Featured Post

Friday, August 29, 2008

Term Limits

Thank goodness summer vacation is over. Maybe it means that I won't have to endlessly hear two of the most obnoxious marketing terms the travel industry has ever come up with. The two terms that have me vocabularily vexed are "stay-cation" and "girlfriend getaways." IMHO, stay-cation is simply an oxymoron of the most annoying sort, while girlfriend getaways just sounds so darn condescending.

Hear me out. Let's start with girlfriend getaways. Admittedly, sometimes girlfriends do travel together. In fact, they do so in far greater numbers than male friends. There is, by the way, a term for the latter as well. It is man-cations. Somehow, that term hasn't caught on like its female equivalent, perhaps because it sounds too much like man-scaping, and well, much as metrosexuals may partake in said ritual, it's unlikely they enjoy it. Equating vacationing with getting a chest wax--well, I can understand why my male friends haven't bought into the man-cation concept.

But I digress. I can't exactly put my well-manicured finger on it, but girlfriend getaways just irks me. Perhaps it's because, even though some women do refer to their gal pals as "girlfriends," for the travel industry to refer to female friends as such sounds demeaning. After all, we are not girls. We are women, hear us roar. (Even the recently-evolved Chris Matthews would agree. When Pat Buchanan was rambling on about what a great "gal" and "girl" Sarah Palin was, the verbose Hardball host interrupted to remind Pat that the term for a 44-year-old female was "woman"). But I digress. The point is, women have money to spend, grown-up thoughts in our mind (even as we seek fun vacation destinations), and, by golly, we deserve to be treated with respect. The industry doesn't call vacations for men "boyfriend getaways" (can you imagine?) or "boy-cations." Why are women getting the diminutive treatment?

Stay-cation, on the other hand, is simply, as previously noted, an oxymoron. One goes on vacation to get away from the stresses of everyday life. Yes, one can hang out at home and have fun. But staying at home is not a vacation. Vacation = to vacate, no? Indeed, a vacation is the chance to leave behind the hum-drum of daily existence. If you are surrounded by your stuff, if your regular grocery store and dry cleaner and bank are all within striking distance, if your home office is footsteps away, how can you truly get into the vacation mindset? After all, if you are at home, there's always an errand to be run, a desk to be dusted, a meal to cook, an e-mail to send.

So, girlfriends and all others, no stay-cations for you this year. And if your fall vacation plans do include going away with your buddies, please boycott the term "girlfriend getaways." It's just not womanly.

*The original version of this post can be found at www.wyndhamworldwide.com/women_on_their_way.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Apropos of Nothing But Skinny Politicians

The Wall Street Journal recently graced its front page with an article asking if Senator Barack Obama is too skinny to be president. Actually, the premise was that Joe and Jody American, who are likely to be out of shape or hefty (the article notes a statistic that 66% of the voting-age population is overweight), are unlikely to vote for a beanpole. Anecdotal evidence might suggest, absurd as it may seem, that the article isn't far off the mark. After all, the last rail-thin dude to be elected president was one Abraham Lincoln, circa 1860.

But I wonder what would happen if the politician running to be leader of the pack were a woman? Would tall and skinny, the hallmark of success in Hollywood, work? Well, judging from the bulk of the females who are world leaders these days, when it comes to politics, there is not a gender double-standard when it comes to weight. Tall and skinny--definitely not in vogue among men or women politicians.

Being in vogue when it comes to fashion is also not stylish among female politicians. Look at Germany's Angela Merkel, who, when it comes to fashion, could be dubbed Fraulein Frumpy. IMHO, even though they've been made over, Hillary Clinton and Condolezza Rice lack in sartorial splendor. The president of Finland, Tarja Halonen, is best known in this country for being the doppelganger of Conan O'Brien, complete with a similar hair-do. Not the stuff of high fashion.

recently published a piece about stylish women in politics. Other than a few Italian and French (naturally) parliamentary ministers, the writer was hard-pressed to find chic politicians. He ended up citing French First Lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy, who is Italian by birth and a supermodel by trade. So of course she's stylish. But she's not a politician. She's just married to one. And certainly, there is no shortage when it comes to fashionable first ladies. Look at Jordan, where Queen Rania follows in the fashionable footsteps of her predecessor, Queen Noor. The wife of Russian president Dmitry Medvedev is heavily involved in fashion, promoting Russian designers around the world. Potential first ladies Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama are both striking women.

Why is it that being stylish and/or tall and skinny is fine for a first lady, but is anathema for a politician? Would it be impossible for a modelesque woman to become a successful politician? Underneath it all, do we believe that someone who can do style surely must lack substance? Please weigh in with your thoughts.