A Defense Of Writing About Female Politicians' ShoesIrin Carmon8/24/10 5:08pmFiled to: Voting with your feetWomen politiciansWomen in politicsPantsuitswedgesKate SpadeHillary ClintonSusan Dominus90EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkWhat do Rachel Zoe and a handful of female politicians have in common? They like this shoe, as The New York Times, half-shamefacedly, informs us today. Trivializing, or refreshing perspective on women in politics?AdvertisementIt's the Kate Spade Halle high-heeled wedge, retailing for just under $300. In New York, Reshma Saujani, who's running against Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney, and attorney general candidate Kathleen Rice are fans, as is "the chief of staff for a prominent woman in Congress," who didn't want to be identified and "someone who worked for Hillary Clinton."Columnist Susan Dominus knows full well she's about to get a lot of shit for focusing on female candidates' shoes:AdvertisementI know. We, the news media, are not supposed to ask female candidates about their hairstyle or their choice of pantsuits over skirts or their shoes. It is irrelevant. It is trivializing. It is sexist... But the Kate Spade wedge heels are not just one candidate's shoes. They seem to be the shoes of a circle of younger women aspiring to power or already in it, women directly and indirectly passing on to one another ways of navigating the particular challenges of being a woman in the public eye. A woman must look put-together, but not as if she is a slave to fashion; she must look groomed, but never be spotted grooming.Even with the meta-analysis, it's hard to shake the feeling that it all is a sexist distraction, even when done by a woman who knows how to talk the talk. This is not about some sort of gag order imposed on tiptoeing journalists. It's a small but vocal pushback in a world where until very recently, Hillary Clinton's pantsuits and "larger bottom" were considered valid subjects to debate.