Yesterday at something called a townterview (fun with portmanteaus!) with students and other young people in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the secretary of state was fielding some pretty boring questions until one of the two moderators decided the audience needed to get to know Clinton a little better. So he (or she, the transcripts don’t make the moderater’s gender clear), decided to ask her about what she’s got in her closet.
MODERATOR 1: Okay. Which designers do you prefer?
SECRETARY CLINTON: What designers of clothes?
MODERATOR 1: Yes.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Would you ever ask a man that question? (Laughter.) (Applause.)
MODERATOR 1: Probably not. Probably not. (Applause.)
Looks like she did think that question was a little silly. But if the moderator had been listening just a few minutes beforehand, when a female lawyer asked about how to succeed in a sexist workplace, maybe he (again, or she) would have known better.
If you are in the courtroom or you are presenting a case, it still is a fact – and this is not just in Kyrgyzstan, this is everywhere – that when a man walks into a courtroom it’s rare for someone to say, “Oh, look what he is wearing.” (Laughter.) But if you walk into a courtroom, or any young woman walks into a courtroom, people are going to notice. And that will be an additional requirement that you have to meet.”
Of course, it’s totally common knowledge that all the woman wears is Oscar de la Renta, but what we want to know is at what point in a woman’s career should it not matter what she wears? Back when she was the first lady, Clinton took a lot of flak for her penchant for pantsuits, but got some snaps for her style on occasion. We want our secretary of state to look good — professional, in control and on top of things — whether the office is held by a man or a woman. And, we suppose, as long as that’s happening, the designer is a secondary concern.
Hillary Clinton On What Designers She Wears: ‘Would You Ever Ask A Man That Question?’ [The Huffington Post]
Hillary Clinton Is Asked What Designers She Wears Moments After Making Point About Sexism [Daily Intel]
Townterview Hosted By KTR [US Dept. of State]