For the second week in a row, the Converse sneakers of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have taken center stage on the sort of inane media story that would be laughably pathetic if it wasn’t competing with nearly 400,000 Americans dead from a pandemic and domestic terror. The Sunday before the #historic inauguration of Harris (and the actual President-elect Joe Biden, whom the media have seemed to forgot weirdly), the firefighters at CBS decided to ask Harris and her husband about her preferred footwear of choice in an extended tease of an exclusive.
So the California senator enjoys her Chuck Taylors. Biden fancies his Ray-Bans. As a side note, that would be humanizing. But for one of the most important Sunday shows in the nation to fawn over Harris’s sneakers after the media spent four years with their hair on fire about democracy dying in darkness, it’s just cringeworthy. And it’s made even more so when compared to the equally enraged takes on the sartorial choices of the women of Trumpworld.
Recall the fracas from the Left over Ivanka Trump wearing too “girlie” and “incredibly ornamental” a dress to the 2017 G-20 summit. Melania Trump strutting in stilettos on her way to Air Force One to visit hurricane-ridden Texas was an entire news cycle of its own, and the “I really don’t care, do you” jacket constituted a full-on media meltdown that lasted twice as long.
Sometimes a dress is just a dress, and a Manolo is just a Manolo. The press’s obsession with trying to turn every pair of sneakers and sunglasses into Yas Queen or Eat the Rich moments are what let the outgoing first lady play the media like a marionette doll. So maybe let’s just cut the cultishness, either in vilifying or deifying, our politicians down to the collars they wear.