Ever since Seth MacFarlane sang that silly song about seeing actresses’ boobs and everyone got mad, I’ve been of two minds about whether it’s worth our time, as women, to keep fighting this particular battle.
One the one hand, we seem to have time-traveled back to the Mad Men era. Across the land, from Hollywood to Fargo, nostalgia for twinsets, garish lipstick and back-alley abortions is in vogue.
On the other hand, I too want to laugh at boob jokes, and of course, I want to be able to welcome a compliment from a president of the United States.
But O got himself a Saturday Night Live skit and a million blog posts last week when, besides praising her brilliance, dedication and toughness, he added of California Attorney General Kamala Harris: “She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country … it’s true … come on.”
Whoops. As the play-by-play announcers on Obama’s favorite network, ESPN, would put it: out of bounds!
He knew it, too, and shortly afterward he apologized. That pissed other people off. Because why should he apologize for saying something so nice?
It’s not like he said, “She has a really nice ass!” But the way some feminists are reacting, he might as well have.
Before we jump on O, which I am sorry to say that I am about to do, let’s remember that he gave us two really great female Supreme Court appointees who are not by any standard definition “hot.” And by saying that, I’ve just implicated myself. I can’t help it. I am hardwired to. More on that below.
I wish we were at the point where we could welcome a flattering comment from a male public figure about how a female public figure looks.
After all, what’s the first thing a woman says when she meets another woman? That’s right: “You look great.” “Love those shoes.” “Where’d you get that sweater?”
There’s a whole industry devoted to how women look, and it keeps a large swath of our city employed. Women in the U.S. spend $250 billion a year on looking good.