Saturday, July 28, 2007

Boobs & Balls

I gave this item a miss when the story first hit the papers, mostly because everey other frikkin' blogger on the planet seemed to be writing about it, but also because I didn't think the story was an appropriate one in the first place and the blue-nosed tut-tutting that was going on only fed the fire.

And they call me a pervert, a sex-obsessed freak!

Anyway, you might recall that the other day, the Washington Post ran a story about a speech Hillary Clinton gave in the Senate, and focused on her "low cut" outfit which revealed some cleavage. NEWS FLASH! A WOMAN HAS YABBOS!(to give you an idea of the sexual repression involved, the only clear copy I could find was on some fascist website, who shall remain nameless). To be fair to the WaPo, the writer, Robin Givhan, is a fashion writer and to be sure, fashion and politics go hand-in-hand in Washington.

Her words belie something else, though:
There wasn't an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was. Undeniable.[...]

The cleavage, however, is an exceptional kind of flourish. After all, it's not a matter of what she's wearing but rather what's being revealed. It's tempting to say that the cleavage stirs the same kind of discomfort that might be churned up after spotting Rudy Giuliani with his shirt unbuttoned just a smidge too far. No one wants to see that. But really, it was more like catching a man with his fly unzipped. Just look away!
A rather ham-handed attempt at being faaaaaaabulously snarky fell flat on its face, and Givhan had to man the barricades for the fussilade of criticisms from the left and unintentional shrapnel from the right's brickbats tossed at Hillary's boobs.

For the record, Ms. Givhan, although you've won a Pulitzer, a better comparison would have been "the same kind of discomfort that might be churned up after spotting John Edwards' package in a pair of too-tight chinos."

I mean, really, if you're going to get disgusting about it, go the whole nine yards! Oh, it wouldn't have made it past the editor?

Then maybe the question you needed to ask was, "What's the difference between a woman's cleavage and a man's bulge?" and indeed, why is there a difference?

All you did was engage the stereotype and advance it one step further: women's bodies are to be examined carefully, clinically, while men's bodies are referred to in shibboleth. This isn't Pamela Anderson running for President (and even if it were...)! This is an intelligent, involved Senator who by all accounts has worked very hard during her tenure to get up to speed and prepare herself for the most difficult job in the history of the world: cleaning up after that huckleberry, George W. Bush.

The other side of this dust-up is the bizarre reaction from the right wing, who regularly trot out this pundit or that lunatic, dress them up real purty-like for their bohunk masses to jerk their gherkins to while keeping their TeeVees glued to Fox News, thus ensuring ratings.

After all, nothing a man likes after a long day of tamping down his sexuality by harassing the "chicks" than to have a sexual fantasy that one is his equal, sees things exactly the way a man would, showing her boobs while he drinks a beer. And it showed in the way the right wing blogosphere captured this story as a "NOT SAFE FOR WORK" moment, trying to tie Hillary's boobs into some bizarre primal suprstition that burqas protect men from raping women.