By Tamera Adams
tadams@nationaljeweler.com

At a recent Democratic presidential debate, University of Las Vegas-Nevada student Maria Luisa Parra-Sandoval asked Sen. Hillary Clinton if she preferred diamonds or pearls. Posing a fashion-related question to the only female candidate in the presidential race earned the political science major more criticism than accolades.


The New York Times Politics Blog reported that Parra-Sandoval indicated on her My Space page and in an interview that CNN had rejected several other substantive questions she had submitted. This made me think that the question alluding to the Senator's style of dress was intended to be an opening question.


Maybe the unheard yet relevant portion of the question went something like: "You say you love them both, yet you seem to wear one more than the other. Is that because you consider pearls to be a more subtle expression of femininity, and you believe that an overt display could negatively impact your campaign?" If given the chance, maybe Parra-Sandoval could've combined the topic of fashion and politics to demonstrate a more respectable level of intelligence.
   
Sen. Clinton's "I want both" response to the actual question raised an eyebrow because I have never noticed her wearing diamonds. Perhaps donning a girl's best friend while trying to project a desexualized image is not good politics. Although diamond jewelry is now popular among men, traditionally the flashy gem and any man with an abundance of it were labeled feminine.


If Hillary thought rocking a more regal look with pearls would steer critics away from her fashion choices and earn her the same respect as her male counterparts—whom I've never read a style critique on—Parra-Sandoval's CNN-edited question certainly proved her wrong.






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