July 24, 2007

Ms. Magazine protests against "sexist" coverage of women politicians... AKA Hillary.

National Review points out that Ms. didn't get stirred up when the subject was Condoleezza Rice. I note that it's perfectly appropriate to write about how public figures look! Fashion and grooming are part of their communication. To put these matters off limits is to deprive us of the ability to talk about what in fact affects the human mind. It's repressive nonsense to tell us to shut up. Hillary Clinton is a powerful person who is seeking to become the most powerful human being on earth. We are absolutely free -- and even obligated -- to put her through the wringer. We talk about how the men look too -- and we should. Those who want power would like to confine us to the prepared text -- look only at the words, not the nonverbal levels of communication. We'd be fools to obey.

71 comments:

Maxine Weiss said...

Oh? So when I talked about your cleavage, when you went to the Sundance museum opening with your son....you deleted that post.

Isn't that "repressive" to do that?

You clearly didn't want me talking about your own cleavage, on display...son in tow.

Hmmm.

AJD said...

I note that it's perfectly appropriate to write about how public figures look! Fashion and grooming are part of their communication. To put these matters off limits is to deprive us of the ability to talk about what in fact affects the human mind.

Ha! Unless it is to comment on how Ann Althouse looks vlogging—especially if it is to comment on her visible bra strap in a podcast criticizing Hillary for allegedly “flaunting” her cleavage.

Your blog makes you a public figure, Anne. So why don’t your “rules” apply to you?!

Ah yes, a core concept in narcissism. YOU are the exception to all rules.

One word, Annie. Bullshit!

rhhardin said...

Guys talk about how public people look in terms like ``Looks like he's making a hostage tape,'' or whether he might be paying too much attention to how he looks.

I think fashion and grooming is mostly a female interest. Not that it's necessarily unimportant, but a guy can't get interested. He's busy abstracting from details, where the woman is busy piling details in.

What's specifically female is synthesizing the details, and leaving lots of things unresolved, in the conclusion. Tact may be involved in its statement.

The male has wound up with everything in or out of one category.

So what are the rules for how we talk about people? I don't know. How does the question come up, that would be a start. Somebody is getting something by raising it.

Creating a problem and taking ownership of it is a political move.

Matthew said...

It's patently absurd to posit that Ann Althouse, con law prof and blogger, should be subject to the same media scrutiny as a presidential candidate. Maybe if AJD and Maxine weren't so obsessed with trying to "catch" Althouse in a contradiction or pop-analyze her supposed "disorders," these commenters would be able to have some logical thoughts on the matter.

amba said...

Yep, Letterman remarked on Obama's "electable suit." Was that sexist? Or just sartorialist?

As for you trolls -- this is Ann's blog. If someone wants to write about her appearance on another blog, they are free to do so. But this blog is not the public square (and Ann is not a public servant). I'm sure Hillary's cleavage isn't a big deal on her own website.

Meade said...

The first two comments of this thread effectively belie the contentions they attempt to make.

Maxine, Althouse deletes comments that gratuitously discuss her sons. You might want to make a note of that.

AJD, when has Althouse put discussion of how she looks off limits? Making sh*t up may not be a core concept in malignant narcissism, something you seem to have first-hand knowledge of, but it is delusional.

Ann Althouse said...

I accept that people talk about how I look, but what you say reflects on you and may still be sexist, racist, or ageist and get you into trouble. Maxine knows why I deleted her post and that it wasn't because she talked about how I looked. There are some comments about my looks that I would delete, and some things about my looks that I think are particularly important to comment on. For example, if I were to appear in a photograph with a prominent politican and strike a show-offy pose right in front of him, I would expect you to make fun of me and I would consider outrage about the mockery to be partisan and repressive.

Roger said...

Gee--Ms might be partison? who knew. It was grand fun making fun of katherine Harris and Condoleeza Rice--and now they whine about HRC. Where were they when President Clinton and Mr Wiggley were running rampant--oh thats right--they sold out for the right to choose. Betty Friedan must be rolling in her grave.

Maxine Weiss said...

When Althouse went to the opening of the Sundance Museum, she wore an unusually low-cut ensemble. She had her son in tow.

Mother's cleavage + Son nearby = Topic of Discussion.

...or so you would think.

reader_iam said...

I don't know that I accept the idea that it's "repressive" to tell people to shut up, per se. Any more than I think it's repressive to say that we "should" talk about how people look.

I think the word "repressive" gets overused.

A more serious attempt at "repression" would be, say, a blogger from one website filing a complaint with the FEC arguing that another blogsite should be subject to FEC regulations and dismissing the idea that there are any larger implications to such a move.

reader_iam said...

Maxine, I'll give you this: You are irrepressible.

Maxine Weiss said...

Let's see if this gets deleted or not:

If I were a son, confronted by my Mother's cleavage I'd feel: a) embarrassed; b)delighted; c) non-plussed ????

What goes through a son's mind when he encounters his Mother's cleavage, at the opening of the Sundance Museum.

This is a taboo subject on the Althouse blog, and we are not allowed to discuss it.

Repressive?

PunditMom said...

Appearances fair game for public figures? Yes. But why is it "news" for the fashion reporter at WaPo to comment on Hillary's cleavage? Would it also have been fair game if, say, someone wrote about one of the men's pants being too tight? I think Givhan was just having a slow day and couldn't come up with anything worthwhile to write.

Meade said...

Right. Prepare yourself, Althouse -- a few of us just might call you on it if one random morning we were to open your blog to the headline: " I Dreamed I Attended A Bloggers Luncheon With Bill Clinton, Maxine, And My Two Sons, While Wearing Nothing But My Maidenform Bra, Beret, And Revealingly Low-cut Blue Dress."

(My personal motto: Dare to get into trouble; dare to apologize.)

Hoosier Daddy said...

When Althouse went to the opening of the Sundance Museum, she wore an unusually low-cut ensemble.

If I recall correctly, I don't think Ann is anti-cleavage. I think she has some issues on where its being displayed. I think I recall her saying that she would not go to class dressed in such a way but I don't recall her saying that women should be buttoned to the collar and dress like Church Lady.

As a red blooded American male I am all for cleavage but I do think there is a place for it. I'm the farthest from being a prude but there is something about women who dress like they're at a nightclub in a business setting which makes me think they're over compensating for something else.

The Drill SGT said...

Robin writes for my local paper, the WaPo. She in my opinion is a black feminist fashion writer who wants to be a political reporter or at least have a favorable impact on Democratic politics.

I'm not fond of either her fashion or political writing.

As for Hillary's cleavage, the blouse was very low cut IMHO, but not very revealing. I thought the article, which I only skimmed last week was generally favorable. Guess it just demonstrates that I am neither in touch with feminist politics or fashion.

As for the Media picking on Hillary's clothes? give me a break. Chris Matthews is a democratic toady.

as for Ann picking on women's fashions, I could have sworn she posted on hypothetical hair loss among the male presidental candidates the other day.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

She had her son in tow

This is just the kind of slanting of events that is so close to lying that the left revels in.

What? Was Ann holding his hand like a two year old? Or was he wearing one of those kiddie halters? Did he not want to be there and was dragging his feet? Did he look all pouty and need to be bribed to be a good boy with a promise of an ice cream cone? Or was her son attending an event with his Mother?

B said...

As Roger points out above, Ms. Magazine and her associated ilk sold out in the 90's.

They could hardly be more irrelevant to society today than they are now.

Just ask any college age woman.

____

Maxine Weiss said...

Althouse attended the opening of the Sundance Museum, as a Blogger. She blogged the experience, and made sure to post photos of her (skimpy) attire--photos taken by her son? I committed the major sin of speculating what was going through the son's mind.

Anyway, if Blogging is a business--a profession, and Althouse is showing cleavage while engaging in her profession, then why isn't she subject to the same scrutiny?

dix said...

Would it also have been fair game if, say, someone wrote about one of the men's pants being too tight?

Probably, if it was Edwards

Fen said...

Ms Magazine should do a fashion spread on all the different skirts Edwards hides behind.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Anyway, if Blogging is a business--a profession, and Althouse is showing cleavage while engaging in her profession, then why isn't she subject to the same scrutiny

It may be a profession to some but last time I checked, Ann is a law professor and this blog is her hobby/pasttime.

You're grasping Maxine and all the straws are short ones.

Meade said...

"then why isn't she subject to the same scrutiny?"

She is, Maxine. She said she is. Now, are you trying to be obtuse?

Are you a parent, Maxine? Try to understand --It's a parent thing: Don't get in my face and mock my kids or else.

My. Kids. Whatever their age. Whatever their chromosomal makeup. Wherever they may be. Whatever I may be wearing.

Or else, quite reasonably, I'll delete your ass.

Meade said...

fen: Comment of the day!

Sloanasaurus said...

Anyway, if Blogging is a business--a profession, and Althouse is showing cleavage while engaging in her profession, then why isn't she subject to the same scrutiny?

I don't recall Althouse showing cleavage in class or at the law school. If she did there would have been memorable gossip as the pickings in law school for that kind of thing was slim.

Here is a professor I remember showing cleavage.

No offense to professor Abramson, she was an excellent teacher. I just happen to remember her (20 years ago) more than anything from the class.

Susan said...

Would it also have been fair game if, say, someone wrote about one of the men's pants being too tight?

Well, there was that incident with Dick
Cheney's tight pants and his, um, large package
.

Pogo said...

Ms. magazine's largest paid circulation was reported to be 500,000 in 1976. Three years later it began to publish as a nonprofit. Circulation at Ms. supposedly reached 550,000 in 1989. But ongoing financial problems led Ms. to go on hiatus for 6 months in 2000, and then to change hands in November 2001, when it transferred ownership to the nonprofit Feminist Majority Foundation. At the time newsstand and subscription circulation was about 110,000. Moving ideas, a "progressive" site, estimates current circulation at 200,000.

Utne Circulation: 225,000.
Mother Jones Circulation: 180,000.
Nation Circulation: 139,000.
Newsweek: 3,160,000 Weekly
National Review: 155,000
The New Republic: 60,000

Mortimer Brezny said...

Nevermind her breasts. What about the fact she uses jackets strategically to cover up her Hottentot posterior? Here is a picture of a Hottentot.

PatCA said...

When I think of Now objecting to this, I see an elderly woman feeding a pro forma press release through an ancient fax machine...

Will they also protest if we bring up the issue of presidential independence? After all, the media was extremely worried that W might consult Bush the Elder in some sort of extra-constitutional manner. Can we ask if Hillary will be independent too, or is that sexist?

Gahrie said...

Maxine:

Anyway, if Blogging is a business--a profession, and Althouse is showing cleavage while engaging in her profession, then why isn't she subject to the same scrutiny?

Knock yourself out......On your own blog!

You have no right to dictate the contents of this blog.

Fen said...

National Review points out that Ms. didn't get stirred up when the subject was Condoleezza Rice.

Or when Katherine Harris was similary smeared by WaPo:

"She is immediately smeared by Democratic operatives and in the press. She is a political hack, a Stalinist, a commissar; she is a vamp, a lackey. The Washington Post, a great newspaper, publishes this description of Mrs. Harris: Her lips were overdrawn with berry-red lipstick--the creamy sort that smears all over a coffee cup and leaves smudges on a shirt collar. Her skin had been plastered and powdered to the texture of pre-war walls in need of a skim coat. And her eyes, rimmed in liner and frosted with blue shadow, bore the telltale homogeneous spikes of false eyelashes. Caterpillars seemed to rise and fall with every bat of her eyelid, with every downward glance to double check--before reading--her latest 'determination.� Her mouth is set in a jagged line. She has applied her makeup with a trowel. One wonders how this Republican woman, who can't even use restraint when she's wielding a mascara wand, will manage to make sound decisions."

SGT Ted said...

If I were a son, confronted by my Mother's cleavage I'd feel: a) embarrassed; b)delighted; c) non-plussed ????

OK Maxine, thats just straight up wierd.

dave™© said...

So how many more drinks before Blithering Misogynist Idiot goes off on young sluts showing their tits?

dave™© said...

National Review points out--

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Pogo said...

dave™© said...

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Roger said...

damn--I used to love the word "blithering" until trademark dave destroyed with his lame schtick.

Pogo said...

Re: "She has applied her makeup with a trowel. One wonders how this Republican woman, who can't even use restraint when she's wielding a mascara wand, will manage to make sound decisions."

Holy cow.
So NOW and MS. are cool with this, huh? Just like Clinton's babe problem "it's okay, he's on our side" is the operative rule.

paul a'barge said...

It's repressive nonsense to tell us to shut up

Feminism. There you go. Oink oink.

Fen said...

dave™© : So how many more drinks before Blithering Misogynist Idiot goes off on young sluts showing their tits?

Chauvinist Pig. Jessica Valenti is NOT a slut.

Revenant said...

the media was extremely worried that W might consult Bush the Elder in some sort of extra-constitutional manner.

What's even more amusing is that a few years later they were bemoaning the fact that Bush *didn't* listen to his dad and his dad's "realist" advisors.

Jon Swift said...

Thank you, Ms. Althouse for your tireless devotion to writing about Hillary's cleavage, which emboldens our enemies. You have truly earned your title as the Internet's leading breast blogger.

Luckyoldson said...

Rev,
The only person Bush has ever "conferred" with was Cheney. The commission made recommendations and he completely ignored them and you had Baker, one of dad's best buddies helping with that. Every general who's disagreed has been fired or quit. I can't imagine Bush Sr. wanting to get his name associated with this administration in any manner...at least with anyone knowing about it.

Luckyoldson said...

Sloan said: "I don't recall Althouse showing cleavage in class or at the law school. If she did there would have been memorable gossip as the pickings in law school for that kind of thing was slim."

Good God...are you telling me you two know each other? You're not her kid are you?

No wonder you have so much time to spend here...you must be an "unemployed" attorney.

Ann Althouse said...

"You have truly earned your title as the Internet's leading breast blogger."

Thanks. I consider breasts to be a worthy topic, long the subject of feminist writing. Too bad if you don't see the point.

Pogo said...

LOS insultometer: 2

dave™© said...

Too bad if you don't see the point.

The fact that you have a deep and abiding hatred for the young women populating your classes that still have a full life ahead of them?

Oh, we get that point. The funny part is that you don't.

Hence, the constant derisive laughter.

It's why you're the biggest joke on the internet, lady. Deal with it.

Pogo said...

Re: "... a deep and abiding hatred for the young women ..."

Oh blah blah blah Mary, you projecting little troll you.

Jeff said...

"It's repressive nonsense to tell us to shut up"

Academic and political feminism in a nutshell.

Revenant said...

LOS insultometer: 2

Just two? That slacker.

Pogo said...

I know. Must be busy chasing kids off his lawn or trapping live songbirds or somethin'

Sir Archy said...

Ah! Our Madmen to make sport of!  We will not be deprived of an evening's Entertainment, after all!

I earlier inquired after a Mad Scene to be acted elsewhere in this Theatre, but the Action of that Performance consisted of several rational and well-bred Persons discussing Politicks.  I feared the impressaria would have to bring in Savoyard dancers & walking dogs to give the Audience its Satisfaction.

I must tell you that, as the Figment of a Madman's imagination myself, I take great pleasure in the varieties of Amusement afforded by the vaporous effusions of diseas'd Brains.  The modern invention of the Internet allows easy Observation of these, although I will say in confidence that, in my day, a Secret Device, much resorted to by Frenchy spies and agents in the late War, afforded its users similar Powers.

But enough of that.  On with the Show!

Fen said...

Sir Archy: [...]

Thank God! Finally, a sophisticated and enlightened troll.

Luckyoldson said...

Oh, little Pogo-Guy. Everybody who disagrees with you or any of your buddies is automatically referred to as a "troll." Never a response to a comment or opinion, just the same old right wing slams.

And...what in the wide world do you mean by this?

"...trapping live songbirds or somethin'"??

What a hoot.

Pogo said...

LOS insultometer: 6
Average quality (A-F): C

Seven Machos said...

Why am I strangely charmed by DaveTM but utterly disgusted by Lucky?

tweety5215 said...

In a word, bulls^&*, Professor. You complained in an earlier post that "shrieking" is a feminizing term. I submit that any discussion of dress and grooming (i.e. John Edwards' hair, Hillary Clinton's jackets) is feminizing. No one talks about George Bush's suits, no one talks about Mitt Romney's clothing (except for
Andrew Sullivan, who's a wee bit obsessed with the secret Mormon
underwear). No one comments about a male politician's clothes and grooming except to suggest that the politician is narcissistic and
self-absorbed (and therefore is ill-equipped to lead the country), spends too much money on clothes (and therefore can't relate to "real America" and is
therefore ill-equipped to lead the country), or is wearing clothing he doesn't normally wear for a photo op (John Kerry in camo) and is therefore personally dishonest and therefore ill-equipped to lead the country.


Talking about clothes and grooming is devoting time to minor details that could be devoted to asking
questions like "What's your withdrawal strategy for Iraq? How do you plan to get more kids the funding they need to go to college? What's your strategy for getting the country off the dime on health care reform? Do
you support the right of gay people to get married, and if not, why not?"

Nonverbal communication may be important, but I'm afraid it's nowhere nearly as important as you'd like.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why am I strangely charmed by DaveTM but utterly disgusted by Lucky?"

Cuz Dave is succinct.

rcocean said...

Boy Althouse, you certainly are in a generous mood.

I'd ban anyone who starting talking about my "sons and cleavage". Those kind of comments give off a foul stench.
Pretty nasty stuff.

Or maybe so insane as to be acceptable, like the rantings of a looney.

Sloanasaurus said...

No wonder you have so much time to spend here...you must be an "unemployed" attorney.

I am not an attorney.

I paint and throw pots. Do you have something against that?

Luckyoldson said...

Fen,
What would you possibly know about any form of sophistication or intellect?

Get real.

Luckyoldson said...

Speaking of "leadership"...

Here's something I'd like a few of the diehard supporters of Bush to read and respond to...especially Fen, Sloan, Seven and a few others who constantly charge anyone who wants us out of Iraq as being un-American or not supportive of the military:

Troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are not getting proper medical and mental health care, the suit says, citing post-traumatic stress disorder as a particular problem.

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was accused in a major lawsuit Monday of "shameful failures" in providing medical and mental healthcare to injured servicemen and women returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 73-page suit, filed in federal court here on behalf of hundreds of thousands of veterans, is the first of its kind and seeks to dramatically transform the way the VA operates.

The suit targets what it describes as the agency's "unconscionable" backlog of 600,000 claims, the adequacy of its services and the long waits to receive mental health care, particularly for post-traumatic stress disorder, which is described as the "signature problem" of vets returning from the current fighting.

A recent report by a special Pentagon task force found that 38% of soldiers and 50% of National Guard members coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan have mental health issues, ranging from stress disorder to brain injuries. But only 27 of the VA's 1,400 hospitals around the country have in-patient post-traumatic stress disorder programs, the plaintiffs' lawyers said.

The individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, are being deprived of mental health services in the early phases of the illness, when identification and treatment are critical, the suit alleges. Left untreated, severe PTSD can lead to substance abuse, depression and suicide, the lawyers said.

"A number of veterans have committed suicide shortly after having been turned away from VA facilities either because they were told they were ineligible or because the wait was too long," the lawsuit states.

Luckyoldson said...

From Sloan's profile:

Occupation: Law

Can we assume that really means you watch lots of Law & Order?

Sir Archy said...

To Mr. Fen:

Sir,

From what I have observed in this Place, your high Opinion is not to be taken lightly.  I only hope to be worthy of such Esteem.

I think of myself not as a Troll, with the associations that word has with Germanick Legends and such, but as a Ghost, come back to haunt the Mad.

As I am the effluvia of the Brain of a Madman, dead these 200 years, I am beyond all Censure.  I am not mad myself, but my creator has set certain Actions in motion, and has filled me with Notions that may seem mad to some.  As Ghosts are drawn to Scenes of their former lives, and seek comfort in familiar Surroundings, so I have found this Theatre of Topicks so filled with Madmen as to replace, in some small Measure, the Bedlam I knew as the Familiar to one of its foremost Inmates.

I hope, also, to be able to add some Lustre to the rude and unpolished Madmen we see around us.  I mean to do this by way of Criticism, whereby they learn from one who has haunted many a Theatre, and fancies himself somethng of a Critick of Plays.

I fear I have obtruded upon your Time with too much Freedom.  Please know that I am

Your Humble & Obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Luckyoldson said...

Sir Archy...or did you mean sir suck-ass?

And how's Veronica?

Sir Archy said...

Ah, Mr. Luckyoldson, perhaps our most rude and unpolish'd Madman.

Perhaps you have never received a Compliment.  It is considered a Matter of ordinary politesse to reply in kind.  I also used the Occasion to expound on other Points, as you may read for yourself.  Replies of that nature may be used to Advantage in the Course of ordinary Business.  You may see I am expounding on simple Matters, for your Benefit, that every Gentleman should know.

I knew many a Madman in Bedlam such as you.  They seemed to have no Conceit of ordinary human intercourse.  (I realize I am opening a Field of Raillery with that antiquated Usage from my day, but my Purpose here is also to improve the Wit of our Madmen.  Crude Japes are preferred to cutting Insults.)  They struck out with flailing Arms and cursing Mouths at all Attempts to calm them.

If you wish to improve your Condition and no longer be regarded as a Madman, you should leave off constant Insults.  No better Advice can be offered, and none better received.

Pogo said...

LOS insultometer: 9
Average quality (A-F): C-

Fen said...

Hah. Well played Archy. Welcome to the blog.

Maxine Weiss said...

"Sons and cleavage" is too awkward for the Althouse and her delicate commenters.

But that's not repressive, no sir!

What goes through a Son's mind, when confronted with Mother's cleavage, on a Saturday night....

The very thought makes you all squeamish and must be DELETED IMMEDIATELY !!!

Fen said...

Maxine: "Sons and cleavage" is too awkward for the Althouse and her delicate commenters

Well, you do appear to be promoting incest, which is sick.

Shauna said...

You say that a woman ought to pay attention to how she's dressed because "she should know" the kind of message she's sending. Funny how men rarely send messages with their clothing - I've never heard anyone say "He was asking for it, with what he was wearing!"

Look at Hilary Clinton. She's been in the national eye for over fifteen years. 365 outfits a year, that's what, 5,000, 6,000 times she's had to sit down and say, "Okay, what am I wearing, and what message are people going to read into it? Are they going to say I'm being too sexual? Too feminine? Not feminine enough?" How much better a public servant would she be if she didn't have to deal with what?

You're right that every piece of clothing a woman wears sends a message - but that's NOT a good thing. And I think that by treating it as though it is, or at least by not calling out the unfair standard, you do women everywhere a disservice.

Ann Althouse said...

Shauna, no one here is promoting the "she's asking for it" idea, so don't mix that in. It doesn't matter what a woman wears -- it's never a defense to rape. The point here is that your clothes and grooming do say something about you -- whether you are a man or a woman. I write about what male politicians wear too (and so does Robin Givhan). An immense amount of time and money is spent dressing. It's not for nothing. Concern about rape doesn't require us to pretend clothes don't matter.

The only reason the sexuality of women's clothes comes up in this context is that men have absolutely no freedom to wear sexy clothes on the floor of the Senate or to a presidential debate. But imagine the uproar there would be if, say, Joe Biden wore a shirt unbuttoned to his breastbone.