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Winning in a Man’s World: What’s Wardrobe got to do with It?

By Morenike Taire

IN the boisterous world of social networking, the blogger is genius. There is oilman Tunde Oduwole’s NigeriaNext, which has sought without raging success to get the next generation of Nigeria’s leaders to define, on a virtual platform, the shape of things to come.

Generally though, there are few virtual communities of technical integrity where people actually argue or ponder together or even throw the online equivalent of punches over why government after Nigerian government has failed to produce electricity or why fashion has not taken over from oil as major foreign exchange earner or how we can become chief suppliers of glass to the global computer industry.

*Dame Patience Jonathan

Feeding our vanity

Linda Ikeji and Bellanaija have made fame as well as fortune, it is rumoured, feeding our vanity by endless photos of red carpet enthusiasts in action. Still that expectation- or the lack of it- did little to blunt the sharpness of the stab from reading a blog on one popular youth community site (name withheld), in which the Nigerian, US based blogger supposedly working in corporate recruitment, made bold to claim with no equivocation, that good looking women are more likely to be hired/successful/loved than her grungier counterpart. It would all seem rather confusing in the end, at least to less modern minds.

For those in the know, the distinction in these social media times are totally blurred, between a woman who is good looking and a woman that looks good. That is not necessarily a bad thing, the latter. It is, in fact, not a bad thing at all. With a bit of someone else’s hair (or maybe loads of it- who cares?), primer, concealer, foundation, lipstick, push up bra and high heels, we can all be devastating princesses with the world at our feet.

To be honest, it’s not an entirely new concept. In the past, we have been led to believe that with the exception of George Bush- who had daddy to give him the little political shove he needed- and perhaps Abe Lincoln, who had suffered enough for his perceived ungainly presence pre white house, that the poor thing really deserved getting away with not being handsome at the end of the day; the American public has traditionally voted looks along with any other consideration.

It would not make for straightforward analysis, figuring out whether the artful twist of the headtie of Ngozi Okonjo Iwealla it was that endeared her to the Big White Boys of Bretton Woods, or whether her make-up had become so boring over the years that she was basically accepted as one of the big boys. Yet interestingly, a popular female English columnist recently attempted a similar analysis on why Hilary Clinton has been looking rather dreary lately.

It would be unlikely that Clinton’s (When you say “Clinton” these days, it usually refers to Mrs. Clinton) male colleagues have even noticed this suddenly important trend. Or that if they did, they did not merely attribute it to raging hormones and hot flushes, bad mood or simply a prolonged hangover from clubbing and swigging alcohol in South America.

For our analyst however, Mrs. Clinton  has been playing down her looks for the purpose of getting some respect from her male colleagues by drawing attention to her brains rather than brawn.

For sure, on this visit to Africa, her styling will be nowhere as inspired or inspiring as that of First Lady (apologies to OBJ) Patience Jonathan. Her fabrics will not be as rich, or bespoke. Her jewellery will not be as opulent. But then, therein lies the distinction. Therein lies the distinction.

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