Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Women and Clothes [updated]

I'm feeling so torn about hearing that the RNC spent $150,000 on clothes and such for the Palin family -- mostly for Sarah of course. There's this conversation in my head between the parts of me:

Feminist me:
"Well, of course. Barack Obama may be able to buy five identical suits and wear them until they wear out, but a woman could never get away with that. How many articles have you read about the clothes any of the men wore when Hillary's wardrobe was a constant target for late-night humor? The expectations for women's clothes are so demanding. If someone asked me to run for national office I would demand they shell out for an appropriate wardrobe. It is as legitimate a campaign expense for women as is air travel. Until the American people can accept a woman rotating the same five suits, that's just the way it is."

Ethics me:
"It appears it is actually against campaign rules. Pointing out that they broke their rules is fair game." [Update below]

Family budget keeper:
"One hundred and fifty THOUSAND dollars? Okay, so she needs campaign clothes, but does she need the most expensive clothes around? Hocky mom, just-like-the-rest-of-us my ass."

Democratic me:
"You just got to love the donkey scarf though. I mean really."

Feminist me rises again:
"It just isn't fair you know? Marilyn Frye defines oppression as being pressed between options all of which will get you condemned (I paraphrase, of course). Either she wears whatever wardrobe she had as a governor and is criticized for not looking sharp enough, showing up in the same outfits over and over, or someone has to pay for the new clothes. This happened fast, it isn't like she has been on the campaign trail for two years building up a wardrobe. There was just no good option for her."

Stunned me:
"ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FREAKING THOUSAND DOLLARS? You have got to be kidding me! The Republicans who gave to the the RNC are going to be pissed."

My inner petty child:
Quietly, somewhere deep in the back of my brain, "We're gonna wi-in. We're gonna wi-in."

Update: It might not be against the rules. If the clothes are considered property of the RNC, meaning Palin doesn't get to keep them, then it may be within the rules. Politico reports that the clothes will be donated to charity after the campaign. With that information I think my settled opinion is that the RNC can spend its campaign money any way it wants. $150,000 is a huge amount of money from my perspective, but in terms of the total amount spent on campaigns it isn't that significant.

Although I wonder what charity they will donate the clothes to? Interesting thought.


  1. I completely agree... my feminist radar was twitching a million miles a minute. I was pleased that the article I read also tossed in a discussion of John Edward's haircuts (remember those?) in a slightly lame attempt at gender parity.

    I am wondering if your true red state is one of those now in play....

  2. You make me smile! :)

  3. $150,000? I try to stay away from the Palin crap but...$150,000??? That is the cost of a HOUSE in the midwest.

  4. Deb, if you want my take on my red state you will have to eamil me privately. Can't give away info on blog that will help pin down my undisclosed location...although I will tell you that Cheney needs a shower.

  5. That's more than the cost of my Midwestern house. I'm happy to see your post because I was similarly torn about how I felt about this report.

  6. talking about spending money on clothes: just saw an episode of Wife Swap and the woman spends an average of 4,000 a week...that's 208,000 for 52 CLOTHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Hopefully "Dress for Success". We're currently doing a clothing drive for them where we work, they're a good organization.

  8. I read so many of your posts out loud to my DH!


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