The Washington Post has a profile of Cindy McCain by Libby Copeland today. The article does a good job of describing her as apparently everything a president’s wife should be: demure, shy, “half-apologetic,” and “perfect.” Yes, they literally used the words “perfect” and “perfection” to describe her.
But a presidential candidate’s spouse that’s shy and uncomfortable speaking in public, might more often be viewed that as a liability and not an asset. But regardless of whether or not “perfection” is defined by impeccable manners, riding horses, and studying dance, it seems that that’s only one way that someone can be perfect. That version of perfection is rooted in antiquated stereotypes about how women should be quiet, speak when spoken to, and never express an opinion too loudly (if at all).
Cindy McCain’s version of perfection reeks of days gone by. A friend is quoted in the article as saying, “She told me many times that she wanted to be the perfect wife and mother.” There’s nothing wrong with making family a priority in life, but her sheer use of the word perfection suggests that such a thing actually exists. By holding herself to such a standard (unfortunately, a lot of women still believe that they can and will be perfect wives and mothers) she surely lives a very miserable life. With all that pressure of attaining “perfection,” McCain must be exhausted.
The article has very little dirt on McCain (perhaps due to a lack of reporting — I thought the rule when you were writing a profile is that you had to find at least one person that was willing to say something bad about your subject). Perhaps the author was trying to contrast McCain’s persona against her prescription drug addiction and clearly fraught marriage to John, but Copeland really does oversell the perfection bit. McCain obviously isn’t perfect. No one is. I think if Copeland had acknowledged that, the profile might have been less annoying and more realistic.Cross posted on pushback.