The XX Factor

On Kagan’s Body Language: Cosmo or WaPo?

Hanna, I agree with you about your assessment of Washington Post style writer Robin Givhan : Generally, I love her work, but think she went off the deep end with her piece on Kagan yesterday . Givhan descends into Cosmopolitan territory with her discussion of Kagan’s body language. In fact, if you look at Givhan’s piece next to a Cosmopolitan primer on ” How to Get Hit On All the Time ,” there are notable similarities:

Givhan: “Bland equals responsible. Matronly equals trustworthy.”

Cosmo : “Single shades convey more power and trustworthiness: Solid colors equal a solid person.”

Givhan: “Kagan sits, in her sensible skirts, with her legs slightly apart, hands draped in her lap. … She is intent on being comfortable.”

Cosmo : “Lean on the bar with one arm so you don’t look rigid or uncomfortable. The stiffer you stand, the more you look like you don’t want to be bothered.”

Givhan: “She walked with authority and stood up straight during her visits to the Hill, but once seated and settled during audiences with senators, she didn’t bother maintaining an image of poised perfection. She sat hunched over. She sat with her legs ajar.”

Cosmo : “Don’t cross your ankles in front of you-it tells guys you’d rather be someplace else.”

Kagan is wearing solids, she’s comfortable, she’s not crossing her ankles: By Cosmo ‘s (ridiculous) estimation, those male senators should be eating out of her hand by the end of her confirmation hearing!

Photograph of Elena Kagan by Alex Wong/Getty Images.