Why Covering Nancy Pelosi’s Hot Pink Dress Isn’t Sexist

Last month, when Speaker Nancy Pelosi along with Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, first met with President Trump about funding for a border wall, I wrote an article about the burnt orange MaxMara coat Ms. Pelosi wore when she exited the White House, which had set social media aflame.

The story reached a huge audience, although not everyone was happy. One irritated reader tweeted, “might a man’s suit get This specific much ink?”

Given which I have written about President Trump’s suits, Jeb Bush’s shirtsleeves along with Marco Rubio’s shoes, my answer will be yes.

Another reader, Suzanne Mintz of Kensington, Md., wrote in a letter to the editor: “Shame on you for feeling the need to remind us which although Ms. Pelosi will be a highly accomplished politician along with fearless leader, what she will be wearing will be equally important. You owe her along with all women an apology.”

In an increasingly visual age, how you look will be part of the message you are communicating. which photo of Ms. Pelosi in an orange coat along with dark glasses will be more effective than any logo at communicating women’s relish at being on the front lines. (The director Barry Jenkins even put This specific on a sweatshirt, which he will be giving away.)

I don’t think there’s any question Ms. Pelosi picked a hot pink dress for her swearing-in both because she knew This specific might make her stand out in what was still a room full of dark suits, along with because of the symbolic nature of the occasion: a shade traditionally associated with delicate femininity had become a shade associated that has a seat of power. which’s a strategic along with savvy choice, along with to take notice of This specific will be to acknowledge the multidimensional chess game Ms. Pelosi will be playing, not to demean her.

CreditIllustration by The fresh York Times; photograph by Erin Schaff for The fresh York Times

We make instant judgments about each various other based on image all the time. This specific’s human instinct, along with part of how we decide if someone will be “likable” or “believable” or a “leader,” along with This specific’s part of the way our leaders try to influence our feelings about them.

This specific will be true for both men along with women. A not bad friend of mine, a man who will be a political crisis consultant (like Olivia Pope on “Scandal”), once told me I might not believe the amount of time he has devoted to discussing tie colors with clients (at their request) when they could have been talking about, say, a peace process.

To ignore how public figures use what they wear will be to ignore one of the ways our own understanding will be being manipulated. I consider This specific part of my job as The Times’s chief fashion critic to help readers understand how fashion will be being used to communicate, inside same way Andrew Ross Sorkin helps us understand economic policy.

Admittedly, if This specific context will be missing, which’s our mistake; if we are going to use clothes as a signpost of related substance, which connection should be clear. (which will be why we deleted our tweet which referred to Ms. Pelosi’s dress: The context was missing.)

To include fashion analysis as a part of a political article might be sexist only if we ignored the policy proposals of female politicians along with wrote solely about their clothes, or never wrote about the clothes of male politicians. Neither will be the case with our coverage.

which being said, in my experience our readers pay much less attention when we write about men along with dress. When I wrote about Tim Kaine along with his dad look, for example, during the 2016 campaign, This specific elicited a pretty low response. I have long written about tie shade, especially during debates, as well as about the Casual Friday-ization of the White House under President Barack Obama.

Granted, there will be more opportunity to write about female clothing than male clothing, because there will be more variety, although which will be part of what makes This specific interesting. along with in many ways, their broader fashion options are a boon for women, not a problem.

After years of complaining about people focusing on her clothes, for example, Hillary Clinton turned the attention on her wardrobe into an enormous asset by creating This specific a running joke. (Remember her very first “hard choices” Instagram post about her suits?) This specific defanged its pejorative power, humanized her along with gave supporters a uniform to wear as a badge of solidarity. Can you imagine a man trying to make #PantsuitNation a thing? No one might even know they were looking at anything special.

The more we recognize the role clothes play in life along with politics, the more we are all willing to talk about This specific, the more we normalize This specific, the less potential This specific has as a weapon in any situation.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on This specific, along with might welcome comments; I’ll try to respond to a selection.


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