On Sunday, Deborah Howell became the Post’s first Omboobsman. Or is it Omboobswoman? Either way, Howell, the newspaper’s ombudsman, devoted her entire piece to a discussion of Hillary Clinton’s breasts.
Howell’s spotlight on Clinton’s cleavage followed a July 20 article in which fashion editor Robin Givhan described Clinton the following way:
“She was wearing a rose-colored blazer over a black top. The neckline sat low…There wasn’t an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was. Undeniable.”
Givhan went on to analyze the significance of Clinton’s cleavage. “Showing cleavage is a request to be engaged in a particular way. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman is asking to be objectified, but it does suggest a certain confidence and physical ease.”
Givhan’s boob shot caused quite a stir. Angry letters poured in to the Post and the Clinton campaign publicly denounced it.
But I think Givhan was well within her rights to zero in on Clinton’s breasts. Since her entrance on to the national stage, Clinton has been dogged by questions of femininity and sexuality. How she responds to those questions, verbally or sartorially, is significant. Our persistence in asking them is even more so.
The same goes for Bush. As Richard Goldstein pointed out in the Village Voice years ago, Bush’s flight suit during his “Mission Accomplished” speech brought a whole new meaning to the word cockpit.
The Clinton candidacy isn’t all about breasts. But it is partly. It’s about whether the country is ready for a woman president. “Hair matters,” Clinton once told an audience at Yale. So do boobs.