Yes, Women Can Be Both 'Informed and Fashionable'


Former deputy White House chief of staff for operations, Alyssa Mastromonaco wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post defending her decision to accept a contributing editor position at Marie Claire.

Mastromonaco took to task the herd of babbling neanderthals who continue to insist that a woman cannot be both smart and care about the color of her lipstick.

Such dated arguments assume that women are incapable of being both informed and fashionable, that to be a woman of substance and gravitas, to be taken seriously by her peers, she must subordinate her appearance and interests outside the office. Is it so inconceivable that a smart, accomplished woman would have both the latest issue of the Economist and the second season of “The Mindy Project” downloaded on her iPad? Sorry, but modern women see no contradiction there.

SNAPS TO THAT. These supposed dichotomies exist because women are, brace yourself, complete human beings with nuances and depth.

Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote a similar piece earlier this year for Elle magazine titled “Why Can’t a Smart Woman Love Fashion?” It is a sexist double standard that breeds a society where women can only be seen as one thing, (beautiful OR smart, nice OR powerful) while men can be anything they please.

The notion that having frivolous interests somehow undermines your overall intelligence is nonsensical and is determined by gendered ideas of what is and isn’t “frivolous” to begin with. Is The Mindy Project really less purposeful than a football game? The goal of each is to provide entertainment—they just go about doing so in different ways.

Mastromonaco also addresses criticism directed towards women’s magazines, noting that many of the publications include a wide variety of stories that are of interest to women.

The reason you don’t hear much about these pieces is because “serious” publications don’t pay them much mind, and why should they when pieces like the one in Politico peddle antiquated beliefs that if a woman is photographed wearing heels, or if her profile is nestled between a fashion spread and a relationship essay, it is neither thoughtful nor sophisticated? This though men’s magazines don’t face any of the same scrutiny when they publish supposedly hard-hitting pieces adjacent to features on golf swings, pinstripes and bikini babes.

Read the whole thing. Hell, print it out and put it on your wall so it can serve as a reminder to go out into the world kicking ass and look damn good doing so.

Image via Marie Claire

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