The observations of a 50 something with lots of experience in politics, government, life and learning.
Monday, April 10, 2006
SUBSTANCE VS. IMAGE
In case you didn't realize it, throwing your hat into the ring, when you're a female candidate, is the equivalent of running the gauntlet at a college mixer. OK, so I'm dating myself. No one KNOWS what a college mixer is anymore. Well, in the olden days, when men were men and women were co-eds, those of us who attended women's colleges had to go to mixers to meet the opposite sex. And often, you'd get off a bus in some misbegotten town (I live in one of those towns now and so it's doubly funny!) and in order to get to the facility where the dance was being held you literally had to walk past almost every one of the young men who were attending the event. At the less polite schools, the comments got pretty rough; it is alleged that at one school, if you went to the cafeteria, there would be a number put on your tray by the cashier which indicated the "vote" of the collective dishwashers and scoopers (I guess) about your general outward appearance. Guess what....not much has changed. I want Barney Frank to tell me that he had people telling him not to look rumpled, and Smitty Pignatelli telling me that everyone said he had to gain weight. But somehow I don't think that happened. But it turns out that there is an entire industry devoted to having women candidates "dress for success" and wear "signature pieces of jewelry" not to mention the whole botox/hair color/makeup thing. Now I did hear that General Schwarzkopf and people like that have to use botox because, one the one hand they have to have gravitas and experience, but on the other hand you don't want them to look old and haggard. So they have image consultants. But last time I looked, I wasn't invading Iraq, or even appearing on anything bigger than cable TV so why this is such an issue I really don't know. Suffice it to say that I now have two campaign suits, although I'm trying not to do the total Hillary thing with six black pants suits, and a variety of blouses. And you just might see that signature piece of jewelry. There's not much interest in my ideas on education, workforce development and customer service in government, but ask someone whether I should perm my hair, and you've got a debate going!
Posted by Diva of Demographics at 11:00 PM