Update: I decided to bump this up after I got wind of the Ms. Magazine letter to the editor campaign regarding the Post column on Hillary’s décolletage.
You gotta be freakin’ kidding me. It’s bad enough that when a woman runs for office we hear as much or more about her wardrobe and hair than her policy proposals, and more than we’d hear about any male candidate. (John Edwards being the exception in the hair department.) But since when is it news that Hillary Clinton has breasts?
She was talking on the Senate floor about the burdensome cost of higher education. She was wearing a rose-colored blazer over a black top. The neckline sat low on her chest and had a subtle V-shape. The cleavage registered after only a quick glance. No scrunch-faced scrutiny was necessary. There wasn’t an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was. Undeniable.
It was startling to see that small acknowledgment of sexuality and femininity peeking out of the conservative — aesthetically speaking — environment of Congress. After all, it wasn’t until the early ’90s that women were even allowed to wear pants on the Senate floor. It was even more surprising to note that it was coming from Clinton, someone who has been so publicly ambivalent about style, image and the burdens of both.
…With Clinton, there was the sense that you were catching a surreptitious glimpse at something private. You were intruding — being a voyeur. 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. It also means that she feels that all those other characteristics are so apparent and undeniable, that they will not be overshadowed.
First the right-wing obsession with Bill Clinton’s penis, and now this. If I hadn’t read the byline, I might have assumed WaPo had hired Kenneth Starr as a political columnist. Can you blame me? This reads a lot like his work.
Admittedly, I’m not exactly a “breast man,” but does anyone besides me not really care? WaPo, I expected better of you. But since you’ve chosen this route, in the interest of equal treatment I await your columnists’ musings on whether John Edwards has a nice ass and the size of Obama’s… Oh, never mind.