Sunday, August 16, 2009

Power Dressing - A gentle riposte

Kalpana Sharma,in the Hindu Magazine of the 9th August,2009, says that " commenting on the dress sense and looks of women in power is only one aspect of the tendency to run down their success. She goes on to ask, " does anyone care or comment on the colour of Prime Minster Manmohan Singh's turban when he appears in public?"

Here's a collage. Just look at the photos. Can you comment on Dr. Singh's turban? It has been blue for as long as I can remember, unless of course you have seen this photograph.

Even here, you would be hard pressed to comment on Dr.Singh sartorial style. Though natty, even Rahul Gandhi's style is becoming, well, Gandhian. Try filling in a newspaper column with it. Even if you can, you still won't be able to get anyone to read it. Can you say the same about Priyanka Vadra's style. Certainly not.

If the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, comes calling to India and if newspapers don't cover her sartorial style they would,perhaps, see a drop in readership compared to other newspapers which do.

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has featured on the cover of Vogue - a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Michelle Obama was on the cover of Vogue very recently. Women are fashion conscious in a way men are usually not.They spend time and money on looking good.

Kalpana Sharma asks with reference to the comments in newspapers about Hillary Clinton's sartorial style " when the foreign minister of any other foreign country comes visiting, do we observe the clothes these gentlemen wear?"

Well, Condoleezza Rice dressed like this,sometimes.

Her predecessor Colin Powell attired well but looked like this at his best. Which Secretary of State's attire would you comment on?

Commenting on a lady politicians style is no different than commenting on a film stars style. You can write reams on Priyanka Chopra's style. Try doing the same for SRK. Your wife, mother or daughter will,in most cases, be better than attired than you, your father or your son. Women, no matter what their profession, attire well. In many cases, they even seek an approval,comment or a compliment on their style.

Commenting on Hillary Clinton style does not, in any way, diminish her capabilities or her role in global politics. Similarly,Meira Kumar's style is a welcome change from Somnath Chatterjee's missing style.

Somnath Chatterjee

Comments on her style is only accretive to her performance as the Speaker of the 15th Lok Sabha.

In the times to come, women will play an increasingly important role in public life. Their dress sense and looks will be as extensively chronicled as their work.India's most ordinarily dressed politician, Mamata Banerjee, has not been able to avoid comments on her sartorial style. If she can't no one else can.

Perhaps no one else also wants to, too.

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