05/31/2005: Using The Cover of a Woman's Skirt…
Ladies First by Rebecca Mead (New Yorker) in writing about the political cache of Mrs. Laura Bush:
"....Her willingness to express a dissonant opinion, however, does not amount to a shedding of wifely coverings; indeed, the reception she received in Jerusalem—where she was heckled by irate Jews and angry Palestinians—suggests that Blackstone’s dictum about wives being incorporated and consolidated into the person of their husbands holds firm in her case. Having hoarded the capital of her personal popularity for years by declining to enter the political fray, she is now able to spend it to salvage her husband’s approval rating, which is currently at forty-seven per cent. The newly opinionated Laura Bush is no more her own woman than she was while smilingly mute.
Rather, she has been transformed from a femme couverte into a member of a category that Blackstone did not identify: what might be referred to as a femme couvrante—a wife who covers for her embattled husband, concealing his weaknesses with her own quiet force. Her measured outspokenness, while seeming to be at odds with the White House line, is less an expression of marital difference than it is a dutiful form of marital compensation. In conversation with reporters during her Middle East trip, Mrs. Bush said of the recent anti-American rioting and demonstrating in Muslim nations, “You can’t blame it all on Newsweek,” a comment rightly deemed newsworthy, given that the President’s official mouthpieces were doing just that. But she stopped short of saying the further truth: that you might blame at least some of it on her husband, the man under whose wing, protection, and cover the entire country currently quails."
Karen on 05.31.05 @ 07:59 AM CST