Regarding Marco Rubio's Booties

MARCO RUBIO'S BOOTIES

I'm not political in any way or form. However, I work in an office where colleagues get emotional over the subject. How do I react? Well, I roll my eyes and get back to stapling invoices or join the hipster interns at the water cooler. I'm a bit ashamed to admit my lack of political interest. After all, I should care about the people who are essentially taking major decisions affecting my life on various levels.

You see over the pond, British politics, or more specifically our politicians, are deeply dull. It's no wonder I feel so disengaged. The sight of bickering charmless politicians (usually straight white men) hoodwinking each other for public affections is tedious. My simple mind keeps wondering why politicians can't all be on team humanity or at the very least team LGBT. Meh! I know what you're thinking: Dream on, Princess.

I've recently taken more of an interest American politics due to the increasing buzz around the upcoming presidential election. The thirst and enthusiasm demonstrated by the presidential candidates are a sight to behold. You guys are certainly subjected to more brashness, drama, and entertainment then anything found in the Houses of Parliament. So what has this British queen learnt from your recent political events? Well, in short — Democrats good, Republicans bad, and Donald Trump is all kinds of crazy.

This got me thinking about what makes a presidential candidate stand out. One word came to mind — image. Last week Republican candidate Marco Rubio's image came into question when he donned a pair of swanky high heeled boots during his campaign trail. Surprisingly, his "booties" caused a #BootGate social media storm. And by storm, I mean he was ridiculed over his supposed fleeting masculinity. Even Marco's fellow candidates Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and, of course, Trump took swipes at his "cute" footwear and insinuated it made him a soft presidential prospect (see a tweet from Cruz's communications director below). I blame social conditioning for all this narrow-mindedness. Many people simply can't move beyond the expected gender roles they were brought up with.

 

I'm of two minds on #BootGate. A part of me was bothered by the negative reactions. I felt many comments reeked of homophobia and misogyny. Heaven forbid a man in high heels ever become president. Well, I support Marco's fashion choices. Yes, you read that correctly. This British gay Asian has just shown support for a Republican. But let's not get too hasty; it's only for his right to wear awesome, "feminine" boots (and they're not even that expensive, they're Florsheim, for Pete's sake!). In my eyes, Marco's two-inch heels are the most progressive thing about him. Sadly, the same can't be said for his stance on LGBT rights.

Another part of me finds this whole ordeal exciting. Perhaps it's time for men in the public eye to be scrutinized over their fashion and image. After all, female politicians the world over have continually been burdened by criticizing eyes. It's an unfortunate fact that Hillary Clinton¹s "bad fashion choices" or Angela Markel "frumpy suits" tend to make bigger headlines than what they say.

Don¹t get me wrong, I don¹t believe anyone's attire should take precedence over their voice. But men in the media, and especially in the political sphere, are dressed with no imagination. It's all boring suits, ties, and basic shoes. Perhaps if more #BootGate episodes continue to happen, men's corporate clothing can evolve to encourage more individuality. It's about time menswear was shaken up and for men to step out in heels with dignity.

Oh, and if you're wondering who'd get my presidential vote if I lived in the land of the free? Well, I'd choose none other than nonbinary icon Jaden Smith. Sorry, Sen. Rubio.

VISH GAIKWAD is a London-living, Britney-loving "gaysian." Follow him on Twitter @vishdelishuk.
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