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Columns
Harrop: In Meghan Markle's 'Suits,' the men wear them

Meghan Markle, the divorcee from Los Angeles now engaged to Britain’s Prince Harry, is a lovely woman. But though the actress has ennobled herself as an advocate for women, she lives in the public eye as a character on “Suits.”

That’s unfortunate, because the cheesy TV series could serve as a primer on how women undermine their careers by the way they dress. Oh, there are other forces working against them in male-dominated industries, but how women present themselves should be an easy hurdle to cross.

“Suits” refers to the traditional business armor worn by the go-getters at a fictional high-style law firm. It’s about immaculate tailoring that hides body parts and, with it, physical imperfections. Suits speak of power.

In “Suits,” every man wears a suit to the office, but the women rarely do. They’re usually poured into tight-fitting dresses or, like Markle’s character, in snug blouses with buttons straining to hold it all together. Every female rear end is accentuated for male inspection.

There’s a gender issue in “Suits,” and it isn’t sexual harassment. By the way, sexual harassment is inexcusable no matter what the woman is wearing.

The issue is gravitas, or lack of it on the part of the women. The female characters are smart and tough, but their dress undermines these qualities. Suits let the men gracefully go gray, put on pounds and celebrate their 45th birthdays. The women without them disappear.

The men get the macho lines—“Start making us some real money, or go back to being a lawyer”—while the women tend to converse with kittenish innuendo. The contrast holds together because the women are dressed for submission.

That women sexualize themselves against their professional interests can be largely blamed on vendors of fashion. The last thing the industry wants is for working women to keep five good suits in their closet and call it a day—as many male executives do.

Women headed that way in the 1970s and ’80s, but they had to be stopped. That’s why fashion executives continue to mock women’s suits as frumpy.

In a recent article titled “Shake Up Your Work Look,” Alison Loehnis, the head of Net-a-Porter, bashes pantsuits for women. In the typical language of phony empowerment, she urges women to “feel secure in making bold statements.”

“These Gianvito Rossi sandals are my perfect shoes,” Loehnis says of an $815 pair with 4-inch heels and an ankle strap suggestive of bondage. This was in The Wall Street Journal, of all places.

In “Suits,” the men stride across the office in flat footwear. The women mince in spike heels. Forget about even 2-inchers. No, the women in “Suits” must wear 3- or 4-inch stilettos.

Some bizarro manipulation of female opinion has turned spike heels into a symbol of power. Actually, they speak of immobility. They do make the butt look larger—also the breasts by forcing the back to arch. If that’s what a woman wants, there she has it. If she seeks to be noted for her smarts, she might reconsider.

The dresses on “Suits” are not trashy. They tend toward expensive European labels and fine fabrics. Only the tight fit makes them vulgar. Some of the sleeveless shift dresses worn in “Suits” would look fine at an outdoor cocktail party.

But consider: How many naked male biceps have you seen in the executive suite?

As a royal family member in the making, Markle is presenting herself in a chic but dignified manner with shoes one can walk in. May she become an example to fashion victims everywhere. The female royals know all about tailored suits.


Letters
Your Views: Sending women into combat would disrupt time-tested setup

As a veteran of the Marine Corps infantry, I wanted to voice my objection to the integration of women into Army infantry units (Nov. 27 story, Page 6B).

The composition of the combat arms field has traditionally been fraternal and should remain so. There has never been a point in American military history where it was deemed necessary to augment the ranks with women. The all-male units always proved their capability.

Issues of strength and aggression aside, the workability of such an arrangement would be questionable at best. True camaraderie exists only between men. Even in the absence of sexual attraction, the sexes are simply wired too differently.

It doesn’t surprise me that the recruits--millennials--are accepting of this integration. For many of them, their non-traditional world view confers a normalcy to same-sex relationships and, oh yeah, they voted in droves for a socialist, too, remember?

This was never about equal opportunity but rather the use of social engineering to achieve a politically correct outcome.

MARK BOETTCHER

Delavan


Other_views
Other Views: Schimel acts like he works for Walker campaign

Attorney General Brad Schimel is not the lawyer for Gov. Scott Walker’s re-election campaign. But, in a stunning breach of faith that displays his extreme partisanship, Schimel is acting as if the Walker campaign were his client.

Schimel and Walker are both Republicans. They are expected to run next fall on the same statewide party ticket. They have every right to endorse one another and campaign together.

But Schimel has no right to use the power of the state Department of Justice to advance Walker’s campaign agenda.

Indeed, he has a duty to avoid precisely this sort of abuse of power.

Unfortunately, Schimel does not understand his role as a state constitutional officer.

That was obvious last week when Schimel and Department of Justice attorneys notified the Wisconsin Supreme Court that they would replace the attorney for the state Department of Public Instruction in a case involving elected Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers.

Evers is one of a number of Democrats who have announced their intention to challenge Walker in the 2018 gubernatorial race.

The lawsuit against Evers was brought by the right-wing Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, which is asking the Supreme Court to take the case. The suit seeks to undermine the authority of the superintendent by asking the courts to declare that Evers and department officials must seek the governor’s permission to craft administrative rules.

When a similar case came before the state Supreme Court last year, the justices ruled in favor of Evers. This new suit claims that a recently enacted law requires Evers to now do what the high court said last year he didn’t have to do. But the new law affronts the Wisconsin Constitution, which creates unique statewide elected positions to be administered by those who are chosen by the voters. It is absurd to imagine that constitutional officers must seek permission from the governor in order to do their jobs.

What’s even more absurd is that, when WILL brought its failed lawsuit last year, Schimel’s Department of Justice refused to represent Evers and the Department of Public Instruction. Why? Because Schimel’s Walker-aligned department did not agree with the stance Evers and his department were taking in defense of constitutional governance.

Now, despite that past admission of disagreement with regard to the basic premises of these lawsuits, Schimel and his lawyers are seeking to displace the Department of Public Instruction team representing Evers, and they have indicated that they would support WILL’s position.

A DPI spokesman said the department would ask the court to ignore the move by Schimel.

The attorney general’s twists and turns may seem confusing.

But here’s the bottom line: Brad Schimel is playing politics with his position in order to serve Scott Walker’s re-election bid.

If Schimel wants to represent the Walker campaign, he should resign his position and let Wisconsin have a real attorney general. Otherwise, he should abandon the lawless course he has adopted.

—The Capital Times


Sound_off
Sound Off for Wednesday, Dec. 6

On Friday front-page story, “Mom calls discipline of her son ‘heinous’”: Children who disobey teachers and disrupt classrooms should be disciplined. I side with the principal and Milton School Board on this issue.

Nicole Johnson needs to purchase a book by John Rosemond. She then would know the proper way to raise a respectful citizen of society before it’s too late. Further, I know Marcia Schwengels (principal at Milton West Elementary), and she’s one of the nicest people on earth. Milton is fortunate to have her on their staff.

There’s a quotation that the ‘review found that no violations of board policy took place and that actions were supported by board policy.’ If that’s true, then why in that same statement did they say “we have made some immediate adjustments to current practices...”? Why are we making any adjustments if everything was hunky-dory?

On probation for Janesville woman (Friday, Page 9A): For resisting arrest, putting her children in harm’s way, spitting in an officer’s face and having heroin and Suboxone, she only got five years of probation. She should have gotten five years in jail. Got to stop this somewhere, and that’s how you do it. You can’t coddle criminals.

On Trump’s handling of North Korea: A bunch of people in the mainstream media are suggesting that President Trump is mentally unstable and that he’s liable to start WWIII with a tweet to North Korea. If anyone starts it, it will be the only fat man in North Korea Kim Jung-un. Even this twisted little psychopath is better than Donald Trump, according to the news media. So you tell me who’s mentally unstable.

With respect to the North Korean threat to send an ICBM to the continental U.S., what in the world does our president mean when he says, “We will handle it.”? Does he really think the American people will sleep well with such vague assurance? It is time for an end to such loose-lip, nonspecific rhetoric.

On a bump in the road: Why in the world can’t the street department fix that dangerous annoying bump on Humes Road in front of Papa Murphy’s? All that money to rework the entire area only to have that stupid bump remain.

On Saturday column, “Rock County is poised to get sicker”: Very good points, Mr. John Spangler, but you miss one important point. Congressman Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson don’t do what’s right for the people. They vote for the donors and 1-percenters that keep them in office.

On Nov. 19 front-page photo of hunters: I have hunted for 65 years and never seen so many hunting violations in my life. First, it showed two open-box pickup trucks with five people in them, none wearing seat belts. One was even sitting on the box rail. Second, there were three guns not in cases and were probably loaded. Third, one person has a black hat on, and it states in the regulations that if a person wears a hat, it must be blaze orange. This is a good example of how careless hunters cause hunting accidents.

On ABC News retracting Brian Ross story last week: Last Friday, I believe it was at 11:05 a.m., ABC News released a fake news story that caused the stock market to plunge 350 points. Maybe when the lawsuits start rolling in to ABC for all the money people lost in the market, maybe they’ll think twice about whether or not they should keep Brian Ross as an employee.

On this year’s Big Ten football champion: A lot of people are surprised Ohio State didn’t make it in the top four. Well, they judge these things on strength of schedule, and let’s face it, when you play in the Big Ten, your schedule is not very tough. It’s a pretty bad conference. You had two teams line up for the conference championship, and neither one of them was worthy to be on the field with an Alabama, a Clemson or Oklahoma.

On eggnog: It is a seasonal traditional beverage. I use it to make French toast. Homemade eggnog is my favorite. Mother used her hens’ eggs years ago to put in the blender to make homemade eggnog.