It is a fact. Women are judged more on their looks than men are.  Look around you.  Some of the fattest, baldest, most slovenly men are in positions of power in government, business, media, technology (especially technology).  But the opposite is not true.  Women have to look young and beautiful and fit, and even then may not be taken seriously.  The “local evening news anchor team” formula has even become a not-so-funny joke — the older, gray-haired, distinguished looking man at the desk next to the 20-something, fresh-faced, bright-eyed woman.  Both intelligent and articulate, but somehow a bit “trophy.”  I bet you have at least one of these teams in your city, too.

So, it did not surprise me when I heard that the RNC paid for a campaign wardrobe for Gov. Palin and family in order to polish them up and make them a bit less Cabela’s.  Our most celebrated First Ladies and First Ladies To Be have had some pretty swanky designers behind them – Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, and Cindy McCain (though I have no idea where Mrs. McCain shops, but she always looks fantastic).  So, looking good while on the campaign trail (and in the workplace) is a social expectation, not an option.

The difference is that Mrs. Kennedy, Mrs. Reagan, and Mrs. McCain had/have the means to pay for the expensive labels themselves.  When they can’t (or if they choose not to) they went/go out looking like Mrs.s Bush (either one) or Michelle Obama.  If shows like What Not To Wear tell us anything, it is that we women can look good and pulled together without spending a fortune on designer duds, as evidenced by Mrs.  Obama’s $150 dress that created a mini-sensation.

Additionally, Mrs.s Kennedy, Reagan, and McCain weren’t/aren’t peddling their Everywo/man credentials on the stump, either.  Quite the opposite, in fact – Jackie and Nancy quite brazenly put themselves forth as American Royalty – East Coast and Hollywood, respectively.  Therefore, their clothes and image matched their message.

So who was the Super Genius who handed campaign donations over to Niemans and Saks to try to perfect the Palins’ images when he should have hired someone who understood matching the image with their “I’m one of you” message?  Does this idiot know nothing about Branding?  I predict that Marketing and Public Relations majors all over the country will be doing their Master Theses on this one.  What a total screw-up.

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