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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Stumbled upon this article. And, it is full of stuff that interests me. Hope you will read about women and fashion and being taken seriously (or not.) Also, interesting notes on Duchess author, Amanda Foreman, and woman politician, Margaret Thatcher. – Kimberly

(excerpt from) Times on Line UK

TV ‘genius’ Gail Trimble leads the march of the bluestockings

Gail Trimble has infuriated critics by both being very intelligent and refusing to have a celebrity-style makeover

by Alexandra Frean and Helen Rumbelow / February 28, 2009

Britain has a problem: we are overproducing something that we have little idea what to do with. We can’t get rid of it, and many loathe it unless it’s disguised as something else. The product? Clever women.

This week saw the “victory” of Gail Trimble, the cleverest contestant on University Challenge. Not that you would know we were celebrating.

The reaction to the 26-year-old – who is studying for a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford – swung wildly between gross sexual insults and gross sexual invitations.

The fact that she did not dress like Paris Hilton simply added to her offence. Here was a living embodiment of that favourite female stereotype: the “bluestocking” – a clever woman unbothered by looks or fashion sense… (more…)

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I loved Aretha Franklin’s inaugural hat.  And, a news story reported it was one of the most buzzed about and blogged about items from today. My husband said it was a real “going to church hat.”

Here is what I wrote about it on my other blog, where I live-blogged the day:

Aretha Franklin was wonderful. I think by her repeating and intoning, she wanted to give the blessing of and emphasize “protect” and “let freedom ring.”

Ms. Franklin wore a beautiful and unique hat, exactly what should have been worn at an occasion like this, by the Queen of Soul. Her hat was sparkly and had a big bow, but all of it — even the bow — was in gray flannel, for the season and solemnity of the occasion.

[Later in the Democracy Now! coverage, Alice Walker notes that by including Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, in the ceremonies, President Obama has acknowledged and connected with the Divine Mother.]

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I will try to do a longer, summary post late tonight or tomorrow about the choices all the characters in this Inauguration Day wore.

Some early impressions:

Many people are noting that while the focus today will be on Barack Obama and his speech, the focus tonight – the socializing part – will be more on Michelle Obama (and her dress.)

For Inauguration Day – which includes a church service – Michelle Obama wore “a sparkling gold sheath dress with matching coat by Cuban-born American designer Isabel Toledo” (from AP story.) People are calling the dress yellow or gold-yellow. And, the color is said to symbolize hope for our country. It had an elegant, long coat. Barack Obama is dressed like any male government official, trying to look plain and authoritative in a black coat. He has on a dark suit, white shirt, and red tie.

I hate to be catty…but…I am not sure it was proper on a day like today for Jill Biden – the wife of the new Vice President – to wear shiny, high boots. Being even more catty, I did the math, and she is pretty young, younger than me. So, maybe this is her assertion of her youth and beauty!

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My prettiest tote bag. It's handmade.

Betty Wood (r) presents Kimberly with a hand-sewn tote bag

What can one woman do to carry herself, her family, and her country safely through the current economic crisis?

Each day, more and more people are starting to feel the economic crunch. For some people, it is the loss of a job. For others, it is a home in foreclosure. For others, it is a general sense of less money, and more caution related to purchases such as food, gasoline and clothing. This holiday season brought us less shopping and less things, including less new sweaters, hats and mittens for the cold months.

In addition, there is a sense of lack brought on by the wasteful wars our country is engaged in over in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, the sense of grief and compassion for the civilians in those countries, and for the victims of the blockade and war in Gaza.

How can we respond to these events? How can we help to fix these events?

My solution is to make a partly symbolic and partly meaningful shift in the culture with a new fashion trend: applying frugality and voluntary simplicity to women’s fashion. (more…)

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There is a super article in the archives over at The Philadelphia Enquirer about fashion and politics. It includes suggestions of the meaning of certain wardrobe color choices, and what those colors convey to the public. And, the article gives some specific gossip and critique about who wore what where (Was that Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Michigan) looking soooo eighties at the 2007 State of the Union speech?)

(excerpt from) The Philadelphia Enquirer
State of the attire: Powerful prefer pastels
By Elizabeth Wellington, Inquirer Fashion Writer

If it’s true that politicians use every means at their disposal to make a point, the adoption of lighter colors could signify a desire to connect with a disenchanted public, experts say.

“When people wear soft, pastel colors, the message is one of approachability,” said Leatrice Eiseman, author of Color, Messages and Meanings (Handbook Press, $39.99) and spokeswoman for the Seattle-based Pantone Color Institute.

“It’s a completely different message from the red, power tie. . . . They are saying, ‘I’m really one with you.’ The pastel colors are not so much in your face.”

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What can we learn about a politician from the clothes they wear?

How can we project a political message with the clothes we wear?

These are some questions that I will be exploring in this series, “The Fashion of Politics.” This series is designed for everyone to enjoy. It will cover: men’s political fashion; women’s political fashion; third party and independent candidates; greens and Green Party candidates; political buttons and other political accessories; and fashion-politics current events, such as guessing what Michelle Obama will wear to the Inauguration Balls. Every two or three days, there will be a new post covering topics such as: “When to wear (and when not to wear) a political button”; “What should grassroots candidates wear?”; “Can real greens wear a suit?”. Illustrations will be culled from historical examples, as well as my personal collection of activism and grassroots political experience in the Green Party. I never realized how many pictures I had of greens around the country trying to look friendly and/or professional in order to win over voters.

USA 2002

Citizen Candidates: USA 2002

As a candidate myself, and as a campaign manager for many candidates, I have thought a lot about how candidates should dress. Though, even for non-candidates, fashion can express a lot about who we are and what we believe in. A statement could be as bold and obvious as a t-shirt with a political message. Or, it could be as subtle as wearing hemp jeans, or choosing a tie that is “only blue”, instead of red. I will be sharing strategies and images of people trying to project political message through fashion. I will also present some discussions and controversies I have encountered in my many years navigating the world of fashion, politics and political campaigns.

Fashion of Rulers

Fashion of Rulers

My recent focus on fashion and politics is the result of my study of Amanda Foreman’s book (and the movie based on it) “Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.” Georgiana’s life might have turned out to be simply a contest of beauty and aesthetics with her friends of London’s aristocratic social circle, nicknamed “the Ton”. Though, Georgiana managed to blend her love for fashion and her flair for gaining attention with her desire to support the politicians and political ideas that became one of the missions of her life. Georgiana understood the power of art (more…)

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Ralph Fiennes, out of costume

Ralph Fiennes, out of costume

Painting of the 5th Duke of Devonshire

Painting of the 5th Duke of Devonshire

As a devoted fan of the real Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and as someone who enjoyed the movie “The Duchess” very much, I have definite opinions on all of the characters, and on the portrayals in the movie.

I decided that I am still a little frustrated that Ralph Fiennes portrayed William, the fifth Duke of Devonshire, in such a sympathetic light. Though, in thinking about it, at least Fiennes showed the flaws in the Duke’s character, and did not do what would have been tragic – make the Duke seem charming or especially sexually appealing, after all the Duke’s womanizing and emotional abuse of his wife.

It is also disappointing that the portrayal of the Duke is up for so many awards, when it is Georgiana who should have been (and was in some measure)  “a light burning at the center of the film”, as commentary on the DVD edition notes. Perhaps because I had read the book by Amanda Foreman, I still saw Georgiana’s light as the center of the film. Indeed, the story would probably have not been told if it were not for her flair, her fame and her fashion sense. And, contrary to some critics, I believe that Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Georgiana was wonderful. Knightley was able to portray the character and emotions in the range of an innocent young bride of 17-years-old, to an aristocratic woman having a passionate affair, to a mother and wife who has come to terms with her place in life. (more…)

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Politically, I am a third party person. So, I won’t be hyper-focusing on the new President and his wife. Though, an inauguration ball is such an interesting example of politics intersecting with fashion, that I thought it would be important to at least mention it here. Please note that I am also preparing a series of posts on the topic of politics and fashion.

(excerpt from) The Boston Herald
All eyes will be on Michelle Obama and her choice of inaugural gown
By Maria Recio / McClatchy Newspapers
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WASHINGTON – Inauguration Day will belong to President Barack Obama, but that night will be wife Michelle’s turn in the spotlight, as all eyes will be on her – and her choice of ball gown.

Throughout U.S. history, and especially in the post-World War II era, first ladies have made statements about themselves and the times they live in with their inaugural wardrobes.

“They are symbols of our country. They reflect around the world an image of our country,” said Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a historian who’s written extensively about first ladies.

more from the Boston Herald article…the internet/blog phenomena of the Women’s Wear Daily post with pictures of dresses famous designers think that Ms. Obama should choose. It is fun to flip through.

Women’s Wear Daily has created a buzz with its feature “Michelle Obama: What should she wear?” which showcases designers’ sketches for her inaugural gown done at the behest of the newspaper.

and, from the Boston Herald article…Who started Inauguration Fever, the series of balls and social events all packed into one night?

Inauguration fever as we now know it, with multiple balls, galas and celebrations, is a relatively new phenomenon. The tradition of the inaugural ball began in 1809 with first lady Dolley Madison, a skillful hostess who knew that social events could support her husband’s presidency.

NOTE: The possibly related link to Part Four below doesn’t work now. It is my fault for hitting “publish” and changing it to draft when I made a mistake. Please accept my apologies, and if you want to see the series, here is Part One. Many thanks. (Please comment. Input is highly valued!)

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A Celebration of Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire: Book, Movie and DVD

The movie, “The Duchess”, is the story of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire. Georgiana is the great-great-great-great aunt of Princess Diana. Georgiana was an English aristocrat who married at a young age, and experienced a variety of struggles in her marriage. The movie focuses on her marriage to William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire; her friend (and her husband’s mistress) Lady Elizabeth “Bess” Foster; and on the crisis point of Georgiana’s affair with Charles, second Earl Grey. The movie is based on the book Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, written by Amanda Foreman, which won a Whitbread Prize for Biography.

I enjoyed watching the movie “The Duchess”. Though, personally, I do not like movies, and I really don’t like to watch drama and conflict in art. So, there were parts of the movie–probably necessary to the story- which I will probably never be able to watch again. I am very glad that the movie has been released on a DVD version. Now, I can watch the parts of the movie I enjoy over and over again. And, the DVD also provides background and details that add to the telling of the story of Georgiana’s life.

What the DVD gave me overall: (more…)

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Please use the comments section below to add your own thoughts.

What lessons have you have learned from studying the life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire? (more…)

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