Concentrating on the Essential

How the Venezuela twittersphere sees this picture

Shortly after Mr Trump tweeted that infamous picture, the twittersphere criolla knew right away what it needed to fixate on: it wasn’t Trump’s awkward thumbs up, or Rubio’s fake smile or even Pence’s strange body language. Of course not. The wrongest of the wrong was Lilian’s blouse. I mean, does Lilian even know the rule? You think about your blouse before you go to the White House, pana.

Jokes about her looks were quick and memes flooded our feeds.

Don’t get me wrong, there are probably a million reasons why you want to criticise Lilian’s visit to the White House, but fixating on her outfit does not make you any better. I repeat, going down the sexist route does not make you better. I bet if it had been Timoteo Zambrano the one visiting Trump, no one would be discussing his looks, his weight or suit. We would be just discussing his terrible ideas and how wrong he is all the time, amirite?

This sort of sexist online storm is not new. Back in 2005 when Maria Corina shook hands with George Bush (no comments here) online media was fixated with her skirt, which apparently was deemed too short (as if she was 12 and partying at a guerra de minitecas) and her sandals were too ‘inappropriate’ to wear near Mr Danger.

No one paid attention to the fact that she held a presser at the White House lawn, for example. No way, people were just too busy looking at her toes and wondering if she had a proper pedi.

I’m no expert here, but I think if you’re invited to the White House it’s safe to assume you were smart enough to pull some strings, you built an influential network and you have some important shit to say. Unless you have a vagina, then all we’ll talk about is how you look. 


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  1. An uphill battle if there ever was one, but a battle that needs to be fought every day. Sexism and pettiness are despicable on their own accord. Both of them together can be vomit-inducing.

  2. Pettyness is the defense of those that know they lost the argument. An example is this offensive attempt at snark from a tool, I mean, “journalist”, from Think Progress:

    (See girls, being a sexist pig is A-OK when you are a progressive, you know?)

    Also, I find more repulsive that the people whining about Tintori talking with the eeevil Trump…are the ones supporting negotiations with the Chaverment. Cowards and sellouts, the whole of them.

  3. When there’s no backup to sustain a claim, there’ll be personal attacks, and that’s just one reason of why chavismo won’t ever win their so called “war of ideas”

  4. Right you are. I’m looking at a photo op with a president who says torture works, the press is an enemy to the country, massive voter fraud of which there is no evidence threatens to undermine the state, arbitrary detention at Gitmo was a good thing, opponents are a threat to national security, and judges who stand in my way are illegitimate, as well as being the ugliest and worst dressed president in memory, and wondering: the outfit matters? Really?

    • Because the only ones bashing on Trump are opposition people (Starting with the MUD, which made no sense since the opposition’s goal is the end of chavista regime), chavistas are deathly scared from even poking an insult to him (Delcy’s hyperreaction was just her own stupid at work)

      Maduro’s claiming that all of the responsibility falls on some nebulous entity called “fascist Miami right wing snob oligarchy”, which sounds as idiotic as everyother thing he spews, taking care at every sentence not to say anything that might bother Trump.

      That would be for a number of reasons, maybe Maduro knows that Putin’ll choose USA instead of Venezuela any day of the week once they agree to leave Russia to annoy and harrass everybody there at Eastern Europa (Remember the snatching of Crimea or the cluster missiles in Syria?), so the chavista regime wants to be in “friendly terms” with Trump so that the flow of russian garbage doesn’t get interrupted, as it’s another source of guisadera for the kleptocrats here in Venezuela.

      As I said in the other topic, if this is the “pragmatist” approach, then so be it, after all, the “pragmatists” here in Venezuela have insisted in the cohabitation with the criminal dictatorship and in never expelling incredibly nocive figures like Rosales and Falcón who are brazen sellouts to the regime (Or Torrealba who also went browbeating people to the dialogue too), or wanting to force the people to ally with scum like marea socialista which is composed of guisadores sin guiso, and all in the name of prolonging chavismo for as much as humanly possible, regardless of the murders and the hate flung towards the opposition people in Venezuela.

  5. Maybe it would have been more respectable and appropiate (!!) for her to dress like our so dapper ‘Delcy’ or fashionably glamorous like Ivanka Trump, of course she OUGHT to have dressed more formally and decorously , after all she was bowled over at meeting the Leader of the Free World . Instead she dressed as if she didnt care what clothes she wore , very simply but nice …… someone who doesnt have time for that kind of frivolous concern having her brave husband locked up in a tyrants prison ……!! Her clothes were exactly right !! Also no smiley face ……..she is a suffering mother and wife …..!! Thats one smart gal !!

  6. Ana, your frivolous and dumb comments about dressing styles here are simply stupid, if I may say. Try having your husband in JAIL for 3 years. And then, perhaps, open your mouth.

  7. I bet that if Timoteo Zambrano had gone to the white house with a german outfit, with a clown suit or with a kimono you’d wrote a piece criticizing his outfit and how informal and insulting it was.
    Besides, Trump is a known machist and former owner of a beauty pageant, she should have wore something better to give a better display, i’m not saying she is stupid for that, but those details are not to be disregarded

    • But that’s not a costume, or a misguided “atuendo tipico” like a ‘german outfit’ or a kimono. It’s just a damn top. Just like Maria Corina’s skirt was just a skirt. You might think it’s an ugly top, but that shouldn’t be the thing to point out and discuss about Lilian Tintori meeting with Trump. The thing to point out is the strings she must have had to pull to get in there, and Marco Rubio’s strings, and the possible implications. Her outfit should be the last thing on the list of significant things, and yet it’s what seemed to matter most. That’s what the writer is on about.

      • If you are anoyed because people comment on the clothing styles then you should probably quit social media, obviously people will talk about that awful shirt, even if there are better things to comment, and she likely wore that shirt so that people commented it.
        Btw I have absolutely nothing against Maria Corina’s skirt, it looks great.

        • I don’t think it’s about ‘being annoyed’, but about pointing out what people’s priorities for discussing this event are. The equivalent of menswear would have been a button-down shirt in a colour that isn’t terribly flattering and dockers-type trousers. Something that isn’t a suit, but still dressed up – smart casual. I doubt (and the author argues) that had it been a man wearing less than a suit but more than a t-shirt, it would have garnered such attention for the outfit alone.
          It isn’t about what is or isn’t annoying to specific people on social media, but about pointing out systemic issues in how the public tends to view women vs how they view men.

  8. Apart from the strange lace-clothed arms, I think her black elbow cuffs were meant to be mourning arm bands, her black wrist cuffs were meant to be manacles, and her even stranger black link suspenders were meant to look like chains–all evoking the state in which her husband is imprisoned….

  9. I am not very good at fashion and don’t know if how she dressed was appropriate or not. I have an impression that it was quite an informal setting. I agree people should definetly not focus on how she dresses.

    But I don’t know in which world feminists live that men are not criticized by the way they dress. No one ever made fun of Fidel Chávez Adidas jackets? Or the Chávez ones with the Venezuelan flag? Seriously?

    • Castro’s Adidas jackets noted the incredible hypocrisy of being “communist and anti american” while using american brands.

      Chávez’s three-colored jackets had him stealing the national colors for himself, trying to appear as “I’m Venezuela” which was an absurd lie, because he was an agent of an invading force, a coupster, an genocide and a traitor to Venezuela.

      They both deserved every single turd flung in their murderous faces.

    • Tal cual! The reactions to this post are pretty much making your point, Ana. Tristemente, nos queda taaaanto por avanzar en esta sociedad…

      In the end, though, one thing remains true: The only two Venezuelans who’ve scored meetings in the White House on an official capacity in the past two decades have been…. women. Molestele a quien le moleste.

      • Emiliana, there where others in the room…Venezuelan men. One of them read your article in The Nation (because I sent it to him). He liked it and he did let you know.

      • Tintori and Corina are probably the bravest and most inspirational leaders in the Americas, probably in the whole world. But to reduce them to their gender is quite unfair and doesn’t do justice to their exceptional qualities. They are far more than just ‘women’. Gender is something without any merit, we are born like that. It’s like looking in the mirror and being very proud for the color of your eyes.

        • This: “Tintori and Corina are probably the bravest and most inspirational leaders in the Americas”. Explains much, if not all, the failure of the MUD to make a difference.

          • Yes, you are right, MUD’s failure to make a difference can be explained in their poor moral judgement, their terrible choices, the respect they nurture for people that want to kill them only because they both share the same ideology: the fact that they want to dialogue with Maduro, but not with Trump; that they want to listen to Hillary Clinton, but not MCM.

            Just hear that guy Torrealba speaking for five minutes on his radio show and you will understand why Venezuela is in such state. I bet they begged for Tintori to not meet with Trump. And will probably punish her for that now.

            They love their ideology more than they love their own people. It’s incredibly sad.

          • There are those who are already flinging poop to Tintori for daring to go outside MUD’s “we hate Trump, period” program:

            “Stupid picture with the most hated man in the world, nailed sentence against Leopoldo, enough of this madness.”

            “I’m hurt by the confirmation of Leopoldo’s sentence. VP’s direction is responsible of this for the offbeat visit to Trump! Enough!”

            “Trump is the world’s most hated man. Taking a picture with him nailed Leopoldo’s sentence, enough of this imbecility.”


            Mocking and calling Tintori from imbecile to down, and the guy claims he appreciates LL, what would he say if he didn’t like him? As the saying goes: “Please, comrade, don’t help me”

      • “The only two Venezuelans who’ve scored meetings in the White House on an official capacity in the past two decades have been…. women. Molestele a quien le moleste.”.

        I doubt that there is a single person in the country who is annoyed because of that.

        • Every mysoginistic imbecile is chewing on his elbows for that, because not even the corpse could “yell his four truths” to any american president, ever.

          • “I doubt that there is a single person in the country who is annoyed because of that.

            I doubt they’re rattled by this kind of thing.”

            I know what your point is, but you’re wrong, at least 8/10 of the country cares about it, so the whole “I don’t care” idea falls apart.

            In fact, if it was such an “unimportant” thing and Tintori would be such a “1%” as César Rondón tried to discredit MCM some days ago, implying that the “1%” thing is enough to invalidate any idea the person might propose, then why the hate campaign against them? Why the regime takes so much work to attack those women then if they are so unimportant?

            Because there ARE people that do care about what they are saying, they’re not as inexistent as the regime (And some imbeciles in the so-called oppositoon) would wish them to be.

  10. Frivolity is about making a big deal of things that really dont matter that much compared to others of more substantive significance , like when Heidegger upon being asked about hitler (in the thirties) answered ‘doesnt he have beautiful hands’……showing concern about Mrs Lopez clothes while visiting President Trump is a frivolity …but then making it the centre piece of a blog article on the silliness of such concern is also kind of frivolous when compared to other topics currently in the news…..

    I was for instance very impressed with Ms Duartes brilliant piece in the Atlantic on how do you tackle the problem that the US media is in the midst of a Trump bashing feast (his antics are so provocatively juicy) and that implies the peril that if he does come out in favour of doing something about Venezuelans plight, our cause may suffer because of his endorsement !!

    Now thats something which reallly deserves a lot of attention !!

  11. It’s President Trump, not Mr Trump. The thumb up is not awkward, it’s his signature. Rubio is smiling cause he’s having dinner with the president. I dont get your Pence remark.

    Waste of time to be blogging this. In America, criticizing fashion and looks in this context is not serious or relevant. The press secretary deserved his criticism but to go after Lilian is part sour grapes and silly.

    • This ‘third wave feminism’ reminds me of my time in school, when the teacher would divide the class in half for some games, boys on the right, girls on the left. There are adults that can never overcome that phase.

      Ana feels glad to criticise the men in the picture — all of them fighting to free her people, mind you — for silly reasons, but she feels annoyed when people do the same with Tintori. Why? Because she is a woman, the so-called ‘sorority’ unites her and Tintori.

      Ana, be careful to not become what you despise. You are dangerously close to that.

      • Where is there any criticism of the men in the picture, in her post? What she’s drawing attention to is what she sees as sexist commentary on the photo.

        • Here is her criticism of the men: “it wasn’t Trump’s awkward thumbs up, or Rubio’s fake smile or even Pence’s strange body language.”

          • Yes I see. In illustrating the double standard, the author is guilty of reverse sexism and has come close to becoming the thing she despises. Got it. Kind of like Batman by Breitbart.

            What Marc is describing is also called “reverse discrimination”, which includes the negative description of privileged groups by historically disempowered or marginalized groups.

            A negative comment on Trump’s weird appearance by a woman is in this way, an attack on Marc, because it undermines a world view in which Marc’s worth has nothing to do with his appearance, but his arguments and insights about all manner of things including “third wave feminism”. In this way, the author is doing something dangerous, or nasty.

            Does this matter to the future of Venezuela? I think it does. I think inclusiveness, and the perspectives that come with inclusiveness, have some significant relationship with the troubles facing the opposition.

  12. Is it possible that the women are paying much more attention to this than the men are? Going back to the very first time I saw the photo, I briefly thought that Lilian’s blouse was odd for the setting. Then, I considered that the meeting and photo-op were probably just a chance opportunity and that she probably hadn’t had time to go back to the hotel room and change. After that, I just put it out of my mind… not important… other considerations were far more important to think about. Until everyone started talking about it… 🙁

  13. Changing the conversation a bit. What came out of the meeting Tintori, Ledesma and others had with US Government representatives. Haven’t really seen anything on it, or perhaps I’ve been looking in all the wrong places.

  14. I don’t understand the criticizm of the dress of the women visiting the White House but I equally cannot fathom the comments about the fake smile etc. When I look at the infamous picture I see a woman fighting for her husband and her family and for freedom. Why look beyond those tragic circumstances?

  15. Well, this will simply continue to be the case as long as there are more kinds of “business-wear” available for women. Come to think of it, the emails we all got at work telling us not to wear Uggs… How often do you see a dude in Uggs?

    (Good call on the track suits, commenter, lol.)

  16. “Don’t get me wrong, there are probably a million reasons why you want to criticise Lilian’s visit to the White House”

    Nope. Not even one.

  17. Frivolity draws only frivolous people, if you paid attention to those frivolous comments on twitterland then you are guilty of the very thing you are criticizing.

    De pana, I don’t see the point of doing this sort of ridiculous post.

    • if anyone pointing out the frivolity of a piece is by virtue of such observation also guilty of frivolity then whoever criticizes such observation is in turn guilty of frivolity and incurrs in a never ending circular argument which lacks logical coherence …..!!

      • nice try.

        My issue is with people that pays attention to things that ultimately nobody cares, and yet insists on diverting the conversation to an unproductive quarrel.

        I can tell you, my facebook and twitter feed is full of stuff about Venezuela, and the sort of posts that criticizes Tintori’s outfit has yet to appear on my feed, which means this is just pure BS.

        My guess is that the writer lives someplace other than Venezuela and as such can afford the luxury on focusing on thing that nobody gives a fuck about, even as they attempt to squash a behavior they involuntarily contributes.

  18. Ana I completely agree with you. People have to be reminded of this double standard.

    Also, it really bugs me when Emi writes one of her classic articles and then so many men to show their “admiration,” even if with good intentions, say they want to marry her, or that she’s the woman of her dreams. From what I’ve read, I never see people doing the same and proposing to Quico. Can we see her as the journalist she is instead of as a woman you’d like to marry?

  19. Well, it has been too long and now Chronicles bring the sexist card for their beloved republican achievers Lillian and Maria Corina. Lillian is right to be looking for an exit for her husband, Maria Corina got the shot for the before-Trump most hated president just near the end of presidency. I have nothing against them, I don´t like both pictures because it is a way of saying “I´ll look for other bad guys to attack our local bad guys’. It is like gaining access to Erdogan (little monster) because he said something wrong about Chavez and Maduro, or being against Trump and taking a selfie with an ISIS guy. Lets remember the youngster who wrote this small article that the “piernitas de María Corina’ bit sent a great journalist and writer, Milagros Socorro, out of view due to death threats against her and her daughter, no sexism, just plain simple death threats. Don’t like freedom of speech? Get your selfie with Trump. Think the world is too misoginistic? Get your photo with pram-lover Iris Varela. We will make fun of them. Those selfies send a wrong message and actually ridiculing them makes the picture and message less wrong, more like “it happened”. Let me also remind you the campaign where people joked about Trump’s hands because it meant a small dick, no sexism whatsoever. It is politics and I tell you mocking the pictures has no sexism, it just tries to humanize people that do not quite understand the weird message they are saying with their selfies or their fake posed pictures. And please, oh please! do not use the ‘sexism’ card so soon. That is for when you know that you are wrong at some point but want to win the argument anyway (like when you are married).


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