Former NYT editor: Post's Givhan attacks "women of substance…for the bad taste of not looking like, well, her"

Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

We've already told you about how the Washington Post's Robin Givhan attacked Elena Kagan for being "dowdy" while obsessing over her own observation that the Supreme Court nominee "doesn't appear to ever cross her legs."

Even after Media Matters went to great lengths disproving the vapid musings of Givhan by offering up a variety of photos showing Kagan meeting with Senators and President Obama with her legs crossed, the Post writer stood by her false attacks.

Now Luisita Lopez Torregrosa -- an adjunct professor at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and a former New York Times editor -- is weighing in. She says "the mind reels" reading the Kagan attack piece while also noting Givhan's long history of ripping the appearance of "influential women, women of substance."

Torregrosa writes (emphasis added):

It's not a first fashion knockout for Givhan, a 45-year-old, slim and buffed-looking, with dark, wavy, long hair, who wears sexy sleeveless little black dresses and slingback heels. She's got a knack for taking on middle-aged, influential women, women of substance, and tearing them apart for the bad taste of not looking like, well, her.

Poor Harriet Miers, a Bush nominee to the Supreme Court in 2005. Givhan mashed her to little pieces. "While her restrained suites steered clear of any flashy references to femininity, Miers wore makeup applied in the manner of a young woman who views eyeliner as something quite grown-up, tough and just a little bit sexy." She went on, "As a result, Miers executed a clumsy merger of Washington's particular brand of stodgy power-dressing with one of the iconic markers of gender: dark-rimmed, look-at-me-eyes."

That was chicken feed next to Givhan's dissection of Hillary Rodham Clinton's cleavage.

"She was wearing a rose-colored blazer over a black top. The neckline sat low on her chest and had a subtle V-shape. The cleavage registered after only a quick glance. No scrunch-faced scrutiny was necessary. There wasn't an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was. Undeniable."

Givhan was describing Senator Clinton on the Senate floor one day in July 2007.

"It was startling to see that small acknowledgment of sexuality and femininity..." she wrote. "But really, it was more like catching a man with his fly unzipped. Just look away!"

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Gender
The Washington Post
Robin Givhan
Supreme Court Nominations, Elena Kagan
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.