October 11, 2008

The President's Body

The subheader of this post should be "Looking At Sarah and Her Paranoid Style", but this layout doesn't do subheads, so..

Nobody ever thinks about things like "The President's Breasts" or "the President's body". That is, not until Sarah Palin.

As I stated earlier in "Feminism, Fraud and the Fisherman's Wife", when it comes to the "Sarah Palin" phenomenon, the style IS the substance. This week's events aboard the Lynchmob Express set that in stone, both in rhetoric and appearance. Back on September 7, Booth Moore in an LA Times article said (or hoped),

because she's a relative unknown, style is a lot of what we know about Palin right now. No doubt, in coming days her positions on the issues will eclipse our fascination with the brand of eyeglasses she wears. If they didn't, that would be the worst double standard of all.

Far from it, the double standard has gotten worse, with this blog contributing, sad to say. But if it's anything the past month has taught us, it's that whether they like her or or hate her, people love to be looking at some Sarah.

Looking at her style

Looking at her flag pin

Looking at her body language

Looking at her hairstyle changes

Looking at her wink

Looking at her jewelry

Looking at whether or not she's wearing her wedding ring

Looking at her lipliner

Looking at her legs

Looking at people looking at her legs

Looking at people looking at her rear end

Looking at people looking at her chest

Looking at her glasses

Looking at her mascara

Looking at her face, her neck

Looking at her body

Traditional feminists like the people at Sarah Palin Sexism Watch (no link, as I will no doubt end up on their list sometime soon) are quick to point up all this looking i.e. "objectification" as a by product of sexism and misogyny.

One would note, here, that I've deliberately left off the all-hetero-male subculture that's emerged around "looking" at absurdly bad, naked, obvious photoshops. Again, I don't have a problem with porn intellectually, but most days, the airbrushed, overproduced fantasies that make up the bulk of straight male porn just looks ridiculous to me.

In contrast to the "objectification" argument, I say, we like looking at crazy-ass Sarah Palin because she so clearly enjoys being an over-the-top exhibitionist. But the "Sarah Palin" image is changing, and with it, the entire phenomenon.

Robin Givahn is going to have to revise her ideas on SP's "unassertive fashion statement", though it's not even three weeks old, if only because her "style" has been a work in progress for the past month (at least).

Palin's style serves as evidence that a woman can step onto the national political stage without having to manipulate her wardrobe into some torturous costume calibrated to make her look authoritative but not threatening, feminine but not sexy, serious but not dour. Palin proves that a woman can wear red patent-leather shoes and still take questions on foreign policy and the economy.

The test, of course, is whether this particular gal knows the answers.

The other reason being, Sarah Palin just flat-out did not know what to wear, anywhere, before this campaign. That much is clear from her pre-campaign photos, oy. Suffice it to say, she does now.

The style shifted drastically this week, thus did the image. It's going to do so again, too, just watch. It's not a coincidence that it's doing so, post-cloister September, post-VP debate; after which she wasted no time coming out swinging against Obama on issues of judgment and character. Somebody ought to notify the sullen Karl Rove that his ruthless, violence-inducing tactics have already gone before him this week, and he's not telling the Palin/McCain ticket anything they haven't already learned from him.

Not only is The Hair making a dramatic change from what quickly became an anti-fashion icon to a generic Republican white woman who-doesn't-go-gray-but-goes-blonde, the clothes, particularly her tops, are getting trimmer and tighter.

The goal is for the milkshake to bring all the boys to the yard.

Her handlers started what seems to be a very cynical experiment with her New York City trip, which introduced us to what I label The Gray Jacket, reprised at Wisconsin's town hall meeting klan rally this week. Paired with black slacks, it's a form-fitting Nehru collared thing with large black buttons and a cloth buckle belt. The piece flatters her curves all too well.

Sorry, but no 40+ year old professional woman with that kind of body could get away with that outfit at work, without being asked to go home and change.

I would say, expect more of this to come as the election season lumbers to a close with the Palin/McCain campaign lagging. But without the signature Kennedy-era beehive, the representation of all that exotic, idiosyncratic Wasilla beauty and all that connotes, something's missing, and let's hope it's enough to affect what happens on November 4th.

Since the week ended on an extremely sour note for the campaign -- with numbers-down John McCain not only getting booed at his own lynchmob but the campaign openly denouncing the use of Willie Horton's Barack Obama's middle name -- those on the right so loudly crying "sexism!!" are going to end up using Sarah's body as a blindingly obvious votebanking tool, given it's about the only thing they have left.

Milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard, so we've been told.

She doesn't seem to give a damn, so the better part of me feels she gets what she deserves. They're pulling the same old gag that the medicine show does when the soft sell doesn't work: cut to the hard sell. It's already been reflected in Palin's manner, look for the same to be reflected in the style. She permits it to happen, and said yes to these humanity-crushing, individuality-repressing makeovers. Thus, I don't see the point in defending her as so many of these online "feminists" have taken to doing, in the name of the very sisterhood Sarah P. both shuns and appropriates to her own ends, whenever convenient.

Then again, she seems to be running her own campaign right now anyway, so wtf-ever Miss Top-of-the-Ticket. McCain's people even used identical apology language as Palin's people, after their little Mike Scott incident earlier in the week: “We do not condone this inappropriate rhetoric which distracts from the real questions of judgment, character, and experience that voters will base their decisions on this November.”

Who are the people they pay to come up with this b.s?

EDIT: Picture added.