Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Gloria Steinem says Women are Never Front Runners. I say it's because their uniforms are Inferior.

Gloria Steinem's January 8 New York Times Op Ed piece, Women are Never Front Runners, is, well, let's see, where shall I start - totally on target, correct, depressing, obvious, startling, shocking, predictable . . . shall I continue? It reminds me of an old riddle. I can't remember exactly how it went but the essence is something like this: A son and his surgeon father are in a dreadful car accident. The father is killed. The son's parent operates on him to save his life. How can it be? Ummmm. It can't be or the father wasn't really killed or . . . The surprise answer is the surgeon is his Mother! I'm not much of a joke/riddle teller and I'm sure it must have been more clever than this, but you get the point.

Gloria Steinem makes astute, well-conceived, irrefutable points but what can we possibly do with the information? I say we change uniforms.

Uniforms - How incredibly powerful they can be. I remember fondly becoming a soccer referee. I was 41 years old. I took the course, passed the certification tests with flying colors. I was to be in charge of a field filled with 22 people running about, each with their own agenda, opponents with competing objectives and an assortment of potentially rabble rousing bystanders. I was nervous before my first game but everyone said that the uniform would give me confidence. Donning black referee’s shirt and shorts, whistle hanging around my neck was half of the job. Put it on, step to the middle of the field and my credibility as the authority and arbiter of all subsequent acts on the field was established. Anyone deeming to challenge me would have to take the leap of disobeying authority. I was a paid dictator.

Operating room scrubs; doctor’s white coat; Starbuck's apron; Kinko's shirt; bellman’s suit and cap; dark light-wool pin-striped suit, starched white shirt and silk tie, polished leather dress shoes of the corporate executive; and for women in the same business environment, dresses or skirts and high-heeled shoes - showing a more shapely calf while simultaneously rendering women more vulnerable, feet not only figuratively, but literally, less firmly placed on the ground. Go to K Street and watch the businesspeople walking down the sidewalk, groups of two and three on their way to lunch - men in leather-soled, flat shoes, women walking double-time at their side, teetering on little perches. Is it any wonder that women are never front runners? How can they run? Their uniforms are inferior.

How about we try this. Let's switch uniforms. Men can wear plunging necklines, control-top pantyhose, form-fitting dresses and high heels. And their legs ought to be shaved or, better yet, waxed. I wanna be able to get a good look at that well-turned ankle and shapely calf.

1 comment:

sharryb said...

Right on! I once read a powerful story entitled "Visit to the Footbinder" that took place in China a few decades ago. Horrific. So why are we still playing along?