Panting For Attention

by digby

You would think that after Britney Spears' well publicized problems getting in out of cars in a dress, nobody would question any public woman's choice to wear pants. No such luck:

Women have come a long way from the time when wearing a pair of pants was considered "borrowing from the boys." So it would be highly regressive to suggest that the candidate is using trousers to heighten the perception that she can be as tough as a man. And yet . . .

This is a campaign in which gender stereotypes are being challenged even as the old assumptions are proving stubborn and resilient. Voters are being asked to envision something this country has never had: a female commander in chief. And the culture is gently roiling as audiences try to color in the outline of an XX president.

Is even considering the senator's clothes a kind of chauvinistic assault? Or is it merely the intellect trying to wrangle some sort of order out of the imagination? Oh, the tumult!

It seems more like wrangling some sort of column with a looming deadline. (And the tumult of my braincells committing suicide at such rank idiocy is quite painful.)

I remember when Carole Mosely Braun was running back in 2004, there was a debate in which the first half was behind a podium and the second half was a casual townhall style where they all sat on stools. The men all cooly sat with one leg down looking like Frank Sinatra singing "One For The Road" and there was poor Carole, struggling to keep her legs together in a tight red skirt, her feet barely touching the floor. I couldn't keep my eyes off of her, squirming and uncomfortable, and I don't think anyone could concentrate on what she was saying.

I suspect Senator Clinton has had similar experiences and realized that pants are the only practical clothing for either men or women on the campaign trail. There's nothing any more calculated than that. She is a very busy woman who doesn't need to be thinking about whether her skirt is riding up when she's talking about important issues. I suspect that many women in similar situations have made the same decision.

Only in The Village would such a thing even be discussed in 2007.