Sartorial justice

Hey all, remember back in July when Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan mean-girled soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor for not dressing femme enough? It turns out those “1980s lady power broker” suits were chosen for her by “government officials.”

There is not enough desk for my forehead right now.

38 thoughts on “Sartorial justice

  1. Today Jezebel has something about Givhan givhaning on about how fashion models are thin because we’re all a bunch of fatasses. I said it there and I’ll say it there, the entire fashion industry and all it’s auxiliary businesses, including fashion columnists, can disappear for all I care.

  2. Givhan should watch her ass; “mean-girling” one of nine justices that holds the key to the next first amendment ruling when you are a journalist is just stoopid. But stoopid is pretty par for Givhan’s course relating to her myopic views already as already related infra.

  3. So of course Givhan is going to mention this, right? And talk about how she was wrong to talk about her clothes in the first place?

    Right?

    Right?

  4. That whole thing was made of fail. What was she going to wear to a job interview in front of the SENATE for the most prestigious court in the land? A bright red dress and matching strappy sandals? Jebus.

  5. Sotomayor was probably coached on what to wear by media directors who know all those funky rules for what to wear to look best for television cameras. To criticize her for not dressing feminine enough I think you’ve got to have the same television and media savvy to make smart camera-friendly suggestions that are in line with your idea of what someone should wear.

    But then, if you could do that, your job is probably being a media director for a major political operative and not writing half-assed incoherent diatribes about fashion in the wilderness of the internet. “Those who can’t” (Givhan) should have a modicum of self-awareness and either own up to their ignorance or shut the hell up.

    Now I’m going to go drool over all of Hillary Clinton’s pastel vee-knecked suit choices, those smart camera friendly pieces of femininity that were skewered so thoroughly by the male-normative political journalism grist mill. It’s almost as if the Democratic party had learned a lesson there, not that Givhan was paying attention.

  6. You know, the worst part about it was that I really thought Sotomayor nailed the “serious yet colorful” look. I don’t want my Supreme Court justices evaluated on Teh Sexy. I cannot tell you how little I want that. Can you imagine? Nino Scalia, as dressed by International Male? John Roberts, with tight Wranglers and perhaps a soft flannel shirt, a little unbuttoned? I’d go on, but my delicate lady psyche is hiding its eyes. (Thanks, spuffyduds.)

  7. Hahaha. I was hoping you’d see that.
    Especially when I also saw The Givhan had issued forth this little screed today.

    If someone remembers differently from me, at one point was she a better writer? Or does her entire Pulitzer committee just need a smack?

  8. Emily WK, this is the same chick who slammed our current Commander-in-Chief for his Dad-jeans.
    Make of that what you will …

  9. Wow, I…she can’t even write! Does she really believe that people are mad at the fashion industry because they can’t afford a $25,000 dress? I can’t read anymore. It’s making my brain get splodey.

  10. If someone remembers differently from me, at one point was she a better writer?

    I know I linked to it in the Sotomayor thread, but she has occasionally knocked one out of the park, such as when she critiqued Dick Cheney’s choice of parka and snow boots for a solemn outdoor winter ceremony at Auschwitz, at which every other world leader present — not to mention Mrs. Cheney — managed to dress appropriately for both the weather and the occasion. That was really a good piece of fashion journalism in the context of politics, since she stuck to what message Cheney’s clothes sent to the rest of the world.

    She’s has some other interesting pieces, but it’s been largely downhill since then.

  11. Wait, isn’t she going to be doing 99% of her work while wearing a shapeless black robe? What difference does it make whether she dresses feminine or not? I mean I suppose she could do it up in platform pumps and a tulip skirt when she’s not writing decisions and keeping the others in check, but who cares!

    I thought she looked nice at the hearings. Red is a great color for TV and her choice of attire seemed appropriate both for the situation and based on her performance, her comfort level as well.

    People are annoying like whoa.

  12. The “gender implication” for executive–or judicial–drag is that professional women cannot win for losing. Play up femininity or fashion and you’re weak, frivolous, stupid, and probably a slut. Stay with a power suit and you’re tacky, out of touch, gross, old, and masculine. Above yourself or reverting to type; crude or pretentious; lazy or self-absorbed. The problem here is that the people watching Sotomayor desperately wanted to see her as inadequate in some crucial way, not that she dressed inadequately.

  13. Robin Givhan is a sad, sad little person (who may also be crazy), but drawing attention to her like this just means more hits on her article and more exposure for her views, helping to ensure that the Washington Post will contiue to give her a platform from which to blather incessantly. My mother taught me that the best way to deal with people such as Ms. Givhan is to ignore them until they go away.

    P.S: I’m a guy, so maybe I’m reading this wrong, but is my impression that this is a woman who really hates other women (especially powerful women) justified?

  14. Piny, that is exactly what I was just about to say. Whatever she wears, whatever she does, there will be people around to criticize.

  15. I’m sorry, but WTF is ‘feminine enough?’ Wearing a big old vagina on your head?

    I think I just dislodged my heart trying to stifle a laugh at that so as not to disturb the other library patrons. If I was alone, I would be crying laughing right now. Not to mention that now I’m imagining Supreme Court Justices wearing vaginas instead of wigs like British barristers.

    Because you know that if you did wear a big old vagina on your head, everyone would be like EWWWWWWW VAGINA TOO MUCH FEMALE!!!!!!!!!

    That was, as I remember, the whole thrust of the initial Givhan discussion- that it’s nigh on impossible to find a common middle ground as to what is acceptable to wear without being pounced on for being too frumpy and not caring enough or being pounced on for being too provocative. If the vagina-hat wasn’t explicitly shaped like a vagina, maybe just like an elongated flower hairpiece or something, maybe it would be acceptable. JUST MAYBE.

  16. This ridiculousness just goes to show that parasites like Givhan live in some airy-fairy, vapid, gossamer world that’s good for nothing and has no connection with helpful political and social realities.

    I’d say the woman was an absolute moron for making that obvious by criticizing a person who is going to be one of the most powerful public figures in the United States on such amazingly superficial grounds. But she gets paid for it so I suppose she knows what she’s doing.

  17. Starling, I may never be able to forgive you for making me picture Scalia in International Male. My eyes, MY EYES.

    On the subject of appropriate lady work clothes, I found out from a Norwegian colleague the other day that Norwegian women virtually never wear heels in the workplace, since they are considered WAY too sexy and nightclub-ish. In her words, “it seems like you’re trying to pick up your boss.”

    On one hand, hooray for flats, but on the other — any boss who thinks i’m wearing heels to sex him up is about to get a 4-inch stacked prada heel up his ass.

  18. Not to mention that now I’m imagining Supreme Court Justices wearing vaginas instead of wigs like British barristers.

    Oh dear god, I am picturing this on ancient male British barristers and it is breaking my mind.

    , but drawing attention to her like this just means more hits on her article and more exposure for her views,

    She won a Pulitzer. We are a pretty popular blog, but I don’t think we’re gonna make or break her career.

  19. OMG Starling–your visual just made me spit out my tea from laughing. Cannot even stand it. Now I want a seksay calendar featuring all the justices. But what to do about the extra three months?

  20. Minerva: Do mine eyes deceive me? Is that Sen. John “Daddy Bailout” Ensign arguing for personal responsibility? Oh the irony, it burns.

  21. @minerva Wearing your female genitals on your head qualifies for me. Unfortunately, I’m not in charge of anything. And to prove I know the rules, I know that seeing a woman with her genitals on her head does not equal consent.

  22. If we did all wear vagina hats, there’d probably be an entire industry of vagina-hat millinery built around vagina-hat remodeling.

    Elastic wearing thin? Vulva lost its flock? Labia getting pilly? Clit getting lumpy? Pinks not so rosy? Some sagging or staining around the brim? Perhaps you just feel that the shape of your vagina hat is dated or unflattering. Perhaps you just want a trim. For a fraction of the price of an actual vagina touchup, you can re-custom your vagina hat to better fit your skull and your wardrobe. Visit our vagina-hat consultants today!

  23. IrishUp, I keep trying to think of an occasion for which a vagina portrait pendant is appropriate. I can’t think of any that don’t also involve exposing the real thing…and in that case, why bother? The original is much more beautiful and not made out of clay.

  24. “I said it there and I’ll say it there, the entire fashion industry and all it’s auxiliary businesses, including fashion columnists, can disappear for all I care.”

    Amen, Sniper. Amen. The fact that Sotamayor was judged so harshly on her goddamn CLOTHES (which have nothing AT ALL to do with how she will perform as a justice) when no male nominee EVER would have been just reinforces my belief that the double standard is alive, well, and tapdancing merrily through the mass media while sticking out its tongue at feminists. And people wonder why I start flailing and foaming when they tell me “But women have equality! Why do we still need feminists?”…

    Now, if we’re all going to be wearing vagina hats, I appoint myself official seamstress. I will use Spoonflower to make up some vagina-print fabric and make us all kick-ass vagina dresses to match our hats. We will look AWESOME when we picket Robin Givhans!
    Interesting side note: I once saw a vintage (1950s, if I recall( dress that was printed with sperm (yes, really) on Ebay. It sold for a buttload of money. I, myself, would of course rather have a dress printed with ova. Or vaginas. Whichever.

  25. IrishUp, I keep trying to think of an occasion for which a vagina portrait pendant is appropriate.

    The story on her profile page is really lovely though. It seems like making vagina portraits (in addition to heaps of feminism) is really healing and good for her.

  26. @aleks: No, I don’t want health-industry-owned hacks like John Ensign running our healthcare. I’d prefer the folks who are running the VA — which since Bill Clinton fixed it up has been at or near the top in pretty much every US healthcare quality and performance study (yes, it beats out the Mayo).

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