WaPo's Givhan Still Givin' Medals to Marion -- For Feminist Fashion Sense

Sure, Michael Vick has admitted involvement in dogfighting. But did you see how sharp he looked in that suit on the way to the courthouse? And yes, Mark McGwire bombed at those congressional hearings with his "I don't want to talk about the past" skate on steroids, but he's the epitome of what a XXXL Abercrombie & Fitch guy can be.

Inane as those comments are, they at least have the merit of being made by me in jest. But what is Robin Givhan's excuse for her similarly silly glorification of the fashion sense of another disgraced athlete, Marion Jones? For that's exactly what the Washington Post's style maven does in her column of this morning, "Marion Jones, a Success On the Glamour Track, Too".

"Too"? Givhan's might believe that Jones was a "success" on the running track, but her legacy there is that of a liar and a cheat.

But after an opening acknowledgement of Jones's off-track travails, the rest of the column is an ode to the runner's fashion sense. In particular, Givhan celebrates Jones for reinforcing the author's feminist view, which she sums up by referring to the notion that women should look good while doing sports as "nonsense." Excerpts:
  • [S]he was also an exemplar of the beauty inherent in female strength
  • She could be both a gritty competitor and a glamourpuss -- but separately. She did not have to be a pretty athlete, a sexy sprinter or a stylish runner. She didn't glam-up her performance in the sports arena
  • It's not often that athletes such as Jones are celebrated for their beauty and grace in glossy magazines.
  • Jones's beauty registered amidst the grunting and sweating as she sprinted across the finish line without glitter makeup, a thousand hair barrettes or a costume designed by Vera Wang.
  • Jones was fascinating because she was a celebrated female athlete who showed that toughness on the track did not have to be tempered by a nod to traditional femininity.
As far as Givhan is concerned, the fact that Jones was a fraud is just a minor detail. For supporting her view of the world, the WaPo author is happy to award the disgraced athlete a gold medal for feminist fashion sense.
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.