February 7, 2010

Female Washington Post reporter is impressed that Sarah Palin isn't fat.

I mean, I think it's a female reporter that I'm about to tweak, but here's the text at the WaPo blog called 44 Politics and Policy in Obama's Washington:
Sarah Palin watch: She looks trim, fit -- and brimming with energy and plans
By Ann Gerhart

It had been a while since we had seen Sarah Palin live and in person. And then she popped onto stage Saturday night at the National Tea Party convention in Nashville, and we made these observations:

1) She's lost a lot of weight, perhaps 15 pounds. She looked trim and firm, like she's hoisting the barbells or maybe chopping wood. Her chair at the head table was empty; if she had the shrimp and filet mignon served to attendees, she ate in her hotel room.

2) She wore a fitted black suit, black hose and high black platform heels. She had on three opera-length strands of pearls, two white and one multi-colored. In her lapel, a small pin with two flags -- for Israel and the United States.

3) She was animated and full of energy, so much so that she kept knocking her microphone with her hand as she made her points. Hope the Texans are ready for her when she campaigns Sunday for Gov. Rick Perry. She certainly looks like a woman who has some plans.

By Denny McAuliffe | February 7, 2010; 12:08 AM ET
So who wrote it? Ann Gerhart or Denny McAuliffe? I'm trying to decide what I think about this discussion of how Sarah Palin looks. Would a male politician get such a detailed description? I doubt it. On the other hand, a male politician wouldn't be likely to be wearing anything as detailed as "three opera-length strands of pearls, two white and one multi-colored." But a woman's necklace is no more significant than a man's tie, is it? I guess "black hose and high black platform heels" is pretty interesting. It interested me enough to screen-grab a close-up from the cool pic Glenn Reynolds took:


And I do think we'd talk about a male candidate wearing 2 flag pins. I do not like to see an American politician wearing the flag of a foreign country. I'm going to write a separate post about that.

But what about this talk of Sarah Palin's body? It's called "trim, fit" in the headline and "trim and firm" in the text of the post. There's a difference between "fit" and "firm," no? Interestingly, both words can describe both a body and a person's character. SP may be "fit" for office and "firm" in her opinions. Would we talk about a male politician that way? Would we cattily drop the info that his weight had previously been up 15 pounds? Speculates about the fitness routine — "hoisting the barbells or maybe chopping wood" — Ann/Denny seems able to peek under SP's clothes. Yes, it was a "fitted black suit," but how do they know how muscular her body is? And why do they want to share that opinion with us?

55 comments:

MarkW said...

Would we talk about a male politician that way? Would we cattily drop the info that his weight had previously been up 15 pounds?

I think so, yes. There was, I recall, quite a lot of discussion of Al Gore gaining weight and Bill Clinton also. John Kerry's penchant for lycra has been well-covered as has George Bush's fitness fanaticism, mountain-biking, and 'brush clearing'. The 'chopping wood' comment reminds me of reports of Regan on his California ranch.

It's true that a male politician's dress would not be discussed in such detail, but there's rarely much to say about that (professional color, wardrobe and hairstyle options for male professionals are pretty limited).

Expat(ish) said...

Men are lucky - with the right suit you can wear it for 10 years. Assuming you don't gain weight anyway.

Where we are really lucky is shoes: I have a pair of dress shoes that is 25 years old (15 resoles, at least and one restitch) and I can still wear them.

What you do hear is praise of female politicians attributes rather than criticism. You would NEVER hear about Hilliary's weight gain like you did Al.

-XC

PS - "I do not like to see an American politician wearing the flag of a foreign country. " I would generally agree with any other country, but I recall being told that there is almost a 10% overlap of American citizens in Israel. I would be equally unbothered by a "cross of St. George" for England in someone's lapel.

Scott said...

It's clear now that Palin watching is a contageous disease (characterized by foul-smelling mind rot) to which more and more poor souls in the chattering classes have fallen prey. I for one am at a loss to know why. For the right, she's treated like the Second Coming of Reagan. For the left, she's a latter-day Hitler.

For me, she's Paris Hilton with political chops. How amusing. Now, let's move on.

c3 said...

This isn't unique to Palin. This has been going on for awhile. However, the press itself has questioned its historical reporting of what the female candidate was wearing, or their looks etc.

So in that vein (and if one wanted to be a bit paranoid) one could suggest that the intentional reporting of Sarah Palin's looks by a supposedly "enlightened" paper suggests a "low" opinion of the subject. (i.e. she's not a serious political figure but a celebrity.)

YMMV

Robt C said...

Nothing really different here from the sartorial commentary about other female pols. I recall the hoo-ha about Hillary Clinton's "cleavage" a couple of years ago.

Earth Girl said...

I think she just dropped the weight from her last baby.

WV nosmsh: No smush now!

AllenS said...

I think Earth Girl figured it out. Ann Gerhart, not so much.

jimspice said...

"She certainly looks like a woman who has some plans..."

...yeah, scrawled on the palm of her hand.

exhelodrvr1 said...

I agree that politicians shouldn't wear two flags; at this point, though, she is not a politician. She's a political figure - different set of "rules" completely. It could come back on her negatively, though, if she does become a politician again.

Pogo said...

Quite a long description they gave. If only there were some way of actually posting photographs on the internet, then they could either discuss the clothes or discuss the speech directly.

Still a dream, I guess. Now we're left wondering why they are telling me about her appearance. It's as if, rather than straight description, there were some kind of comment they're making, sotto voce.

MadisonMan said...

I think if a male politician was wearing a strand of pearls we would definitely be talking about it.

But whether it's pant suits on Hillary or Sarah Palin's pearls, yes, the (I assume) female "journalists" seem to think it's important. Rather, the male editors do.

EDH said...

I do not like to see an American politician wearing the flag of a foreign country.

Is she a politician?

I've always thought blue jeans reveal that Palin has a very youthful female figure: not very wide in the hips or thighs. I wouldn't be surpise if that fact has fueled our friend Andrew's hysterical obstetrical speculation.

Oh, and as if by contrast...

Pogo said...

"I think she just dropped the weight from her last baby."

She was tying up the loose ends of the greatest pregnancy hoax in uterine history. I know, because I read it at The Dish.

Almost Ali said...

Name one woman who has more power and influence than Sarah Palin.

rhhardin said...

Firm, of a woman, means boobs not sagging.

Fashion note: my own newest suit dates from 1963.

master cylinder said...

The power to bring together 1000 people.
Big whoop. Beyonce? Oprah?Taylor Swift?

Firehand said...

Well, let's see:
Lost the 'after baby' weight,
Lost the stress of not being allowed to whack back at her attackers,
Has plans she's happy to be working on.
Put all that together with her usual exercise routine and the 'in condition' and 'animated' is hardly a surprise. This sounds almost like "After all the crap we dropped on her, how does she do it?

bearing said...

I would argue that a successful female political figure sends messages, quite deliberately, with the clothes she appears in.

Male politicians do this too, but they are not able to send messages that are quite as complex, due to the simplicity of male dress.

Male Examples: Appearing in shirtsleeves during a visit to a manufacturing facility. Bush in a flannel shirt while at his ranch. Choice of tie, or no tie.

Female examples: heels or flats, power suit or ultrafeminine, cleavage or no cleavage, dark conservative colors or bright colors.

Doesn't anyone remember Condi's boots?

Anyway, given that female politicians and political figures can, do, and should send messages with their clothing, it is one hundred percent rational and not sexist at all for journalists to attempt to decode the clothing, unless the appearance was involuntary (e.g. paparazzi caught them on the way to the grocery store).

And being 9 days postpartum myself, I concur that the simple explanation of having lost weight is that it took that long to take off the baby weight and, well, firm up.

Fred4Pres said...

Moose and caribou are very lean. It keeps her healthy!

rhhardin said...

I heard 15 seconds of her speech, at random on the CBS feed, and got an applause-line cliche; and paged on.

The Israeli flag pin means not allegiance to Isreal but taking no bull from Arabs.

Fred4Pres said...

Getting chased all the time by zombies like Andrew Sullivan keeps her lean.

#1 Rule, Cardio.

rhhardin said...

I appear in Bermuda shorts and white tee shirt.

In winter, they're covered by white sweat pants and white sweatshirt.

White is the universal best bicycling color for visibility.

No pearls or tie.

Almost Ali said...

By "simply" being Sarah, Palin will sweep more politicians out of office, and more candidates into office in 2010 than any mover-and-shaker in American history.

AlphaLiberal said...

What a joke! Palin referred to crib notes on her hand.

This is the leading light of the conservative movement.

Que teleprompter lame jokes..

ricpic said...

Only a woman would say that hoisting barbells and chopping wood makes another woman look fit. Because we all know that what men are looking for in a woman are wide shoulders and sculpted arms ala the first wookie.

AlphaLiberal said...

All the talk about her clothes is pretty dumb. We don't talk about dudes in terms of their clothes.

"Look at that, Bob, he's a sharp looking clothes horse who knows how to button up a shirt."

"Yes, Benny, by the crease in those slacks he's clearly ready to lead the most powerful nation ever on the face of the earth."

Pogo said...

Well, then, Alpha, you've got nothing to worry about, do you?

Of course, when you mispronounce "corpsman" when it's typed out for you, it shows something other than a reminder to focus on the 3 things you wrote down, it means you don't know what the word means.

Chip Ahoy said...

I was more impressed with Palin's hair. Plus I liked the chair. I felt a pang of regret the chair is out of scale for my own apartment. Also, her speech intonations last night wern't quite as annoying as usual. Palin was often described as LILTF (librarian).

Looking back, I was personally repulsed by Bush's Crocs® because plastic is never a good choice for footwear. Plus Barbara Pierce Bush's pearls covering if not disguising her turkey neck (granted, she was ancillary to actual politicians). Laura was ever described as the librarian she actually was.

Kerry hunting, Kerry fishing, Kerry windsurfing, Kerry cycling, Kerry Sailing, Kerry being shot from a cannon. Okay, I made up that last one. Kerry's wild-ass wife.

Edward's hair obsession. Thoroughly covered by media. Video of his ridiculous excessive primping.

The current state of McCain's pulsing, throbbing, swollen distracting left cheek.

Obama's creased pants and dazzling shined shoes, plus his pharaonic headdress, but I made up that one too.

Biden's hair. Biden's callow back spot.

Gore's beard, his ballooning, imposing, fluctuating, space-gobbling, frightening weight.

Reid's old-man odor. Maybe I'm imagining that one.

Pelosi's rictus, her botox injections, referred to continuously on Ace.

Almost Ali said...

[Palin] is the leading light of the conservative movement.

Now you're getting it.

But it's not just conservatives she's motivating, but also Democrats who now realize they were lead down the garden path... to ruin and destitution.

Pastafarian said...

Actually, Alpha, if she gave a speech that long and only referred to something as brief as crib notes on her hand, that' pretty impressive.

How's that a slam?

You disapprove because she didn't kill a tree by using paper?

edutcher said...

Scratch most "feminists" and you'll find the mother, grandmother, or the "June Cleaver" stereotypes they claim to despise and are determined to erase. Going on about weight and/or clothes is one of the ways "the girls" go after somebody they don't like. They expected a plump hausfrau for some reason (Miss Sarah has been on the national scene for at least 2 years, more, in fact), and saw the woman everyone else saw at the '08 convention.

Notice there wasn't much mention of her speech. Kell supprise, as the French say.

AlphaLiberal said...

What a joke! Palin referred to crib notes on her hand.

This is the leading light of the conservative movement.


Lots of intelligent people use notes, Al. Some of us aren't phony enough to get our info off TOTUS and claim we pulled it off the top of our heads.

Almost Ali said...

You disapprove because she didn't kill a tree by using paper?

That reminds me; before I went into the lucrative rug and goat business, I sold inflatable unisex trees in California. Made a fortune, too.

former law student said...

Would a male politician get such a detailed description?

This is the closest thing I could find. Bill R. wore no pearls, apparently -- likely they would have been chronicled if so. In my experience, women do seem interested in what women are wearing even if they don't particularly care about what men wear. (A woman's exclamation "Wow, what cute shoes" before the theater literally made the heads of every woman in the vicinity turn to see those cute shoes.):

LAS VEGAS — You would have to look hard these days for signs of "the unmade bed," as Bill Richardson has been described time and again through the years.
The disheveled man who once removed his navy blazer and hung it carelessly over the back of a chair while interviewing a job candidate. The interview done, Richardson put on his coat and stalked out -- oblivious to the dusty footprints he'd tracked on his sleeve while pacing.

Now he's hospital-cornered perfection. The shimmering tan. Carefully coifed hair. Thirty-pound-trimmer frame.


http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/2007-10-19-493199192_x.htm

former law student said...

Notice there wasn't much mention of her speech.

In a four paragraph blog post? Our gracious hostess did not mention Palin's speech either. Does that make Althouse equally snarkworthy?

ironrailsironweights said...

There's only one real question:
Is she shaved?

Peter

Ben (The Tiger in Exile) said...

Hey, don't knock the notes on hand -- I spent many a year writing stuff on my hand that I didn't want to forget. Phone numbers, addresses, etc.

It's very convenient -- it stays around, and then once you've done what you needed to do, lick, rub, and it's gone.

Kinda gross, and that's why I didn't do it past, say, freshman year of college.

But darned useful.

Ralph L said...

The current state of McCain's pulsing, throbbing, swollen distracting left cheek.
That's where his melanoma was, so it's significant.

Peano said...

Ann said: "But what about this talk of Sarah Palin's body? It's called 'trim, fit' in the headline and 'trim and firm' in ... [etc., etc., etc.]."

Why do you ruminate on this? I suspect there's less in the "fit" and "firm" observations than there is in your preoccupation with them.

knox said...

Of course, when you mispronounce "corpsman" when it's typed out for you, it shows something other than a reminder to focus on the 3 things you wrote down, it means you don't know what the word means.

Yeah. "Corpseman." Yikes.

It's not just a mispronunciation, which Bush was often guilty of. For a president, a commander-in-chief, not to be familiar with that term?

Really, really dumb. Ignorant at best.

Alpha, your guy's stupid. They're going to have to start writing things phonetically on the TOTUS.

kentuckyliz said...

Hillary is too old and lumpy and cankles and wrinkles. Even El Rushbo goes on about not wanting to watch her age in office.

Sarah is thin, therefore she is good female politician material. According to your recently blogged research.

She's so purdy. I'd watch her age. She'd do it well. I'd watch her rot in the grave. She's that purdy.

Re her shape, she's a runner, remember? One of the major newsmags posted her Running World photos pretending to cover her with seriousness and due respect.

Blue@9 said...

Her physical shape adds to her mystique and popularity. How many female politicians have athletic and trim figures? Most politicians are in their 40s or older, usually on the physical decline. She's pretty smokin' and she knows to use it to her advantage.

kathleen said...

I guess I'm old fashioned but I think those boots are kind of inappropriate. it's hard to take someone seriously as a politician in boots that sexy. and if she even considers a run for office she should be in politician drag already.

Alex said...

One thing you have to say about our Conservababes - they are fit, tight and I mean TIGHT in all the right places if ya know what I mean. *wink, nod*

JAL said...

Male Examples: Appearing in shirtsleeves during a visit to a manufacturing facility. Bush in a flannel shirt while at his ranch. Choice of tie, or no tie.

Male Example: Addressing the nation on the Christmas Day terrorist attack in an airplane over the US 3 days after it happened behind a podium with the presidential seal, in front of the American and Hawai'ian flags wearing an open collared shirt, jacket, and no tie.

Did that make a statement?

c3 said...

Name one woman who has more power and influence than Sarah Palin.
My wife!

wv: palinsti "What all the guys are wearing this year"

BJM said...

The more her detractors, political opponents and Big Media criticize Palin the more I begin to wonder if any of them remember the term rope-a-dope and how that worked out for Frazier and Foreman.

traditionalguy said...

Things sure have changed since six months ago. The Jeremy types here were offering a large donation to help with the Republicans destroying themselves by nominating Palin against the Obama Machine in 2012. Now they are stunned by her success and miserable over the burning wreck they once called The Unbeatable Obama. Can any liberal admit that Scot Brown has replaced Ted Kennedy, easily?

amba said...

Would we cattily drop the info that his weight had previously been up 15 pounds?

Two words: Mike Huckabee.

But then, he asked for it.

Der Hahn said...
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Der Hahn said...
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Penny said...

I was watching a few of the Sunday morning news shows, and there was a marked difference today. Usually there are three or four liberal voices and one conservative voice on the panels. On both the shows I watched, there was only one person defending Obama today, with the other two or three liberals talking about their concerns about how Obama was handling the economy and national security.

That's a MAJOR pattern shift.

Der Hahn said...

AlphaLiberal said...
All the talk about her clothes is pretty dumb. We don't talk about dudes in terms of their clothes.

"Look at that, Bob, he's a sharp looking clothes horse who knows how to button up a shirt."

"Yes, Benny, by the crease in those slacks he's clearly ready to lead the most powerful nation ever on the face of the earth."
2/7/10 9:48 AM



“I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” In the fall of 2006, two days after Obama’s The Audacity of Hope hit bookstores, [David] Brooks published a glowing Times column. The headline was “Run, Barack, Run.”

Todd McCalla said...

Sarah Palin got a nice one hundred thousand dollars to speak at the tea party event in Nashville. We saw her having dinner at a Cool Springs restaurant, surrounded by her big donors and security. She seems like a nice person but I just don't think she should have quit as governor of Alaska.

John said...

I think it's appropriate, too. The reporter is probably assuming that Palin's weight fluctuates enough to be something of a barometer of what's going on in her life. She also wears fitted clothing, unlike most men in her position. With Clinton, certainly when she was First Lady, more attention was paid to her hair than her weight.

Metternich said...

In Israel it's pretty common to find people with the dual-flag pin. It doesn't seem to bother anybody. It's a sign of solidarity with the USA. But I haven't noticed any Israeli politicians wear it.