CORDS–THIS SEASON’S EARTH TONES
Seeking Women’s Votes, Clark Changes His Style
Gen. Wesley K. Clark has begun to show a softer side.
Gone are his navy blue suit, red tie and loafers, replaced by argyle sweaters, corduroys and duck boots.
“There is a gender gap,” said Geoffrey Garin, who heads the Clark campaign’s polling operation, though Mr. Garin did not give out numbers.
Some Democrats say the problem is that women are put off by the military persona.
Mr. Garin said the campaign believed that men had tuned into the race sooner, and that generally those who know General Clark better responded more positively. “Once we control for that, a lot of the gender gap disappears,” he said.
I must admit, these make-overs are rather amusing. But there’s almost certainly something to them. People clearly react to the manner of a person’s dress.
There’s a reason attorneys and physicians continue to wear dark suits and neckties in a dress-down society: people expect people in positions of great responsibility to dress “seriously.” When I was teaching college, I bucked the recent trend and wore a coat and tie (as did my then-colleague Taylor). The students definitely noticed, and were almost befuddled if we showed up in casual clothes.
It works both ways, too. In much of the rural South, there’s a bit of distrust of people who dress too well. I know people in the insurance business down there, for example, who either dress casually or do the short-sleeve dress shirt with a tie thing — very un-Queer Eye — because it conveys a more “down home” image and makes their clients more comfortable. Indeed, many of the profs at Troy State used that as an argument/excuse for not dressing up for class.
I find this amusing, however:
But even General Clark acknowledges he has a problem to overcome with women. “I think there’s an impression that the armed forces is a male-dominated, hierarchical, authoritarian institution,” he said in an interview on Thursday.
I wonder how rumors like that get started?