Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,22 January 2013

The Snap:

Want gender equality to finally be a reality? Start giving men more interesting things to wear. Let’s bring back the cravat and cape. Maybe require men to don a variety of dapper derby hats. Let’s start putting some balls into ball gowns. Perhaps then we would hear as much about what serious and important men wear as we do of their female counterparts and stop judging women based on their haircuts and fashion sense.

The Download:

On 18 January, FLOTUS Michelle Obama talked about the Obama Administration’s decision to turn the grassroots power of the 2012 democratic presidential campaign into a nonprofit social welfare group, Organizing for Action. The group would go from being a partisan body with political purposes to one designed to get people to work with each other, regardless of party affiliation, to find solutions for some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation. What did entertainment reporters and journalists alike drone on about? Michelle Obama’s bangin’ bangs.

What would this world be like if, as the pundits focused on Secretary Clinton’s pantsuits and scrunchies rather than her accomplishments in diplomacy, journalists breathlessly described Colin Powell’s choice of designers rather than his remarkable feats as soldier-statesman? Imagine the approximate 337 award shows we slog through annually if actors were lampooned as much as actresses for their choice of wardrobe, and if actresses’ talents were taken as seriously as their cleavage or lack thereof.

Since I doubt that our 24-hour noose cycle, paparazzi, or bajillion dollar entertainment industry will ever stop reducing women to what they wear, the answer is clear. Men need more accessories and types of apparel. Right now, men don’t give reporters a lot to focus on. I mean, a suit is pretty much a suit and a tuxedo is pretty much a tuxedo. Even when men (and I’m looking at you, Russell Brand) wear something totally goofy, it’s usually a minor story without much staying power whereas time after time, we hear more about a woman’s appearance than we do of her substance.

In his brief yet powerful second inaugural address, President Obama said, “For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.” Although I completely agree, I would argue that unequal pay merely reflects society’s prevailing ideas about the worth of women. Until this view changes, I fear the fight for equal pay for equal work will continue on at a snail-like pace. If that’s going to be the case, I would at least like to be entertained by hearing pundits wax rhapsodic on Paul Ryan’s daring use of camouflage hip-waders at a Congressional soiree honoring catfish noodling and John Kerry’s eye-catching ensemble featuring fabulous feathers.

Hat Tips:

Huffington PostNPRTimePolicymicAcademy of AchievementGQInternational Business Times, Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


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