Snopes Debunks Clinton Armani Jacket Controversy, Unintentionally Reveals Gross Sexism At Heart of Culture


CLAIM: Hillary Clinton purchased a $12,000 Giorgio Armani jacket to deliver a speech about income inequality.

FACT: Women’s bodies are treated as public property, and women in all professions and walks of life receive unsolicited judgements on our appearance as part of our everyday lives. And it is literally impossible for female public figures to get this right. Female public figures will be criticized for look frumpy, for looking expensive, for looking stylish, for looking out of date. Our bodies are treated as public property, and our appearance is relentlessly judged in a system we can’t possibly win.

Okay, no, that’s not what Snopes said. What Snopes actually said was, “Outrage over an expensive Armani jacket worn by Hillary Clinton was peppered with inaccurate details.” Details are at the link. I’m just saying, is all.

COMMENT POLICY FOR THIS POST: This post is not a place to discuss Clinton versus Sanders. It is a place to discuss the sexism of how women’s bodies are considered fair game for public commentary. Violators will be dealt will harshly. Thank you.

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Snopes Debunks Clinton Armani Jacket Controversy, Unintentionally Reveals Gross Sexism At Heart of Culture
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11 thoughts on “Snopes Debunks Clinton Armani Jacket Controversy, Unintentionally Reveals Gross Sexism At Heart of Culture

  1. 1

    One of the great things about being a guy: you can wear the same style of outfit to every formal occasion, then be buried in it. (Was Mrs. Clinton to take that option, she’d of course have gotten flamed for looking insufficiently feminine).

    Likewise, if she’d have worn something cheap she’d have gotten flamed for “pandering”.

    Another tidbit I picked up discussing this elsewhere: apparently she wears bulletproof vests to such events (as did Obama in 2008) and so in addition to looking feminine (but not too feminine), well-dressed (but not too fancy), etc. etc. she needs outfits that have room for Kevlar underneath.

  2. 2

    “Women’s bodies are treated as public property…….”

    That is what makes women more difficult to advance publicly or in any other power position. It is essential that we make it a cultural part of our society to overlook physical beauty as an essential part of the evaluation of a women’s ability to reason and to accomplish the goals she is attempting to achieve, but instead examine the way she thinks and can reason. She should be examined on her ability to solve problems and is emotionally stable, not if she is drop dead gorgeous.

  3. 3

    Outside a far-fringe fanaticism, solving “income inequality” doesn’t even mean you don’t have rich people. No Democratic politician, Sanders included, wants to completely abolish the idea of wealth.

    So even if she HAD spent $12K on a damn jacket, it wouldn’t mean anything.

  4. 4

    Also, why are they comparing her to Michelle Obama here. While I think she’s awesome, she’s not herself a politician, and really not the right comparison for Clinton as she is today…

  5. 5

    Actually, the Snopes article did have one sentence that brilliantly demolished the entire article in question: “The cost of men’s suits worn by fellow politicians didn’t appear in the article for contrast.”

    Really, that’s all Snopes needed to say. If anyone can point to a single article that has ever mentioned the cost of a suit worn by Trump, or Obama, or Bill Clinton, or any guy, I would be astonished. Something tells me they don’t get them off the rack at Sears.

  6. 7

    It matters little to me what a person is wearing when they give a political speech. What they say is much more important than what they wear.Perhaps I would be more aware (but not critical) of their state of dress if HE or SHE was naked!

  7. 8

    It isn’t only female politicians who get attention paid to how much they spend on their appearance. I remember quite clearly the discussions of how expensive John Edward’s haircuts were, and frankly, when someone is spending a thousand dollars on a haircut it really does argue they aren’t in the same cultural location as poor Americans. Similarly there were lots of discussions of how Kerry’s favorite sport was windsurfing, which sounded very rich and French.

    I think it is a general thing you will find in a lot of places where some media outlet finds something which a left wing politician spends far more on than any normal person, and then calls them on it.

    If Sanders showed up to a rally wearing a suit known to cost 12k he almost certainly would be called on it, like John Edwards was attacked for his haircuts.

    Also, I’d be surprised if more attention isn’t paid to the appearance of female politicians in general, but unambiguously there has been vastly more negative commentary on how Donald Trump looks than Hillary Clinton. Male politicians do get a lot of commentary on their appearance, ie “Bush just looks like a chimp”, “Obama’s ears make him look like a monkey,” “John Kerry totally looks like a horse,” etc.

    I do remember there was perhaps a difference with Palin and the attention to the fact she was attractive, but I’m just sort of skeptical that this difference is as significant as it generally is thought.

  8. 10

    Timothy Underwood @ #8 & 9: It happens to male politicians as well, but not to nearly the same degree. And it happens to all women — not just politicians. Any woman in public life can expect a large degree of criticism and commentary about her appearance. Hell, women in private life can expect it. It is part of the air all of us breathe every day. That’s not true for men.

  9. 11

    If you’re mentioning John Edwards and the expensive haircuts, remember that some of the criticism wasn’t just a man getting an expensive haircut.

    The attacks also involved misogyny by using allegations of a man being too feminine and not following gender role norms as a way to attack him.

    Edwards was called “pretty” and the “Breck girl” by some conservative commentators. Rush Limbaugh asked if Edwards would be our “first female President.”

    And there was also the homophobia in some conservative comments. Ann Coulter called Edwards a “faggot” in response to the haircut incident. And homophobia is often used to reinforce gender role norms.

    So … even with the John Edwards haircut story, there is still some misogyny hidden in it.

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