Maybe it's downright sexist of me, but I don't usually hightail it to the women's glossies when I want a dose of political punditry. But Glamocracy, a new political blog launched by Glamour, makes me wonder about the untapped political potential in the passion-for-fashion rags. I know there's always been good journalism hidden in the back half of many women's magazines. Still, these tend more toward human interest pieces and personal essays. But political editorials, horse-race analysis, up-to-the-minute news? You usually need to look elsewhere, to publications whose primary departments don't include fashion "Do's and Don'ts."
The idea behind Glamocracy is simple but deft. Five women from different backgrounds (but all within the youngish Glamour demographic) blog weekly on the 2008 elections. Amanda Carpenter, a 25-year-old reporter for conservative Web site TownHall.com, and Asma Hasan, a 33-year-old Muslim-American who describes herself as a moderate and currently registered Republican, fill out the right flank, while Fernanda Diaz, a student from Columbia University and first-time voter, and Caille Millner, a 28-year-old African-American editorialist for the San Francisco Chronicle and unabashed Barack Obama booster, make up the left. Only Rebecca Roberts, a 37-year-old journalist (and daughter of pundit Cokie Roberts), claims journalist's license and resists showing her political undergarments.
One curious thing I noted was that, so far, despite the range of the writers' political views, the posts seem focused exclusively on the Democratic scene. This makes me wonder if such concerns reflect Glamour girl demographics or something else. Could it be that the group isn't as politically balanced as it first appears? Or perhaps, sensing that the Democratic primary offers more potential drama, the bloggers are naturally following the scent of fresh blood.
Either way, it's a clever move when an estimated 25 percent of the voters are 18-29 and an increasing number of those younger voters are actively following the presidential elections.
Though the blog launched only a week or so ago, it's a compelling read so far -- smart without the typical wonkery that might drive a Glamour reader to (heaven forfend!) the dark side of the Cosmo. Diaz's post -- about the candidates acting as if the youngest voters are "exotic animals" requiring full-time youth-outreach specialists and MTV-style events while regularly ignoring the international issues -- taught me something I didn't know. As might be expected, though, there's plenty about candidates' wives and daughters. So far, mercifully, there's not a single fashion do or don't.