Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fashion is not political news part 3 - Catty Bitch Edition

Susannah Breslin at Slate ironically asks why more people are not commenting on Caroline Kennedy's looks/wardrobe/bone structure/makeup/any other aspect of her fashion, pointing to a few articles tracing her wardrobe throughout her life, tattoos and dealing with Jackie's obsession with weight. Breslin's sarcasm in her intro is lost, however, though the article. She asks why people aren't writing about Kennedy's fashion style, then unironically, writes about Kennedy's fashion style. Nice work on bucking the system, Breslin.

However, the headline only reinforces the underlying principle that Breslin attempts to sarcastically comment on in her piece. The link on Slate's main page is really my favorite:

Yeah! Why aren't those women journalists just jumping all over a new potential female politician and her clothes? Come on, lady writers! Everyone knows women, although somewhat dazzled by the big world of politics, only want to read and write about "women's issues" like clothes.

While the ridiculousness of the headline is obvious, it subtly suggests something more about the way women interact and comment on one another.

It implies that women care about other women's fashions because we're catty and constantly judging one another. If another women enters the public eye, regardless of if she's a politician or a movie star, we care about what she looks like so we can either begrudgingly like her style or (most likely) bitch about how ugly it is. Women journalists write about fashion because we want to show other women how fugly or cute another woman is.

It's ridiculous. It's gender stereotyping and puts all women together on the lowest common denominator. Implications like these only perpetuate the idea that women are cutthroat towards each other; we're more likely to get in catfights than work together.

However, before we get too deep in this, can we step back and remind ourselves that FASHION IS NOT POLITICAL NEWS. Parts one and two.

1 comment:

Amelia said...

When I read this post title...I sighed.

When I graduate from college (and hopefully grad school) and go looking for some sort of political journalism gig, I will keep in mind that politics are only interesting (especially for women) if we focus on the clothes.