SARCOXIE, Mo. —
We are still such a sexist society.
Instead of focusing on what Michelle Obama and Ann Romney have to say or what causes either woman supports, we're obsessing over what they're wearing - and how much their outfits cost.
Why aren't we worried about the price tag of the suits, shirts and ties sported by President Obama and former governor Mitt Romney? I hardly think they're choosing their clothes off the rack at the local discount chain.
Something tells me neither gentleman has worn a $9.99 tie from Walmart. (I know exactly how much they run because my daughter's spent the summer as a server in a restaurant and must wear a tie to work, though she usually picks up one for $2 or $3 from the local thrift store.)
This weekend the first lady caught flak over her $6,800 jacket from American designer J. Mendel, worn to a reception at Buckingham Palace for the opening of the Olympics. Well, gosh, the Queen of England was there, too, so I hardly think we'd want Michelle Obama decked out in the latest fashion from Kmart. To be honest, if I were going to meet Queen Elizabeth, I would be tempted to cash in my retirement savings for a new outfit.
Let's take President Obama. He didn't have any public events scheduled this weekend, but Monday afternoon, he had an ambassador credentialing ceremony and then a campaign visit to New York City. What's he wearing? Where did he buy it? How much did it cost?
How does he look in it? Does it emphasize his figure faults?
People have no compunction against expressing their opinion about the first lady's appearance in her outfits.
I used to moderate comments for Politics Daily, and I dreaded the days we ran stories about Mrs. Obama. How many of the comments I deleted were generated by racism? And how many by the fact that everyone believes it's fair game to be just as catty as possible when talking about a woman, even if she's in a position of power? Especially if she's in a position of power.
Ann Romney got raked over the coals this spring when she sported a $990 t-shirt during an appearance on a morning talk show. But look at the photos: Mitt's wearing a suit, white shirt and tie. No one bothered to question the cost of his ensemble.
Even a woman running for national office comes under scrutiny. Remember the outrage when the news came out that the Republican National Committee had dropped $150,000 on a wardrobe of suits for vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin (who used to buy her clothes from an Anchorage consignment shop)? Again, no one asked what Sen. John McCain had spent on his closets (he couldn't remember how many houses he owned) full of suits.
We have a long history of criticizing (and critiquing) the wardrobes of first ladies, going back to Jackie Kennedy. When the media reported she was spending $30,000 year on clothes during her husband's 1960 presidential campaign, she said, "I couldn't spend that much even if I wore sable underwear." (Although the infamous pink suit she wore that day in Dallas was reputed to have cost $800 to $1,000 in 1963 dollars.)
The positive result of the scrutiny over Jackie's wardrobe expenses? She focused on American designers, a trend that continues to this day.
Let's quit worrying about clothes and focus on issues instead.
SARCOXIE, Mo. —
We are still such a sexist society.
Researchers tackle mystery of how some snakes can fly
Flying snakes sound like creatures from a bad B-movie, but these serpents are elegant gliders that have evolved a special skill that sets them apart. In two new studies, engineers have used simulations to try to decipher how the wingless reptile manages to remain airborne despite its lack of flight appendages.
In this tech age, how can a plane go missing?
Call 911 from the side of the road, and GPS satellites can tell dispatchers exactly where to send help. Airline passengers have access to detailed maps that show exactly where they are during their journey. Hop onto WiFi, and somehow Google knows whether you're logging on from Lima or London, and will give you detailed suggestions about what to eat.
VIDEO: Skydiver, pilot treated after midair collision
A pilot practicing take-offs and landings got tangled up with a skydiver in Polk County, Fla., but amazingly, no one was seriously hurt.
VIDEO: Chrysler orders community college to crush rare Dodge Viper
Students at a community college in Washington are fighting to save a rare Dodge Viper given to them by the Chrysler Corporation. The company now says it must be destroyed for legal reasons.
VIDEO: Penguin sweaters save birds trapped in oil spills
A wildlife group in Australia is inviting volunteers to knit sweaters for the penguin population it conserves, because it says the sweaters can actually save the lives of birds caught in oil spills.
Most deadly fraternity scraps initiation for new members
Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of the largest U.S. fraternities and the deadliest, said Friday it will ban the initiation of recruits, citing the toll that hazing has taken on its newest members.
VIDEO: A panoramic view from atop One World Trade Center
NBC's Today Show aired footage from a year-long project by TIME magazine to capture a 360-degree moving image from atop One World Trade Center, the 1,776-foot structure in New York City that is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Two in Indiana sickened after eating contaminated Skittles
Health officials say packages of Original Skittles sold at a convenience store in Richmond, Ind., were contaminated, and two people who ate from a package were hospitalized with symptoms including burning throats, cramping and diarrhea.
Frigid U.S. weather means highest power prices since '08
Freezing temperatures gripping the eastern U.S. will result in the highest electricity prices in six years for consumers in Boston, Dallas and San Francisco.
What you need to know about subtle office bullying
Sad to say, but bullying does not just exist in the schoolyard. It is alive and well in the workplace.
- More Lifestyles Headlines
- Researchers tackle mystery of how some snakes can fly