The Hillary Clinton Cleavage Controversy

For those interested in the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s cleavage, The ombudsman for The Washington Post has responded today. As I previously noted (only after it was a major topic of discussion in the blogosphere) this whole subject is of little significance.

For women who are offended that their real accomplishments are ignored in favor of discussion of how much cleavage they show, I am sympathetic. As I do not normally read anything from the section where this appeared, I also do not know if such condescending articles are typical for the fashion section or not.

Yes, I do hope that people who are making a big fuss about this realize this appeared in the fashion section. The magnitude of the response to the article would be much more understandable if it appeared in news coverage of Hillary Clinton. As I also stated in my earlier post, “My standards for what is trivial as opposed to a true political story are different for the fashion section, where this appeared, as opposed to the news sections.”

Deborah Howell, ombudsman for The Washington Post, writes:

Givhan won a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for criticism“for her witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism.” She writes for Style, where staffers pride themselves on being edgy (some say snarky) and provocative. Her editors give her wide latitude to comment, and she regularly ticks off readers.

Givhan said the National Desk, tuned to C-SPAN2 on July 17, alerted her to Clinton’s appearance “speaking in the Senate chamber, an extraordinarily conservative environment. The cleavage made me do a double take. It seemed so out of her stylistic character. And remember, women couldn’t wear pants on the Senate floor until 1993 — not exactly an environment where modern attire is robustly welcomed.

As I am totally unfamiliar with what is written in the fashion sections of newspapers, or what passes for edgy these days, I am not in a good position to judge whether this column really crossed the line. However, even without reading the fashion sections I feel safe that one argument which some bloggers are making does not hold up. The Washington Post has been criticized for discussing this as opposed to the real issues. I really doubt that the fashion section contains serious discussions of health care reform or Iraq, and the presence of this column does not affect the Posts‘ actual coverage of the issues. It might be argued that the bloggers themselves who have been discussing this have distracted from the real issues, but space seems limitless in the blogosphere and a post on one topic, however trivial, does not prevent discussion of issues of more substance.

Update: Clinton Finds Solution To Cleavage Controversy

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