes. They think about whether this is the effect they want. Valenti could have worn a jacket over her clingy top or changed to a nonclingy blouse when going to encounter the man who nearly threw away his presidency because a young woman wore a thong.

These things mean something and, because we are talking about public, political actors, deserve political commentary.

JackGoff said...

You guys can pretend you don't understand

Actually, it's fairly obvious what your reasoning is. Let me guess, you treat Katherine Harris the same way, right?

JackGoff said...

What was she thinking?! Such incompetence!

Eli Blake said...

Very little showing though. I just hope that if she gets elected President she makes a point of dressing like that during trips to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other middle eastern countries.

The best story I have is that a few years ago I was teaching in a portable building in which the air conditioning was broken-- as in it stayed on and wouldn't turn off unless someone switched it off manually. That wasn't a huge problem in the summer, but it was terrible in the winter. One Monday I had a 7:30 AM class, and one girl came wearing one of those 'half a shirt' tubes that only covered from the bottom of her boobs to her waist. Someone had left the AC on Friday, and over the weekend a cold front had come in so that it had been darn cold the night before and the room was not much above freezing. The rest of us had the good sense to wear warm clothes, but she was sitting in class with both arms wrapped around her shoulders and with her teeth chattering.

I have to admit that some of the other students quietly chortled at here, but I had to keep a straight face (which was hard.)

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, I made fun of Katherine Harris.

Eli Blake said...

As for cleavage being somehow a defining issue in terms of 'sexy,' I'd only point out that during the Victorian era in England (the height of prudishness in which even piano legs had to be covered and women wore gowns desined to make sure that even when they were walking no one could even see their shoes) dresses which showed plenty of cleavage were the norm.

It's funny how what is considered too 'sexy' for a 'proper' woman to show has migrated up from the legs and up to the breasts.

JackGoff said...

Link?

JackGoff said...

A search of your site nets three references, one in which you defend Harris, and the others where you quote someone else. Clearly, you aren't as devoted to fighting the specter of breasts in politics as you claim to be, unless I missed a post where you didn't discuss "Katherine Harris".

JackGoff said...

a post where you didn't discuss "Katherine Harris".

Arggh. Should be:

a post where you did discuss "Katherine Harris".

JackGoff said...

ANd I should say you didn't actually defend her, you just tu quoque'd.

Simon said...

Eli - if she promises to make state visits to Saudi Arabia and similar misogynist regimes in a bikini, I'll vote for her!

(This is a joke.)

jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jane said...

Cleavage is the perfect (tuck in the hankie) wedge issue, because "cleave" can be anything to anybody:

1. To separate into parts with or as if with a sharp-edged instrument: carve, cut, dissever, sever, slice, slit, split.

2. To hold fast: adhere, bond, cling, cohere, stick. Connect.

Clinton's suddenly revealed cleavage is serving to cleave some feminists from others, to separate blue-nosed Repubs from red-blooded ones, and to bond her with a clichéd but calculated notion of femininity, which she needs this week.

I'll never vote for her, under any circumstance, but it wouldn't be b/c she manipulates us with her clothing choices. Am a little tired of her Rosie O'Donnell pantsuits, anyway, and Hill trying to tart up is as amusing as her baking cookies for the press after she insulted stay-at-home moms in the Clinton '92 campaign.

Seven Machos said...

Face it, people. No matter how you come down on this issue, talking about breasts is always fun. And important. Can't we all at least admit that?

Dan said...

Ann:

I don't like the way my quote is being cut short.

Well, I don't like the way you say things that aren't true as if they were. So I guess we're even.

I hate to repeat myself, but the only people who really give a crap that Hillary Clinton flashed a little swell on the Senate floor are people who never mentally aged beyond junior high school and still giggle behind their hand every time someone says the word "penis." The problem isn't that she wore a deep v-neck out in public, the problem is that there are so many ridiculously puerile people who think that's, like, totally doubleplusungood, or something.

We are talking about a choice to intrude sexuality into the mind of those who are receiving what is a political message.

Well, I don't know about you, but I have this amazing ability to draw a distinction between tits and politics, even when they're happening at the same time. This is, I believe, a direct and quite predictable result of me not being a complete moron. I grew out of crawling under tables to look up girls' skirts by the time I was seven. Don't insult my intelligence by implying that I haven't.

Cleavage is NEVER an accident unless the woman is incompetent.

OK. In much the same way, encouraging women to be ashamed of their own bodies is never an accident, either, but only one of those two things is objectively detrimental to women's rights.

And please don't try to pretend that that's not exactly what you're doing.

These things mean something and, because we are talking about public, political actors, deserve political commentary.

Sorry, but tut-tutting women for daring to take their breasts with them when they go out in public doesn't qualify as political commentary. It's garden-hedge gossip at the absolute best; it doesn't even rise to the level of a checkout-aisle live-vicariously-through-celebrities rag like People or In Touch. And I still can't understand why you'd make an argument that is so clearly based on the presumption that we're all so profoundly stupid and/or enslaved by our apparently unconquerable hormones that we can't possibly listen to the words that are coming out of Hillary Clinton's mouth if she chooses — for whatever reason, or no reason at all — to wear a v-neck top that day. Because in all honesty, that's the only reason I can come up with for why you'd think that her cleavage would be at all remarkable.

But look, until pretty recently I was trapped in academia myself, so I can understand perfectly well just how completely isolated from people-on-the-ground reality you probably are after your 20+ years, but come on. This whole "ZOMGboobs!!!" schtick of yours is just patently ridiculous on its face, and shamefully unbecoming of a tenured law professor.

And I'm willing to concede — I'll even repeat myself verbatim, here, just to reiterate — that your argument probably makes sense to someone who is either A) easily distracted by shiny objects, B) a nine-year-old boy, or C) uncomfortable with the fact that women are allowed to go out in public. Other than that, though, not so much. Because many of us are actual adults, FFS.

Seven Machos said...

You! A law professor. I want to keep a count here. So far we have two. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Dan said...

You! A law professor. I want to keep a count here. So far we have two. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Ann, I find it a little sad that you'd allow your regulars to use your job title as nothing more than a shield to (attempt to) deflect sight from the rather indisputable fact that you say some pretty goofy shit every once in a while (but, then again, I think you use it for that sometimes, too).

So it seems to me that your regs don't have any more respect for you than we do. Possibly even less.

bill said...

Althose said: "Either respond to my complete thought or get your own blog and snipe from a distance. I will not be twisted on my own blog."

I refer her to this:

Why you shouldn't allow comments on a blog:
The important thing to notice here is that Dave does not see blog comments as productive to the free exchange of ideas. They are a part of the problem, not the solution. You don't have a right to post your thoughts at the bottom of someone else's thoughts. That's not freedom of expression, that's an infringement on their freedom of expression.

Ann Althouse said...

"encouraging women to be ashamed of their own bodies is never an accident"

I didn't say women should be ashamed. Dressing in a professional manner and avoiding revealing clothing is not something a woman does out of shame. It represents an intelligent decision to concentrate attention on your professional role and to minimize distracting sexual thoughts in the person you want to communicate with. A woman isn't "ashamed" of her breasts simply because she's decided to make them not the center of attention. Are you ashamed of your genitalia because you wear pants?

TMink said...

Alpha Liberal wrote: "Reading this article and these comments, it's simply bizarre that people can dedicate so much time to analyzing cleavage."

Dude, look at the number of your posts on the subject!

Is it unethical for me to post on the subject again after I have predicted the number of posts? It was at 120, and I predicted 123. So by having a giggle at ALs lack of clarity on his own posting proclivities, I pushed it up to 121.

Now I am thinking that I WAY under estimated, so it will be a moot question. But in deference to full disclosure, I thought I needed to mention it.

Trey

vet66 said...

I am amazed by how some of the male commenters here exhibit such a total ignorance of all things feminine.

Ladies, some of us guys appreciate the effort and time you spend engaging yourselves in the projection of your tangible assets. Once you get our attention, which admittedly, isn't difficult, a quick wit and sense of humor is icing on the cupcakes.

Beth, I appreciate your honesty. Wit is an endearing charm and I bow humbly before your in-depth study of the subject at hand.

Your lips to GOD's ears!

Caitlyn said...

This breast fetish is getting rather old - you should get a new hobby.

Luckyoldson said...

dan says: "This whole "ZOMGboobs!!!" schtick of yours is just patently ridiculous on its face, and shamefully unbecoming of a tenured law professor."

You got that right.

Anthony said...

In light of this important story, I feel duty-bound to post this link. It's for world peace and stuff.

NSFW.

Dan said...

Ann:

I didn't say women should be ashamed. Dressing in a professional manner and avoiding revealing clothing is not something a woman does out of shame. It represents an intelligent decision to concentrate attention on your professional role and to minimize distracting sexual thoughts in the person you want to communicate with. A woman isn't "ashamed" of her breasts simply because she's decided to make them not the center of attention.

To the mind so inclined, those "distracting sexual thoughts" are exactly what makes the display of cleavage shameful in the first place (not to mention entirely the woman's fault, because we men just can't help ourselves, right?). In fact, the whole concept of "dressing professionally" rests on a self-reenforcing assumption of sartorial priggishness.

But this is all quite beside the point. Again, the problem isn't that Clinton wore a v-neck, it's that people give a crap that Clinton wore a v-neck. The rest of what you've said is just an elaborate post hoc rationalization.

It also bears mentioning that I've seen more bare flesh on a high school teacher than what Clinton showed yesterday. You'd think that of all our social spaces, that'd be the place that people would really flip out, but nobody cared. So hooray to you for being less mature than a high-schooler.

Are you ashamed of your genitalia because you wear pants?

Huh? We aren't ashamed of our sexuality because we wear clothes, we wear clothes to protect us from the elements.

That having been said, there's a reason that so many ancient mythologies justfy the human use of clothing by appealing to shame, rather than to keeping warm and dry.

Seven Machos said...

Dan, I'm going to try your uber-sophisticated reasoning as much as possible:

the problem isn't that x did y, it's that people give a crap that x did y

The problem isn't that my client took didn't pay taxes, Your Honor, the problem is that people give a crap that my client took didn't pay taxes.

The problem isn't that the USA invaded Iraq, the problem is that people give a crap that the USA went to war in Iraq.

This is awesome, dude. Argumentative gold!

JackGoff said...

This is awesome, dude. Argumentative gold!

So is equating "not paying taxes" with "wearing a v-neck". Not too bright are ya?

Seven Machos said...

Keep on believing in your own uber-intelligent awesomeness and refinement, Jack. A Goddamn shame you don't have tenure...

JackGoff said...

A Goddamn shame you don't have tenure...

If this blog is any indicator of what it takes to gain tenure, no thanks.

LoafingOaf said...

Dressing in a professional manner and avoiding revealing clothing is not something a woman does out of shame. It represents an intelligent decision to concentrate attention on your professional role and to minimize distracting sexual thoughts in the person you want to communicate with. A woman isn't "ashamed" of her breasts simply because she's decided to make them not the center of attention.

What you're saying might all be true if people clicked over to the pic of Hillary and thought her attire fit what you're saying. No one would've noticed or commented on this outfit if not for the Washington Post running a weird column about it, and I doubt the few people glued to CSPAN2 who saw it before Givhan's column raised a single eyebrow, let alone felt "sexually provoked," as Givhan claimed. Hillary looks professional to me.

If Givhan has detected a conscious decision by Hillary to hesitantly dip her toe into new fashion waters and wear more v-necks, I give her credit for being the first to spot it for her readers who actually care.

But the content of her column is bizarre and few people are relating to it. When you look at the pic and realize that that's all it took for Hillary to generate that column out of Givhan, it feels like a weirdly sexist column.

Luckyoldson said...

Understatement of the century:

JackGoff said this about Seven: "Not too bright are ya?"

I'd put him at about 10 watts.

Ann Althouse said...

Dan: "Huh? We aren't ashamed of our sexuality because we wear clothes, we wear clothes to protect us from the elements."

Dan is claiming that he wears pants to protect himself from the elements. So presumably on hot days his traipsing about pantsless.

K. said...

I agree with Ann. Hillary is way too sexy to be wearing outfits like that. She should be forced to wear a burka.

JackGoff said...

Because heat is the only element to be worried about, right Ann?

Didn't you have to take logic in your studies to become a law professor?

JackGoff said...

But thinking about it, you're right, Ann. A woman Senator wearing a v-neck should be outlawed. That makes the most sense, what with the political ramifications of boobies and all. Maybe assign a standard dress code for all women senators? Or, at the very least, constantly scrutinize all women senators' dress for fundamental errors in judgment according to the Althouse Dress Code Authority. Maybe make transgressions punishable by censure or even impeachment. You should totally write up a list of dress-violations-that-are-punishable-under-Althouse-doctrine™.

AlphaLiberal said...

OK, so Ann Althouse is dodging my point on who shes scolds.

If cleavage is so terrible it must not be shown by political women, what does it say about the millions of American women revealing cleavage everyday in work places of all sorts?

Shouldn't Ann Althouse also scold these women?

What is it about cleavage that it must not be shown by political women but it's okay shown by business women?

Ann, if you're going to be a public scold over bust issues, the public has a right to know the logic upon which your scolding rests. It's a fair question.

Seven Machos said...

Alpha -- You are really the one being a public scold, wasting time scolding people for holding wrong opinions.

I know. In your own mind, you are not a scold. How could a loving lefty be? You are just speaking truth to a blogger.

Truman said...

Hey Ann - show me our tits

Dr Zen said...

I would have thought most women give a lot less thought to their boobs than Ann does.

AlphaLiberal said...

7 Machos, I'm asking questions. Questions that get at a point Ann is famous for making.

And a question Ann seems uncomfortable with answering, for some reason.

TMink said...

OK, I predicted 123 posts and we got 141 (I am subtracting my two most recent as they were concerning the prediction and doing so slightly elevates my score) so I give myself an 87. Not so great, but a good first attempt. A solid B. Room for improvement.

Trey

Mr.Murder said...

Ann,

please roll your tongue back in your mouth. Don't wink at Hillary either, and stop trying to learn French one liners.

Not unless you've got vlog to show!

Dennis Hastert showed his Moobs off and you were never critical of him. Perhaps he isn't as attractive, and the vortex only capture bicurious vibes...