Fashion Statement

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
May 5 2009 2:36 PM

Fashion Statement

Willa , I tried clicking through that Costume Institute Gala slide show , and got ... bored. You'll be shocked (shocked!) to learn that I am no one's idea of fashionable. There are many reasons I live up here in the land of the bluestockings . Among them: Here, I can get away with dressing in a combination of Goodwill, Gap, and Ann Taylor (that last saved for my high-end items: black pants).

But flipping through the frippery did make me think of a film event I attended this winter at Brandeis, featuring Alan Alda and Kate Beckinsale-who, you will also not be shocked to know, is the opposite of my type. (Cf: Rachel Maddow .) It drove me crazy how Beckinsale kept wriggling in her seat, showing off her death-defying heels, legs, and all-but-exposed breasts from first one angle and then another. We've got the point , I texted dryly to my prosecutor. She should sit still now and let my hero Alan Alda speak. My gal texted right back, "Your job is being smart. Her job is being beautiful. Let her do her job."

E.J. Graff is a contributing editor at American Prospect and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.