Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hillary Clinton Just Endorsed Reshma Saujani

New York Times: Blazing Campaign Trails In A Certain 3-Inch Heel: I found myself increasingly, and in spite of myself, wondering about her shoes..... Despite the three-inch wedge heels on her black patent leather shoes, after hours of walking, Ms. Saujani, a former hedge-fund general counsel and a successful political fund-raiser, seemed as calmly cheerful as she did at the outset of the day. .... Finally, as we returned to her office, I asked: About those shoes? .... “They’re the Kate Spade wedges,” she said, sagging slightly, as if she had only just then been reminded that she had feet. “They’re these politician-woman shoes.” ...... She had gotten the tip from someone who worked for Hillary Rodham Clinton. They are apparently something of an “it” shoe right now for women in politics: Ms. Saujani said that Kathleen M. Rice, who is running for attorney general, also wore them (a photograph on Ms. Rice’s Facebook page bears that out). The chief of staff for a prominent woman in Congress told me that she, too, religiously relied on her Kate Spade wedge heels (though she spoke on the condition of anonymity because she preferred not to be known for her brand of footwear). ...... “They’re very comfy,” said Annie Mullaly, Ms. Saujani’s finance director. “They’re like Crocs. You’ll see them everywhere once you’ve identified them.” ...... I know. We, the news media, are not supposed to ask female candidates about their hairstyle or their choice of pantsuits over skirts or their shoes. It is irrelevant. It is trivializing. It is sexist. “You would never write about Chuck Schumer’s shoes,” Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand said in a New York magazine article in response to a question about her flats. ...... But the Kate Spade wedge heels are not just one candidate’s shoes. They seem to be the shoes of a circle of younger women aspiring to power or already in it, women directly and indirectly passing on to one another ways of navigating the particular challenges of being a woman in the public eye. A woman must look put-together, but not as if she is a slave to fashion; she must look groomed, but never be spotted grooming..... “we made a bulk order,” said Ms. Mullaly: a pair for Ms. Saujani, and pairs for two campaign workers. Ms. Mullaly said she had a friend in the State Department who raced around airports and bought several pairs.... There was something distinctly next-generation about the sight of Ms. Saujani, in a red dress just above the knee, legs bare atop her three-inch wedges. Ms. Saujani’s comfort level with fashion, with showing off her own good looks, could be considered progress — the latest evolution for female candidates, who first wore versions of male drag, then graduated to the salmon or aqua skirt suits that seemed sold out of a catalog distributed exclusively to female members of Congress..... Whether the news media discuss it or not, women running for office still walk a fine line when deciding what to wear. Their shoes had better be comfortable.

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