It isn't my intention to start this blog off with a pity party...but if a pity party is the source of inspiration to start something like this, I guess its just as good an excuse as any. Don't worry gentle reader, in true rhetorical fashion, I plan to spend more time criticizing others than feeling sorry for myself :)
I was wondering the other day whether I'm the "type" for the city I live in. People moving to Los Angeles or New York may find the connection more obvious. In LA you should be thin and tan. In New York, you should only wear black and have a desperate caffeine addiction.
Cities aren't built in a day and their mores are equally carefully constructed.
Why then was it so surprising to me that the hub for all political maneuvering should also be so entrenched in appearance? Really, someone should slap me upside the head for that admission.
Women in politics are not as ransacked for their weight or dress. It's almost expected they project an image of Humble Homemaker Harriet, who's really participating in politics as some sort of grand undertaking to while away the time now that their children are in school.
I used to like to think I could be in politics one day, making speeches to stir hearts and sew justice. Then I realised, I wasn't "perfect" enough.
I'm not a lawyer. I have bad skin. I'm not wealthy. I used to guest on my boyfriend's college radio show and I'm sure copies of me behaving badly still circulate the Internet.
Hillary Clinton isn't perfect either. There's the Whitewater scandal, the fact that her husband was almost impeached, and of course, she's been criticized for being too "manly" which seems to intimidate a lot of male politicians.
It all started with the pantsuit, and maybe Hillary really ought to consider that one of her shinning achievements for our country--forget the fact that her health care reform plan might have really worked.
After all, if it weren't for HC, Speaker Pelosi would be forced to employ seriously less fashionable outfits and that would be the undoing of all future female leadership in our country. Case in point--Margaret Thatcher.
Have you ever seen another female PM? No, because Mile-High Hair Maggie ruined it for all of them. It's not like she had much to work with, and she was a Torie, which didn't help either. Yet, ultimately, Maggie failed in the delicate balance between form and function--consequently rendering any little girls who wanted one day to be THE Number 10, not just reside in it, to consider blue hair more pragmatic than Burberry.
Sadly, women (and Hillary) are held to a horrific double standard. If they appear too feminine, (Laura Bush), we'd never trust them with the decision-making skills to push the red button. If they look too masculine, we distrust their lack of gender conformity.
It's also convenient that most Americans turn a blind eye to the viciousness mothers can employ in the defense of their own children in PTA let alone their country--or the fact that many women in our military and police forces today are displaying tremendous bravery and dedication in the line of fire.
We'd rather think of them as behind-the-scenes samurais like Nancy Reagan...let them pull the strings, just don't tell us about it.
And yet here's Hillary, our first female candidate for President with a chance in hell, and she is already facing tremendous pressure to be considered perfect for the job.
She'll not only have to convince most democrats to vote for her, but now also the disappointed, disenfranchised republicans who want the war to end. Pull those black boot stilettos out again Hill, it's time you showed those Pentagon pansies who wears the pants in this relationship (and you'd better bring a whip, I hear they like it like that).
But go easy, because if you push it too far, the very women who would put you in office might be turned off by your disconnect with their lives, their dreams, their values. You might just end up being no better than any other man in the Oval Office.
So what makes a perfect President? A perfect woman in Washington?
Well if you're like most women my age (that is in our early to mid-20s) you have at least one roommate, and eat ramen noodles at least once a week.
You must be well-read, preferably from an Ivy League academic institution, run 5 miles a day or play tennis, and know all the intimate details of Congress.
You must have well-coiffed hair, and appropriately expensive shoes. You must have boyfriends (perish the thought you'd have a girlfriend!) and these people must be doing prestigious things in their own right--preferably with a family house in Martha's Vineyard or a modest yacht on the Chesapeake.
And the pressure to be the underlings of a powerful, perfect politician is so intense that people don't sleep and do stab each other in the back and lie about their lives if their father isn't a doctor or lawyer.
And little old me? I'm 5'9 and size 12 with perpetually wavy hair. My boyfriend is a different race than me and has no interest in working on The Hill (the Capitol that is). I don't own any shoes worth more than $40 and get the occassional adolescent break-out when I'm stressed.
I'm neither red, nor white. Neither artsy fartsy nor conservative. I'm just BlueToYou, thank goodness.