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Bonnie Fuller

Bonnie Fuller

Posted: October 25, 2008 11:24 AM

Stop Whining About Sarah Palin's $172,000 Style!

You can detest Sarah Palin for her politics and her pit bull persona but don't hate her for her $22,000 makeup! Or her $150,000 clothes.

I agree that these appear to be outrageous amounts for any woman to part with on her wardrobe and personal appearance, especially one purporting to be just a middle class "hockey mom" who happens to be running for the second highest office in the land.

The problem here is that there is a GIANT double standard that any woman running for political office is subjected to. That is -- she will be held to a "looks" litmus test.

From her choice of hairstyle to her daily decision about whether to wear pants versus a skirt, to her choice of heels, her looks will be dissected, analyzed and criticized.

This is something that male candidates simply NEVER have to deal with. Observers can ridicule John McCain's angry expressions during a Presidential debate or praise Obama's surprisingly well-defined pecs but do we ever hear boo about their outfits?

Admit it -- male presidential candidates can roll out of bed, throw on a dark suit, white shirt and red or blue tie and DONE! No one is staring at the cut or cloth of their suits or focusing a camera on their feet. It's a non-issue.

Not so for women! Hillary Clinton had to defend and promote her stances on every single issue 24/7, just as Barack Obama did, but she had to do it in heels and with every outfit AND so-called figure flaw subjected to scrutiny.

Piano legs, helmet hair, Crayola-color anchorwoman suits: these are all the fashion crimes that Hillary supposedly committed along her campaign route, according to the pundits who regularly criticized her. The poor woman should have been wearing a suit of armour -- not Oscar de la Renta.

No wonder Sarah Palin and the Republican stylists felt it was imperative to embark on a style image overhaul ASAP, once she was the Vice Presidential pick.

I've seen the photos and video of Sarah Palin pre-VP material and her sweats, sweaters, button-down shirts and shapeless suits would never have passed muster with the critical national political press, let alone the crowds on the campaign trail. Sarah's handlers already had the benefit of hindsight, seeing how Hillary, Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain's wardrobe choices made major news -- whether good or bad.

How hypocritical are Republicans to complain now that the Governor that they cast in the role as potential VP -- at least partially because she was camera-genic -- cost too much to play the part?

It's disingenuous to ignore the fact that today a candidate's image -- on TV and in photos -- counts in picking up or conversely losing votes.

If Sarah Palin truly looked like a frazzled, schlubby hockey mom, not only would she not inspire confidence but she couldn't have effectively pulled off calling herself "The Lipstick Pit Bull."

Lipstick implies "femininity" and attractiveness. Pit bull implies strength and ferocity. If Sarah Palin had dressed like Golda Meir in a house dress -- that image would have been a non-starter.

No, John McCain's team was well aware that they were picking a former beauty queen who if dressed up for her "VP" role in the right clothes and with the right hair and makeup, could take full advantage of her "Hotness."

And whoever her stylists were -- and I'm sure their names will come out -- they did a damn good job. Sarah has been sensational in her fitted, feminine red, white, blue and black suits, and jacket and shirt sets. Not to mention, in her variety of up and down hair does.

She has carried off an authoritative, confident but not scary/manly image. She has looked like what every working woman aspires to look like and what many men would love their wives to look like.

The stylists did their job well! And yes, it cost more than most Americans earn in a year. Nevertheless, since this is a "role" she had to dress for, the cost wasn't pork but the price of doing business just like any actress' wardrobe in a film or a TV show. By Hollywood standards--and hey America loves celebrities -- the cost of dressing and making up Sarah Palin was not a major expense.

So I say, Republicans should stand by their woman. The benefits of the Pit bull come with a price tag. Accept that.

As for the Democrats, the American people keep saying in polls that they care about real issues. Well, Sarah Palin's lack of foreign policy experience is an issue as are her divisive politics. But her wardrobe isn't worth wasting a days news cycle on!

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