Campbell Brown: The sexist double-standard on Palin’s wardrobe; Update: AOL Hot Seat Poll added

posted at 7:33 am on October 23, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Campbell Brown sounds off on the RNC’s shopping spree, but she does so to defend the RNC, not to bury Sarah Palin. The criticism of Palin’s clothes obviously touched a nerve with Brown, who makes the point that people scrutinize the appearance of women far more than men. Would you like Campbell Brown without makeup and in sweats?


Personally, I think Campbell would look just fine in scrubs, and it wouldn’t change the actual news at all — which is another point to be made in this kerfuffle. Why do we scrutinize the appearance of women so much more than men, especially in the public sphere? To extend Brown’s analogy, I suspect no one would notice if Wolf Blitzer owned five suits and three ties and wore them in a distinct weekly pattern, but heaven forbid a woman tried getting away on the cheap like that on TV or almost anywhere else.

The RNC isn’t going to take the risk of putting Palin in that kind of position. We can argue about the amount of money and the stores they patronized, but even that’s silly, as I wrote yesterday. Palin and the RNC aren’t doing sociological experiments in sexist double standards; they’re trying to win an election. Campbell Brown wants to win her time slot. Both Brown and Palin know that the public has certain expectations of women and their appearance that may be unfair, but neither of them want to sacrifice their careers in protest to the double standard.

Update: I’ve added the AOL Hot Seat Poll on this question:


I got to this a little late, and AOL already had 20,000 votes counted – and it was at 60% yes. Interesting; Campbell Brown seems to have gotten it right.


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As a woman I don’t feel that I’m under some sort of unfair sexist disadvantage, and I find it annoying that we are even having this discussion, as if women in general are victims of an unfair double standard.

Buy Danish on October 23, 2008 at 7:57 AM

Campbell Brown is right that there is a double standard, but in this case it isn’t about men and women, it’s about Republican and Democrat. Remember the fawning over Nancy Pelosi’s taste for Giorgio Armani? That wasn’t a liability, it was an indication that “she has style.” No conservative or Republican will ever be able to get it right, and no liberal or Democrat will ever get it wrong.

DrMagnolias on October 23, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Remember the fawning over Nancy Pelosi’s taste for Giorgio Armani? That wasn’t a liability, it was an indication that “she has style.” No conservative or Republican will ever be able to get it right, and no liberal or Democrat will ever get it wrong.

DrMagnolias on October 23, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Well put. We can’t expect this to change, just to continue to put the word out in an effort to shrink the cancer that is the MSM.

Angry Dumbo on October 23, 2008 at 1:08 PM

I also LOVE the cartoon on Lucianne today. Then again, I’m Catholic.

http://www.newsleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=AA&Date=20080930&Category=OPINION09&ArtNo=930001&Ref=PH&Params=Itemnr=13

Angry Dumbo on October 23, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Who paid for Biden’s botox?

29Victor on October 23, 2008 at 1:31 PM

Where is Scott McClellan these days?

Saltysam on October 23, 2008 at 8:46 AM

under my desk

Brass Pair on October 23, 2008 at 2:04 PM

Men are pigs and women are catty. Enough said.

Brass Pair on October 23, 2008 at 2:06 PM

I don’t see any difference between this and obsessing over the cost of a John Edwards haircut. It’s more wasteful spending by politicians that can and should be frowned upon. It’s just another indication that the “maverick” ticket isn’t really so mavericky as they would have everyone believe.

Benaiah on October 23, 2008 at 11:33 AM

You don’t see any difference? Really? That’s hard to believe when one considers Edwards paid for trans-continental travel so that his coif could be poofed just right before an intereview. By contrast, all Palin did was borrow clothing necessary to be a successful campaigner in front of a superficial media that would have nailed her to the wall for having bad fashion sense if her clothing wasn’t as stylish as metrosexauls like Obama or Biden.

highhopes on October 23, 2008 at 2:09 PM

Can we agree to stop using the word “kerfuffle”? It sounds so…I don’t know…Ned Flanders-ish.

….

flipflop on October 23, 2008 at 8:23 AM

No! More kerfuffles!

That’s a favorite word for James Taranto, who does the Wall Street Journal editorial pages Best of the Web page. He’s been waging a campaign of sorts to make the word more widespread.

tom on October 23, 2008 at 4:26 PM

Here’s my take:

Of all of the things the Left whines about, the current discussion of the $150k used to clothe Palin and her family for election appearances is an absurd choice. Is $150k a lot for clothes? Perhaps. Does Michelle Obama show up on the view wearing a $150 outfit? Sure. But for crying out loud, this is an allowance for public appearances. Palin is a middle class woman, not a millionaire like Obama. If she didn’t dress ‘properly’ she would be ripped by the press over it.

And now for some perspective.

Sure, we’d all like $150k to spend on clothes for our family. But I wonder how much Barack Obama’s trip to Hawaii costs. It is completely valid and reasonable for him to visit his sick grandmother, I’m not debating that. But he’s not flying commercial business class. How much does it cost to fuel a private jet, staff it with security and then house everyone for this personal trip? I bet it’s 10X the cost of Palin’s wardrobe budget.

And given the fact that we still don’t know the origin of tens of millions of dollars (if not hundreds of millions) in Obama contributions, and we do know how much the greek columns in Denver cost ($140k), does Team Obama really want people interested in a line item by line item comparison of the two candidates? I dont think so.

cannonball on October 23, 2008 at 4:54 PM

Let he who did not rip “man of the people” John Edwards for his $400 haircut cast the first stone.

okonkolo on October 23, 2008 at 5:00 PM

In her summary statement Campbell says that “qualifications and experience” are what we should be focusing on. Well then Campbell,

Palin has been a real mayor. Obama? Nope.
Palin has been a real governor. Obama? Nope.
Palin has taken on her own party. Obama? Nope.
Palin has advocated change. Obama? Nope.

cannonball on October 23, 2008 at 5:06 PM

Thank you for your honesty Campbell. It’s a rare quality in your industry these days.

lisalj on October 23, 2008 at 5:19 PM

This isn’t just sexism. Its sexism SOLELY AGAINST REPUBLICAN WOMEN.

Speedwagon82 on October 23, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Maria Shriver weighed in on Fashiongate at yesterday’s 2008 Women’s Conference here in L.A.

In short, she agreed with Campbell Brown.

The Ugly American on October 23, 2008 at 5:55 PM

Good for Campbell! That was a nice clip and she is right on.

USBB on October 23, 2008 at 5:55 PM

Hear, hear, Campbell!

$150k is a lot of money, BUT…clothes aren’t cheap, GOOD clothes even less so, and I daresay that the $150 dress that Michelle Obama wore on The View wasn’t one she had to go out and purchase especially for that occasion.

uncivilized on October 23, 2008 at 6:49 PM

Just imagine the commentary if Palin had worn the clothes she had in her closet in Alaska. She would have been criticized for her folksy look. Fishing gear and other Alaska appropriate attire does not translate well to the national campaign trail. Her own salary probably wouldn’t cover even a big shopping spree at JC Penney!! I think it was a good investment.

texasgirl on October 23, 2008 at 8:02 PM

Look at the pictures of Governor Palin at work in Alaska. She always had this same style, and always looked beautiful. Every picture I’ve seen.

But nobody’s personal wardrobe would be sufficient to be on the campaign trail, several stops per day, constant travel, interviews, etc. I also heard that they buy her meals, and pay for her hotel rooms. /

nyrofan on October 23, 2008 at 8:40 PM

I’m not sure it’s sexist. Stupid, but not sexist.

That gal’s got style, IMHO.

gemchick on October 23, 2008 at 8:48 PM

I’ve been irritated by the comments by pundits like Michelle Malkin, but thank goodness for Neil Cavuto. I caught the tail end of his show this evening and he was doing a great job explaining the double-standard applied to women candidates (and professionals) and defending Sarah.

Y-not on October 23, 2008 at 11:09 PM

Would you like Campbell Brown without makeup and in sweats?

Honestly? Yes.

Jim Treacher on October 23, 2008 at 11:28 PM

Listening to Glenn Beck- when Hillary’s 3 pantsuits, 3 pantsuits that is, that were being held up to see which of Hillary’s 3 pantsuits looked best with the background in Denver, those 3 pantsuits were worth a total of $18,000-that’s $6,000 per pantsuit.
And it took Glenn Beck to tell us.
WTF!!!!!

Amendment X on October 24, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Comment pages: 1 2