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Karen Ocamb

Tim Gunn: Hillary Clinton Is Confused about Her Gender

Filed By Karen Ocamb | July 29, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: gender roles, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Project Runway, Tim Gunn

Project Runway host Tim-Gunns-Guide-To-Style.jpgTim Gunn appeared on comedian George Lopez's cable show Lopez Tonight Tuesday night getting laughs by dissing Sec. of State Hillary Clinton's fashion sense. Noting her political accomplishments, Gunn said: "Why must she dress that way? I think she's confused about her gender. All these big baggy menswear tailored pantsuits." Some in the audience reacted negatively, to which Gunn said, "No, I'm really serious."

Politico noted that Gunn told Conan O'Brien something similar: "I think she's confused about what her gender is. She's so mannish in her dress." Politico also reported (not seen on the video after the jump) that Gunn told Lopez: "I have great respect for her intellect and her tenacity and for what she does for our country in her governmental role. I just wish she could send a stronger message about American fashion," deeming her style "Jersey Shore."

Tim Gunn is a TV host with a catchy phrase, for heaven's sake, whose fashion advice to the Project Runway contestants is sometimes refuted by the judges. But please - does him wearing a suit make him a symbol for male masculinity? I always thought his lyrical effeminacy was charming. Not any more. Now I think he's just a 1950s-style bitchy queen who sneers at "dykes." His "great respect" for Clinton's intellect is the equivalent of saying "some of my best friends are" black, gay, whatever minority, used as an excuse for the subsequent insult.

Project Runway just lost a fan.

(Crossposted at LGBTPOV)


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The gender comment was totally uncalled for. But what really got me was when he and Lopez started with the "cankle" comments.

Actually, I've always found Tim Gunn's own personal fashion choices to be about as bland, boring, and, yes, frumpy as you can get. Grey pinstripes suites seem to be the limit of his fashion vocabulary. I guess he believes that only women should be fashion-forward. Having said all that, I think, and while I support Hillary's right to wear any damned thing she pleases, Gunn's comments are pretty accurate.

Obviously someone who doesn't understand the difference between Gender Identity and Gender Expression.

I love Tim... really love Tim on Project Runway. But his comment about Hilary was ignorant and totally uncalled for. And talking about anything fashion-related to our Secretary of State is massively sexist. Shame on both of them. :(

I completely agree - it was sexist on so many levels. Lost respect for him big time, which is sad because I like him on the "Project Runway".

I couldn't agree more--this was a serious display of bitchiness on Gunn's part. How often does a male secretary of state have his fashion choices attacked? Gunn invoked the famous double standard. And saying she's confused about her gender was cruel. Sometimes the harshest attacks on women come from gay men. This is one of those times.

Tim Gunn is off base here. Hillary has a job that requires her to adopt fashion that projects the power of the United States. She was not hired to be a fashion plate. Hillary is not prokjecting herself as a drag king.

While I personally prefer skirt suits, I have a few in the wardrobe that project "power" that I reserve for those rare occasions that I am headed for a courtroom or I am having a meeting with an upper echelon partner at a law firm. I rely on John Malloy for the basis of the advice that, regardless of the tailoring, as long as it's a serious, conservative suit, the most power is projected with material borrowed from the men's suit department. Medium to dark gray, wih or without pinstripes. Black - a power color women can use but men outside the funeral business shouldn't, is an exception. Navy Blue also projects honesty, and pinstriped, it adds a power note. Greyish glen plaids are also good.

Hillary has historically favored pastels. She can get away with these - for that matter, she has more latitude because of who she is. A former district attorney in my county also favored pastels, but had an array of power gray and black in her wardrobe for appropriate situations.

One bit of advice I've preferred from Tim Gunn is "ballet flats." I'll wear ballet flats when I can get away with them, over anthing that Clinton and Stacy (from What not to Wear) want to put on my feet. Even so, I have some mid-heel shoes with a wingtip look! Perfect for the power suit. (Aerosoles "Legal System.")

The analysis of Tim as "bitchy queen" in the Hillary context? Spot on. I think Hillary is doing fine, in both her professional work and in her wardrobe.

The next thing you know, Tim Gunn is going to criticize Queen Elizabeth for not wearing ballet flats . . .

Kathy Padilla | July 30, 2011 8:03 AM

Who's Tim Gunn?

Doesn't matter:

"Why must she dress that way? I think she's confused about her gender. All these big baggy menswear tailored pantsuits." Some in the audience reacted negatively, to which Gunn said, "No, I'm serIous"

Yes - women need to appease his sensibilities regarding gender - and it's somehow important that American foreign policy promote those concerns as well.

Nice to see him rising above dated stereotypes in his personal life as well.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 30, 2011 2:06 PM

Gunn's off the mark and irrelevant. Who cares about what a fashion cop thinks one way or the other.

What's wrong with Hillary Clinton is that she's a rightwing(1), religious nutcase(2) who supported the invasion of Iraq(3), opposes marriage equality and wants the question left up to the states.

Hillary Clinton is Margaret Thatcher with an American accent.

(1)She supported Bill Clintons embargo against Iraq that murdered half a million children. She pushes for war with Iran and to continue the embargo against Cuba.

(2) For 15 years, Hillary Clinton has been part of a secretive religious group that seeks to bring Jesus back to Capitol Hill. Mother Jones 2009

(3) "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said she is not sorry she voted for a resolution authorizing President Bush to take military action in Iraq despite the recent problems there but she does regret "the way the president used the authority." CNN April 2004

Paige Listerud | July 30, 2011 2:36 PM

I fell in love with Tim Gunn at his installment for the "It Gets Better" Project--his personal story about surviving queer adolescence was truthfully heartfelt and passionate. It's too bad now that we get to see another side, one that doesn't have much wiggle room for gender expression.

Having said that, may I offer my views on the 70s/80s women's pantsuit? I've always considered it a crime of fashion--not because it transgresses gender but because it doesn't go far enough. It seems to desperately be treading a middle ground that WON'T allow a woman to express her power, as if to say, "It's okay, boys. I'm here to do business but I'm not a threat to you."

Surely, all women in the workplace deserve better--both economically and sartorially speaking. Certainly, power suits for women have evolved. I would like to see Hilary dress with a little more elan, just as I'd like to see her politics go from centrist to progressive. Obviously, neither will ever happen.

"I think she's confused about what her gender is. She's so mannish in her dress." No dude! you are the one who is confused.

Tim Gunn needs to understand that his being confused about someone's gender identity does not mean that they are confused about their gender identity. And besides, it was a cheap shot. I'm always amazed at all the people who made "It Gets Better" videos who then turn around and engage in the same kind of bullying and ridiculing they hated when it was directed at them.

I have found Gunn to be inoffensive or even likable and endearing, but this comment was completely unnecessary and offensive. Lost a lot of points with me.