POLITICS

Why is Vogue so interested in how much lady lawmakers weigh?

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Yeas and Nays,Politics,Jenny Rogers

It should come as no surprise that Vogue, a fashion magazine, devotes plenty of ink to the discussion of fashion, even when profiling women with job titles like governor or senator. More surprising is the word count on what the women of Congress weigh.

Vogue apparently learned no lessons after getting slapped by critics for a puff piece on the first lady of Syria, which made extensive mention of her looks ("Asma al-Assad is glamorous, young, and very chic") but little mention of her husband Bashar al-Assad's regime. In an October profile of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the magazine includes a section on the weight gain she experienced -- after surviving cancer.

"By 2011, the only lingering effect of her treatment was weight gain brought on by the drug tamoxifen," the article (which is not online) reads. "Having 'never gained an ounce in my life,' she found herself 23 pounds heavier." It quotes Wasserman Schultz's feelings toward her weight gain and explains how she signed up with a diet company. "Seven months later," Vogue tells us, "she had lost the 23 pounds and dropped from a size 8 back to a size 2."

The interest in Wasserman Schultz's dress size might be written off as an anomaly if the magazine hadn't done the same thing in a profile of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., two years ago. Author Jonathan Van Meter pressed Gillibrand on her weight loss.

"Should I tell you? Really?" was Gillibrand's reply. Van Meter asked again. Gillibrand asked if she could tell him off the record, to which he said, "The readers of Vogue will want to know this."

Do they really? They also probably don't need speculation that she lost the weight in order to "no doubt remain attractive to her husband of nine years, who is two years younger than she is."

Nor do they need to read that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is "fit and attractive, with a face free of worry lines" (April 2012). Probably best to stick to fashion, Vogue.

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Jenny Rogers

Staff Reporter - Yeas & Nays
The Washington Examiner