Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Getting my pantsuit in a wad

Suddenly, pantsuits are everywhere.

Washington Post: "To Net-roots sites such as Daily Kos, Firedoglake and Crooks and Liars, (Rep. Ellen Tauscher) is Lieberman in a pantsuit."

P.J. O'Rourke: "Hillary Clinton is Hugo Chavez in a pantsuit."

Peggy Noonan:" They think (Hillary) is a tough little termagant in a pantsuit."

Glenn Beck: "(Cindy Sheehan) is practically Gandhi in a pantsuit."

NewsMax: "It would be even more ironic if conservative news outlets helped Hillary win the White House by pretending she's suddenly morphed into Gen. Patton in a pantsuit."

Hot Air: "(Clinton is) a black hole in a pantsuit." (reader comment)

Christian Science Monitor: "To some voters, (Clinton) is a ruthless Machiavelli-in-a-pantsuit...."

The New Republic: "(Clinton) is Goliath in a pantsuit."

The Jewish World Review: "Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco? She's Ralph Nader in a pantsuit."

The list goes on. The phrase is so common that there's actually a right-wing acronym for Hillary, PIAPS, which stands for "pig in a pantsuit."

The most interesting thing is that as far as I can tell, it's used solely to describe powerful Democratic women. No describing Olympia Snowe as "A RINO in a pantsuit." No calling Condoleeza Rice "A Klingon in a pantsuit." The best I could find was Vanity Fair's James Wolcott calling Laura Bush "just another warden in a pantsuit." But that's hardly fair, considering Mrs. Bush isn't a prime example of a powerful woman.

Second, what's the motivation? Is it an attempt to imply a lack of femininity, to suggest that they are mannish or lesbian or what have you? Is it simply a way to make a cross-gender metaphor? Is there some fascination with pantsuits that I have missed?

In any case, as the list above demonstrates, the phrase has become a cheap cliche and really needs to be dropped. You may think it sounds clever, but trust me: it doesn't. It belongs on the scrap heap along with "smart as a whip", "raining cats and dogs", "Where's the beef?" and all the others.

The picture, by the way, is of Clinton meeting a 6-9 Nevada state Assemblyman, Harvey Munford.

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Blogger CapeTownDissentator said...


Nice job. A hilarious post on a trend that I hadn't noticed. While I agree that the pants suit phrases are more tired than clever, I admit that there is a slight fascination around the pants suit. With only a limited knowledge of tailoring (I need help putting in cufflinks), I just don't understand what separates the pants suit from a regular, men's suit, besides the gender of its owner.

Also, I think that pejorative references to pants suits probably entered the vernacular back in the 70's when some men needed something to throw around for a chuckle and to mask their anxiety over strong working women. Probably in the original Stepford Wives.
I was born in the 80's so I'm probably way off on this one.

2/22/2007 3:02 PM  
Anonymous USpace said...

Ya gotta love the PIAPS! She's INSANE!

if you're MAD
punish your country
- VOTE for Hillary

6/24/2007 2:12 AM  

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