An exchange on Sarah Palin, female flesh, and politics

(Note: see my below exchange with Paul K. in which I resolve, at least to my own satisfaction, the mystery of boob-gate.)

Andrea C. writes:

Here is one news report about Palin’s breast size along with some other photos:

Notice that the “report” is about the fact that “some are noticing and speculating” based on photos of her at Belmont—that’s all.

Do you still think that she probably had breast surgery? [LA replies: I never said that I thought she had implants. I said that the photo made it look as though she had implants and gave rise to the reasonable question whether she had had them.]

I don’t believe she did. I do not believe that she took time out of her life to go under a knife to get big(ger) boobs, take the risks of frivolous surgery, and then heal, etc. And more importantly, these pragmatics aside, I don’t believe she would ever want this. [LA replies: I would tend to agree with you. My reaction was based purely on the photograph. For her actually to have had implants would be jumping the shark. However, I considered it a possibility that she had jumped the shark.]

I believe the implant stories are another attempt by her enemies to throw dirt at her that they hope will stick. Just another weapon to use against her. [LA replies: I repeat that there are no “implant stories.” No news agency or blogger has said, “Sources close to Sarah Palin inform us that she had implants.” All that people have said is that she looks as though she had implants.It is not people’s fault that they have a reasonable reaction to a photo. This is a separate question from the vile hatred from the left to which she is continually subjected, on this as on other issues.]

If I’m not mistaken, you believe that the ridiculousness of this kind of news, counter-news, accusation, banter, exposure disqualifies Palin and virtually all women from public life? [LA replies: I don’t know what you mean. When have I ever suggested anything like that? What I have said, clearly and repeatedly, is that given women’s natural focus on the personal and the emotional and their lack of interest in impersonal things as compared to men, women as a general matter are not suited to high positions of leadership, and therefore a well-ordered society would not encourage women to enter politics or would positively bar them from doing so. I’m not proposing any law along those lines in our current circumstances. I am saying as an observation and a fact that the more influential women become in public life, the sillier and weaker our country and every Western country becomes. ]

I want to see where this all goes, not just this story, but the Palin saga. I’m still very impressed with Sarah Palin—they just can’t keep her down—she is indomitably cheerful, she must have a spine of steel. And I know this sounds cliché, but with her it’s true, she is so real (in more ways than one, apparently … ), and hence not perfect. And as for her beauty … so many beautiful women saw themselves in the mirror once-upon-a-time and never got over it, and it somehow marred their life and personality. Not so with Sarah Palin. Her beauty is fully incorporated in a complete life and personality, it even seems submersed b/c it is so incorporated—and what a life and personality … ! And because she seems to be a very good person (from what we can gather about her in the public sphere and news), her beauty only makes her more attractive, she is all-around a pleasant person. For me, I like what she’s doing AND she cheers me up, a bright spot in the world today.

While I’m on the subject, I’ll tell you that I have similar beliefs about the Megyn Kelly / Ann Coulter news segment you wrote about. Their beauty is also very great, obviously—and it’s all there, the hair, the necklines, so on and so on, etc. I think it would be depressing to see them with tied-back hair and austere clothing or … not to see them at all … [LA replies: This is false thinking. To say that woman newsreaders and commentators should not be wearing revealing clothes and long flowing locks on a political program doesn’t mean they should wear austere clothing and tied back hair; you’re presenting a false opposite to what I said. Women can be feminine and attractive, but still be covered up. I have nothing against exposed female flesh, if it’s not in inappropriate circumstances and if it’s not to gross excess; I like it. But exposed female flesh and serious discussions of politics are mutually exclusive . That’s what I’m saying.] Yes, we think about their beauty while watching them and listening but I think it’s joyful. Ann Coulter is brilliant and very funny and she’s gesturing with her beautiful hands and yes, touching her hair and she’s very pretty and so on—but the beauty is not a front or a weapon, it’s fully incorporated in a person who is worthwhile to listen to. [LA replies: excuse me, but Coulter’s constant college-girl-type sweeping back of her hair is an out-of-control self-centered gesture and is a perfect example of the inappropriate intrusion of female narcissism into politics.] Megyn Kelly is always so earnest, wants to get to the bottom of things, she’s bright, and … she’s adorable! … it’s a winning combination. And the news segment was very good, very appropriate for a daytime news show.

Remember the smiling Sophia Loren at the Cannes film festival you wrote about a couple years ago? Andrea

- end of initial entry -

Paul K. writes:

With regard to your discussion, “Palin says no breast implants,” I notice Ann Althouse weighed in on the rumors of Palin’s implants and had the same suspicion I did—that Palin was wearing a foam-padded bra such as many women wear under a knit shirt for greater concealment.

Now, speaking of breasts and bloggers, what amuses me—aside from the endless obsession with Sarah Palin, specifically, and with the physical aspects of female politicians, generally—is the low level of knowledge of breasts on the part of the Boobgate bloggers. They didn’t seem to realize that different bras and different kinds of shirts and jackets affect the way breasts look. A woman can draw attention to her breasts or downplay them. In professional settings and for political appearances, women tend to wear jackets. Even when jackets are fitted through the midsection, they flatten and disguise the curve of the chest. That’s the point: to blunt the point.

By contrast, the contour of the breasts is accentuated by a knit top—especially if it’s thin, clingy, and light-colored, like the one Sarah Palin wore to the Belmont Stakes. And when a woman wears such a shirt, it’s particularly easy to perceive the existence of nipples. Everyone knows they are in there, but reasonably modest women—like Sarah Palin—try to avoid the nipple protrusion of the sort you can see in this photo of that woman who’s suing her ex-employer for objecting to the way she dressed for work. The way to do that—and I laugh at people who write about breasts but don’t know this!—is to wear a bra with a reasonably thick layer of foam padding.

I feel sorry for the bloggers who know so little about breasts that when they saw that Palin photograph, their first explanation was surgery. Before you think scalpel, think Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation is most likely. Palin was wearing a T-shirt and a T-shirt bra. Now, go, get a life, and some real experience of your own in this fleshly world, you blogger losers.

Admittedly, not the most important thing going on, but our curiosity is piqued on many levels.

LA replies:

I disagree. Pace (with due respect to) Althouse, I am aware of the way different kinds of clothing can make a woman’s bust seem bigger or smaller or make the shape seem different. I also know there’s a limit to how much a particular top such as a thin or clingy knit top or even a push-up bra can make breasts seem bigger. And none of them could make Palin’s chest seem, as it does in that photo, so much larger than it ordinarily appears. However, Althouse has inadvertently pointed the way to an explanation that works: if the bra was padded, designed to make the breasts seem bigger, that could do it. In other words, Palin was not just wearing, as Althouse suggests, a bra that was padded in the front to block the protrusion of the nipple; she was wearing a bra that was padded all around, making the entire breasts seem larger. In short, she was wearing falsies. That’s my alternative theory to the implant theory.

LA continues:

If any reader is offended by this discussion or thinks it’s inappropriate or trivial or debasing, then don’t read the entry and don’t write to me complaining about it. I will repeat what I’ve said many times: you cannot stop people from being interested in what they’re interested in, so don’t bother trying. If you don’t share that interest, fine. But don’t tell other people that they shouldn’t be interested in what they’ve interested in. The worst argument in the world, and one of the most frequently heard in political discussions, is, “You shouldn’t be talking about subject X, you should be talking about subject Y.”

Also, the subtitle of this blog is: “The passing scene and what it’s about viewed from the traditionalist politically incorrect right.” The question of Palin’s suddenly larger-looking breasts is part of the passing scene, and we’re discussing it. At VFR we cover the gamut, from the biggest issues to the smallest, so to speak. They’re all part of the picture.

Paul K. writes:

You wrote: “At VFR we cover the gamut, from the biggest issues to the smallest, so to speak. They’re all part of the picture.”

I think that one of things that makes VFR so interesting is the eclectic topics you choose to comment on. To focus constantly on issues of existential import is exhausting and out of balance with the way we lead our lives. Even people in concentration camps made small talk.

LA continues:

Also, the Althouse type argument is inevitably hypocritical. She’s telling people they’re silly for discussing this topic. But what is she doing? Discussing the same topic. So somehow when other people discuss it, they’re silly, but when she discusses it, she’s wise and superior.

Gintas writes:

“At VFR we cover the gamut, from the biggest issues to the smallest, so to speak. They’re all part of the picture.”

Nice play on words there, in a thread about Palin’s breasts from a picture.

June 15

Paul T. writes:

I just wish she could get a brain implant….

I’m afraid she always reminds me of Eddie Cantor’s line: “She thinks Daylight Savings is a bank.”

Andrea C. replies to LA:
I do agree with you about Ann Coulter’s excessive hair fussing. It’s annoying. My analysis of that (to get really into the weeds here) is her hair is very straight and fine and it’s always obvious that she just fluffed it and tried to put a “bend” in it for texture right before she goes on camera. But it doesn’t last more that 10 seconds and then she starts trying to push it back to the way it was. She even goes so far as to throw the side of it over her head. That is silly looking, isn’t it? It strikes me as insecurity. Is that a form of narcissism? There’s nothing wrong with the straight hair, just leave it alone! She’s been wearing very glam false eyelashes too, that are all wrong.

I don’t know if women’s main concerns are personal, men’s impersonal. I think we all have all of those qualities, allowing for more and less w/ respect to individual personality. The more we are freed from nature, as we are now to the greatest extent ever in our modern society, the less concerns that spring from pure nature (our bodies) dictate our behavior and concerns. This is a tower of Babel or it is freedom to choose the good (or not). I think it’s all of the above. And it’s not permanent—if another great war comes … we will of necessity become a more well-ordered society or perish. But it will be dreadful.

Has the emergence of influential women in Western Society filled a vacuum? Because, why has this happened? Do we in greater numbers prefer women? I know I am very tired of female spokespeople all the time for law enforcement, or other institutions that want male strength and leadership. A couple of weeks ago, talking about Janice Brewer, Rush said “look at where the gonads are: Janice Brewer, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann.” And the Tea Partiers are predominantly women. Have the men been pushed out or have they decamped?

Oh well, bye for now.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 14, 2010 05:53 PM | Send

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