This is going to be a short post, because this “issue” really doesn’t deserve much attention, but I just had to get this out.
The Daily Show was really interesting tonight (it was also apparently a re-run, so bear with me while I talk about pop-culture references that are already stale). On the show tonight (which originally aired on the fifth) they spent a good seven or eight minutes making fun of CNN anchor’s Roland Martin’s decision to wear an ascot while reporting the news. Over the course of this bit all I could think was how ridiculous this was… I mean, I get that the Daily Show is a comedy show, and I guess it was a slow news week (?) but devoting seven minutes to shaming someone’s choice of wardrobe (which likely was chosen for him) just seems silly to me, silly in the way that makes me shake my head and change the channel (or blog I guess) not in the way that makes me laugh.
You know whats even sillier though? The fact that CNN then allowed Roland to respond to Stewart’s criticisms by declaring America “The United States of Ascots” during a news show. Again, I get that there isn’t necessarily enough news to fill every second of CNN’s programming… but surely we have a better use of our time than this. I’m into fashion, even though it is very much a guilty pleasure for me… and still I can recognize that our news channels would be much better served by getting the American people information about what’s going on in our country. I mean, personally, I’d rather that five minutes be spent better outlining things like what’s in the health-care bill, or what’s going on about Arizona, or with Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, etc. than defending the glorious ascot… but maybe that’s just me.
You know what’s even sillier than that? The way real news shows and newspapers devote whole chunks of coverage to the sartorial choices of female politicians on a regular basis. In fact I’ve blogged about it before a few times: in regards to Michelle Obama’s infamous arms(1), as well as in this piece which talks about politics as a whole(2), and this once which talks about business women in general (3).
Here’s the essence of what I’ve already said (and stand by) on this topic:
Male politicians and other men of influence are rarely, if ever, criticized or lauded based on their appearance, yet women with influence (like Clinton and Palin) are.
This is wrong. Something needs to be done.
I’m not saying we need to start judging men on their appearance first, and accomplishments second; what I am saying is we need to get rid of the double standard and stop judging women, especially those who are powerful/influential on their appearance at the expense of their ideals. Having a beauty standard, regardless of what it is, is wrong and exploitative of women; all it does is cost women undue funds and attention, and hold them back from achieving all that they can achieve while leaving men, more or less, free to prove themselves with their minds and their merits. All bodies are beautiful and capable of great things – its time we start living that belief as a culture!
So now, we have slightly less of a double standard, we’ve gone from pretty much always ignoring men’s appearances in favor of their ideas, while women are constantly placed under the looking glass, to every once and awhile making fun of men too. I have to say, seeing it done to a man doesn’t make me feel any better. I mean, why the hell can’t the guy wear an ascot if he wants to? Does it somehow effect his ability to report the news to me? Oh… it doesn’t at all… then why the hell do we care?
No seriously, why the hell do we care what male or female politicians, reporters, or any leaders really are wearing… aren’t there more important things to be worrying about?