New York Times Profiles Powerful Congresswomen and Their, Uh, Purses


With 20 women in the Senate and 81 in the House, the 113th Congress has the most lady politicians of any in American history. This also means the 113th Congress is ripe with dozens of fun and cool human interest pieces about said lady politicians. What’s their bathroom situation like? Which ones are the best dressed? How do they look when rendered in weird watercolor portraits?

Case in point: The Times dives into the world of powerful women who have established themselves as aggressive watch dogs of the financial industry and stalwarts of the Senate Budget Committee and their…purses.

Yeah, you heard right. Titled “Purse Politics: Tote and Vote” (it’s cute because it rhymes!), the article dives into what purses really mean for congresswomen. Senator Claire McCaskill, who recently introduced legislation to combat assaults in the military, says she wants bags that are big enough “to carry one or two iPads, an Air book, a Hot Spot, and a little bit of extra reading for irritating times I have to turn off my devices when we take off and land.” She goes on to say, “I think most of us, while we may look at the cute little purses, our lives don’t fit in a cute little purse. Our lives fit something that is in between a purse and a briefcase, and that’s what I carry.”

Interesting. It’s almost as if she’s describing a normal purse. Other interesting facts about their politician’s purses: Congresswomen want practical bags! Most of them carry lots of shit! Sometimes they like modest ones! But other times they like brightly colored ones! You guys, these congresswomen are just like us.

But what’s more insulting than profiling the bags of politicians who would never be asked about their briefcases if they were men are the final few lines of the article, which describe the now-ubiquitous aide whose only responsibility appears to be carrying a purse. The Hill is overflowing with eager PoliSci majors who will obsessively do anything to have a piece of the political action — but when one of those things is carrying a politician’s bag, and that bag happens to belong to a woman and the bag is considered a purse, these young assistants are called “purse boys.” Which is not demeaning to all parties involved at all.

When President Obama has someone hold his shit, that person is called a “body man.” Both are essentially a hybrid between an aide and a butler, but when it’s the President’s aide/butler, they’re total bros. He hands Obama his Black Forest Berry Honest Tea and is all, Here you go Mr. President, we’re like, best friends and confidants. You’re Mr. Wayne and I’m Alfred Pennyworth. But when purse boy “trots” around carrying a she-politician’s paperwork, books, iPad, and lip gloss, he’s like a eunuch sent to carry Cercei Lannister’s train as she walks around Casterly Rock.

Purse Politics: Tote and Vote [NYT]

Image via Getty

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