Somehow I missed the fact that a group of C-List conservative bloggers turned on themselves over the issue of propriety at CPAC. At the same event in which this high-minded little event took place, it was reported that the female attendees “looked like two-bit whores.” That’s according to Dr. Melissa Clouthier, who feels the need to remind everyone she’s a doctor, presumably because her elevated diction might convince folks otherwise. Dr. Clouthier continues:
I was at another service-oriented gathering of young women where the girls were in tight bandeau-skirts — you know, the kind of tube-top skirts that hookers wear on street corners.
I’m fairly certain I know what she means here: conservative women shouldn’t dress in ways that make them look like “hookers … on street corners.” However, that point was contested by Dan Riehl—last spotted cowering in fear from some black toddlers who were “technically thugs”—who declared that he did, in fact, want to see conservative women dress like “hookers on the street”:
In my opinion, CPAC is about politics, not parenting. If it takes hundreds of new folks with perhaps more libertarian, than traditional, leanings to infuse a more powerful right in America, I’ll take it. And if some number of them are hotties in tube tops, I’ll find a way to endure because I love America just that much.
The more “hotties in tube tops,” Riehl argues, the more powerful the right will become, because nothing builds a stronger coalition more quickly than objectifying and diminishing half the people who might want to join it. To use the conservatives objection to gay marriage as a model of argumentation, first conservative women will be allowed to dress like hookers; then they’ll be required to dress like hookers; then they’ll be required to be hookers.
And as Robert Stacy McCain—the man most likely to declare himself the winner of a Hunter S. Thompson prose-alike contest—pointed out, this process has already started:
No one can responsibly disagree with [Dr.] Melissa [Clouthier]’s argument against the super-short and super-tight party dresses which some Republican coeds seem to consider de rigeur for a night on the town. Also, the bare cleavage—c’mon, guys, testify for me here—makes it quite difficult to concentrate on anything else except the bare cleavage.
Conservative are already being required to dress like hookers! Moreover, look at the effect it’s having on family-oriented conservatives like McCain: not only is he incapable of diverting his eyes from the buffet of cleavage present at CPAC, he’s incapable of imagining a world in which conservative men possess the wherewithal to do anything other than stare at their compatriots’ breasts. Riehl isn’t some sexist exception—he’s just honest enough to admit that if women flaunt their wares, he’ll gladly gawk at them while pretending to agree with whatever they happen to be saying. What are they saying? Who cares? So long as the lungs pushing those words out reside beneath a bosom being amply displayed, Riehl and McCain will keep on nodding.
How can serious conservative women avoid being objectified by the likes of Riehl and McCain? Dr. Melissa Clouthier—who, you’ll note, McCain stripped of her degree in the same manner he’s stripped her of her dignity—suggests:
1. No cleavage. That’s right. Cover that up. I say “no” in absolutist terms because women will show a tiny bit and that’s okay, but really, in a business environment where ideas are the priority, a dude thinking about your ta-tas is counter-productive.
2. Skirts no more than three finger-widths above the knee. Why do I even have to write this? Well, because someone is allowing these girls out of the house with mini-skirts that reveal too much.
3. Save the stilettos for Saturday night on a date with your boyfriend.
4. Bend at the knee. No, I don’t want to see your butt. Young women, you degrade your own value by dressing and then acting the ho.
Young conservative women, stop “acting the ho”! You know your ideological brethren respond to such displays, so the heavy burden of preventing them from treating you like a “hooker … on the street” falls on your shoulder pads. The alternative is having to deal with McCain reducing you to the “haawwtt fianceé” of one of the aforementioned conservative “rappers” in a post about a conservative blogger showing too much leg while interviewing Rick Santorum. This conservative blogger, Tina Korbe, had the nerve to score a job McCain wanted, but instead of congratulating her, he wrote:
They’re gonna hire a chick. Somebody with the ‘face for Fox,’ a candidate for the Red Eye leg-chair they can use to ‘brand’ the blog.
While I appreciate the admission that Fox exclusively hires women whose legs appeal to the likes of Riehl and McCain, I think we can also see the problem with the sartorial tenor of discussions on the right: women are reducible to their bodies. Anything they do to remind conservative men of this fact will cause them either to imagine making babies with them or to fret about what’s happening to the unwanted babies lust like theirs made. Women aren’t independent entities possessing wit and intelligence unless they divorce themselves from the only thing that makes them valuable to conservative men in the first place: their bodies.
Which don’t exist or matter, unless parts of them are visible, in which case only those parts exist and they matter very, very much.