Friday, February 12, 2016

The Canary in the Mine

Some friends have disliked Hillary Clinton's yellow coat at the debate with Bernie Sanders last night. I did not much like that coat either, but with all due respect I think this line of criticism wanders into and reveals the anti-feminist double bind. This is a middle aged woman. The rules of dress for senior politicians are based on the standard followed by men -- dark suit, white shirt, dark or red tie. Women's clothing either imitates men (reminding us that she's not a man, implicitly qualified on those grounds for senior office), or it doesn't (ditto). That's the double bind, and none of us is immune to it. I don't remember much mockery of the clothing choices of the men in the race -- suit for the debate, jeans for the farmyard, casual for the diner, or whatever. Or implicit mockery of them for their figures. It is fashionable to suppose that the society has moved past sexism (or racism), but we haven't. I'm not accusing any of my friends here of this -- it's all of us.

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