20 July 2007

rant: Breaking News - Cleavage on Display

Have we reverted to the Victorian Age? Based upon the following email I received from NOW, one would think so.

Breaking News: Cleavage on Display

"There was cleavage on display Wednesday afternoon on C-SPAN2. It belonged to Sen. Hillary Clinton... There wasn't an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was. Undeniable," the Washington Post reported.

NEWSFLASH: Hillary Clinton has breasts.

And apparently that "news" merits coverage in the Washington Post.

In a Style section cover story on Friday, fashion "reporter" Robin Givhan notes that Hillary Clinton has taken a brazen step for a woman politician by wearing a low neckline. "Showing cleavage," says Givhan, "is a request to be engaged in a particular way. It doesn't necessarily mean that a woman is asking to be objectified, but it does suggest a certain confidence and physical ease."

Shock! Horror! A prominent woman showing confidence and physical ease!

Givhan goes on with her psychobabble: "It means that a woman is content being perceived as a sexual person in addition to being seen as someone who is intelligent, authoritative, witty and whatever else might define her personality. It also means that she feels that all those other characteristics are so apparent and undeniable, that they will not be overshadowed."

This article about the frontrunning candidate for U.S. president caused quite a stir in the NOW office this morning, eliciting reactions ranging from "You've got to be kidding!" to "What century is this?" The piece is definitely outrageous, but it's also hilarious. Absurdly hilarious. And it's an indictment of our society's lingering archaic notions of femininity, assumptions about breasts and sexuality, and fears about powerful women.

What do you think? Share with us your take on this story -- whether analysis or satire. We'll post the best ones on the web site. Send your submissions to cleavage@now.org.

Read more on media treatment of politicians including Hillary Clinton. Sign our petition to major media outlets. Send this story to your friends.

my reaction to all of this?


Basically, the Washington Post is saying that in order to be taken seriously in this world, I have to have a sex change operation. I mean, that can be the only conclusion, given that I am a woman who has breasts and that, no matter what I do, they're evident. As a future female physician, will I always be second-guessed because of them? What a horror, to think that a physician might *gasp* have breasts!

Come on, Victoria's Secret, where's your new line of cinch bands for women who want to have successful careers?

clearly, you've missed the market....

No comments:

a little disclaimer...

i'm a medical student. just a student. so please, don't take anything i say too seriously. remember that i was an english literature major as an undergrad, so there is much fiction to be found in these pages. do you think i'm telling a story about you or your illness? more likely, you're tapping into my sense of "everyman"--that is, your story resonates with what i write here because it's not so uncommon after all. need help? please, please go see your physician. <--i'm not her. yet. ;-)