Chapter Eight: Communication; 8 August
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic.
He put a coat of armor on him and
a bronze helmet on his head.
1 Samuel 17:38
|An Ounce of Appearance Is Worth a Pound of Performance*|
She had a Ph.D. from a top tier university. A senior manager who got things done. Widely published. A regular commentator on cable and network outlets. The five best kids on the planet.
She was highlighted in a magazine article on a political race.
So what did the journalist write about?
Her Republican red dress.
Goodness. Charmaine invested ten years getting a terminal degree in Political Science; a female who broke the glass ceiling. And what was the only thing that counted?
(Is this what was meant by the “war on women?”)
How shallow. How petty.
OK, it was Vogue magazine but Your Business Professor, as a conservative knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, was expecting at least a head fake toward feminine competence.
Nope, Vogue is only interested in looks and appearances.
Much like the rest of the world — only their editors are a bit more honest about it all.
The article was about Katie Couric and her work on the Today Show. She was the host-referee for the Charmaine vs. Naomi Wolf image duel. Charmaine on the Right; Naomi on the Left, as they debated political implications just after George Bush won the presidential election in 2004.
Naomi Wolf wrote the international bestseller, The Beauty Myth. She is also remembered for advising Al Gore on fashion presentation during the presidential debates to help Gore’s alpha-male deficit. It didn’t, well, suit him. Wolf has moved on to co-found The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership in New York.
Vogue writes that Charmaine was dressed in a “sharp” red suit, while Naomi looked, “luscious” in pink. Vogue thinks Naomi was using pink to send a message — Pink now means: my candidate just lost . . .but don’t move to Canada, the sun will rise tomorrow?
This demonstrates that how you look communicates who you are more than words can express.
It is said that some 85% of communication is non-verbal. (Actually, it can be 100% if your wife is mad at you.)
She was a brilliant, effective Secretary of State. She looked the part and more as she conferred with ambassadors in embassies in troubled countries the world over. She stepped out in dominance in high-heeled black boots. Robin Givhan, a staff writer at The Washington Post, analyzed the presence of Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State under George Bush, the younger. Givhan writes:
Rice boldly eschewed the typical fare chosen by powerful American women on the world stage. She was not wearing a bland suit with a loose-fitting skirt and short boxy jacket with a pair of sensible pumps.
She did not cloak her power in photogenic hues, a feminine brooch and a non-threatening aesthetic. Rice looked as though she was prepared to talk tough, knock heads and do a freeze-frame “Matrix” jump kick if necessary. Who wouldn’t give her ensemble a double take — all the while hoping not to rub her the wrong way?
Rice’s appearance at Wiesbaden — a military base with all of its attendant images of machismo, strength and power — was striking because she walked out draped in a banner of authority, power and toughness.
She was not hiding behind matronliness, androgyny or the stereotype of the steel magnolia. Rice brought her full self to the world stage — and that included her sexuality. It was not overt or inappropriate. If it was distracting, it is only because it is so rare. (Givhan 2005)
Condi, about the best Secretary of State we could have had during the current asymmetrical war (with Islam, not image) is noted for her footwear. Boots (not) made for walking or running away.
This communicates and projects power. Some women like Condi and Charmaine can pull this off. Other women cannot.
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 1 Samuel 17:38