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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

 

Meghan Markle, the divorcee from Los Angeles now engaged to Britain’s Prince Harry, is a lovely woman. But though the actress has ennobled herself as an advocate for women, she lives in the public eye as a character on “Suits.”

That’s unfortunate, because the cheesy TV series could serve as a primer on how women undermine their careers by the way they dress. Oh, there are other forces working against them in male-dominated industries, but how women present themselves should be an easy hurdle to cross.

“Suits” refers to the traditional business armor worn by the go-getters at a fictional high-style law firm. It’s about immaculate tailoring that hides body parts and, with it, physical imperfections. Suits speak of power.

In “Suits,” every man wears a suit to the office, but the women rarely do. They’re usually poured into tight-fitting dresses or, like Markle’s character, in snug blouses with buttons straining to hold it all together. Every female rear end is accentuated for male inspection.

There’s a gender issue in “Suits,” and it isn’t sexual harassment. By the way, sexual harassment is inexcusable no matter what the woman is wearing.

The issue is gravitas, or lack of it on the part of the women. The female characters are smart and tough, but their dress undermines these qualities. Suits let the men gracefully go gray, put on pounds and celebrate their 45th birthdays. The women without them disappear.

The men get the macho lines — “Start making us some real money, or go back to being a lawyer” — while the women tend to converse with kittenish innuendo. The contrast holds together because the women are dressed for submission.

That women sexualize themselves against their professional interests can be largely blamed on vendors of fashion. The last thing the industry wants is for working women to keep five good suits in their closet and call it a day — as many male executives do. Women headed that way in the 1970s and ’80s, but they had to be stopped. That’s why fashion executives continue to mock women’s suits as frumpy.

In a recent article titled “Shake Up Your Work Look,” Alison Loehnis, the head of Net-a-Porter, bashes pantsuits for women. In the typical language of phony empowerment, she urges women to “feel secure in making bold statements.”

“These Gianvito Rossi sandals are my perfect shoes,” Loehnis says of an $815 pair with 4-inch heels and an ankle strap suggestive of bondage. This was in The Wall Street Journal, of all places.

In “Suits,” the men stride across the office in flat footwear. The women mince in spike heels. Forget about even 2-inchers. No, the women in “Suits” must wear 3- or 4-inch stilettos.

Some bizarro manipulation of female opinion has turned spike heels into a symbol of power. Actually, they speak of immobility. They do make the butt look larger — also the breasts by forcing the back to arch. If that’s what a woman wants, there she has it. If she seeks to be noted for her smarts, she might reconsider.

The dresses on “Suits” are not trashy. They tend toward expensive European labels and fine fabrics. Only the tight fit makes them vulgar. Some of the sleeveless shift dresses worn in “Suits” would look fine at an outdoor cocktail party. But consider: How many naked male biceps have you seen in the executive suite?

As a royal family member in the making, Markle is presenting herself in a chic but dignified manner with shoes one can walk in. May she become an example to fashion victims everywhere. The female royals know all about tailored suits.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com.To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

 

If Boss Trump is headed for defeat, he's getting his revenge early. His revenge upon his deluded supporters and the people they love, that is. Trump's re-election campaign now consists mainly of what epidemiologists call "super-spreader" events: large-scale rallies of unmasked, non-socially distanced Trumpists yelling in each other's faces while the Big Man emits a non-stop barrage of falsehoods, exaggerations, and barefaced lies.

Let me put it this way: If, say, the Rolling Stones decided to put on free concerts at airports around the country, they'd likely end up being taken into custody and deported as undesirable aliens. Of course, they'd also draw far bigger crowds than Trump, but that's not the point. The point is that Trump's actions are reckless and immoral; the peacetime equivalent of war crimes.

"Covid, covid, covid, covid, covid," he hollers. Trump claims that the United States is "turning the corner" on the pandemic, and that the accursed news media will quit reporting Covid-19 fatalities come November 4. He claims that health officials are motivated by greed because "doctors get more money and hospitals get more money" if they report that the virus was the cause of death.

Surveys have shown that more than a thousand physicians and nurses have died fighting the disease nationwide.

As ever, what he accuses others of doing is an excellent guide to the question: What would Trump do? Answer: he'd steal the silver dollars off a Covid victim's eyes and demand an investigation of Joe Biden

According to the Washington Post, the Trump campaign organization signed an agreement with officials in Duluth, Minnesota to limit attendance at a September 30 fly-in rally, in accordance with public health guidelines. Hours before the event, it became clear that no effort was being made to honor the agreement; some 2500 Trump supporters bunched up without masks on the tarmac, ten times the agreed limit.

Health Department officials' protests were simply ignored. Three days later, Trump himself was taken to Walter Reed Hospital by helicopter. Three weeks after that, the following headline appeared in the Duluth News-Tribune: "St. Louis County sees another record-breaking week of COVID-19 cases."

Any questions?

The Trump Circus subsequently performed in Janesville and Waukesha, Wisconsin in the midst of a record-setting pandemic outbreak there. "It took us 7 and a half months to reach our first 100,000 cases, & only 36 days to reach our second," the Wisconsin Department of Health tweeted. "In just two short months, the 7-day average of new confirmed cases has risen 405%."

But the show must go on. Trump regaled his Janesville audience with a veritable torrent of lies. The New York Times did a thorough fact-check of his October 17 speech. Reporters documented 130 false statements during Trump's 87 minutes onstage. Nearly three-quarters of his factual claims were untrue. The most egregious concerned Covid-19, probably because the disease represents his single greatest failure and most damaging political liability.

Another question: Does Trump count upon his supporters' invincible ignorance or simply share it? I fear it's a little of both. In Janesville, Trump made this absurd claim two minutes into his harangue: "When you look at our numbers compared to what's going on in Europe and other places," he said "we're doing well."

Any regular newspaper reader knows that this is simply nonsense. As the Times reports, "America has more cases and deaths per capita than any major country in Europe but Spain and Belgium. The United States has just 4 percent of the world's population but accounts for almost a quarter of the global deaths from Covid-19."

Germany, to choose the most striking comparison, has suffered only 122 deaths per million of its population, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States has recorded more than five times as many: 686 per million. Neighboring Canada, meanwhile, is at 264 per million. Several Asian countries, have handled the pandemic even better.

It's a matter of capable leadership and public cooperation.

No wonder Trump appears to have succumbed to a case of dictator envy. "COVID, COVID, COVID is being used by [the 'Fake News' media] in total coordination" he tweeted the other day "in order to change our great early election numbers. Should be an election law violation!"

Yeah, well they all report the same World Series scores too. Furthermore, if Trump had good election numbers, he wouldn't whine so much. Has there ever been a bigger crybaby in the White House?

(In related news, Vladimir Putin has issued a mandatory mask mandate after a surge in Russian Covid infections. Go figure.)

Meanwhile, the rallies go on; a bizarre spectacle people treat as if it's normal. Trump has become Covid-19's Typhoid Mary, an Irish cook who unwittingly infected 53 people back in 1906.

But unlike Mary, he should know better. If anybody should be locked up, as his rapt admirers chant, it's the Super-Spreader in Chief.