Monday, June 04, 2007

Speaking of things you can't compartmentalize....

let's take The Body.

Since we are not actually brains in a vat, we are human beings with bodies, we take our bodies with us to work, where they often meet with criticism, especially if we're women.

I'm irritated when I hear mainstream advice to all women to treat their bodies in a certain way at work in order to make their male colleagues comfortable. The bOOb woman irritates me beyond belief. I'm glad she has certain rules for her own breasts. But my breasts don't necessarily need to follow her rules in terms of exactly how much padding and/or coverage will make my male coworkers happy. When you read this carefully you see that it's not about you and your breasts, it's about the male view of your breasts, hence the photo. And there is a tremendous double standard here. I can't think of a book that includes rules for penises in the workplace, including how much outline of a penis through the khakis is too much.

Along the line of thinking that women's bodies are fair game for critique in the workplace, I'm irritated by the constant critique of Hillary Clinton's body. I'm not a big Hillary fan, but I do think she has a right to bring her body to work without constant critical commentary from the media. Here are a few choice quotes from Carl Bernstein's new book on Clinton, which I'm not linking to:

“Her ankles were thick.” (p. 32)

“‘At first, she didn’t wear stockings. … Her hair was friend into an Orphan Annie perm. … There wasn’t one…feminine thing about her.’” (p. 130)

“Hillary’s weight was a regular topic of conversation, spurred by her inability to shed the few pounds that would have made her more attractive.” (p.130)

So Bernstein doesn't find her attractive. BFD. Did he devote the same amount of resources to Nixon and his appearance in All the President's Men? Hmmm...I'm searching the full manuscript text on amazon. No references to Nixon's appearance as such, ankles, ugliness, fatness, masculinity, brow ridge, baldness, hair in general, ah, here's one reference to Nixon's doctor's advice to lose weight on p. 139. Somehow that doesn't really seem to be fair treatment.*

*I'm willing to be corrected if you find that Bernstein provides an appearance commentary on Nixon.....

Via Feministing