Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Confidence of Authenticity

Newt Gingrich has sent an email to Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard that is destined for fame, and is going to resonate around the web for some time. In it, Gingrich says he was struck by the comments of people coming up to him in non-political venues expressing their excitement about Sarah Palin.

It comes down to one word: authenticity. Sarah Palin is the real deal; there is no spinning or myth-making to do to present her story to the public, unlike the literally unbelievable "biographies" of Biden and Obama that are so insultingly served up. Sarah Palin, by contrast, has her feet on the ground, so to speak, and has the look of one who is completely comfortable in her skin.

One's apparel, especially a woman's, is all important in the audience's discovery of who this person is. Hillary and Nancy Pelosi use pantsuits to strike the pose they calculate makes the best presentation. Sarah Palin, in a black skirt and jacket, and these fabulous open-toed Dorothy pumps threw down a gauntlet of sorts to those who think they have locked down the definition of what it means for a woman to be a power player.

I think the shoes Sarah picked for her biggest moment so far says it all, and in a way that is at once galling to the feminist sisterhood in their various brands, and thrilling to real women all over the country. Not only has she managed being a mother of five while rocketing upward through the political ranks to the top state post in Alaska, but she's still got it goin' on appearance-wise. The beauty queen in her lives on, and with a sprite-like insouciance, she sent a clear message at her national debut that she has no apologies to give for being a woman--and in fact, she likes being a woman, and always has.

This looks to me to be the real symbol of "girl power"; she has walked into committee rooms and faced powerful, connected, domineering Republican men, probably wearing shoes very much like these, and proceeded to kick butt and take names. And as Camille Paglia likes to remind us, symbols matter. Real women are cheering to see a real woman arrive at the Imperial City. She's going to take it to the Wizard in them shoes, just watch.


Shane Vander Hart said...

I hadn't noticed the shoes. Clinton and Pelosi wouldn't be caught dead in these. Which makes, I think, the fact that she wore a skirt and these shoes incredibly refreshing.

Mark Larson said...

Wonderful article!