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Posted at 06:20 PM ET, 08/28/2012

What Women Want, in the Dr. Miriam Adelson Woman Up Pavilion


What women want. Apparently. (Alexandra Petri)
I had no idea this was what women wanted.

Since sitting down in the YG Network & Dr. Miriam Adelson* Woman Up Pavilion, just outside the GOP Convention perimeter in Tampa, I have been offered perfume, a $30 blowout and make-up change (A. Griff Designs Salon is on Woman Up retainer for the duration of the convention) and told that there is some really cute jewelry on sale. A man has come over and told me that I am muttering to myself, just like his wife and daughters! He thinks it is hilarious. In his defense, I am muttering to myself. If you saw the pink-and-red carnation arrangements next to the white pleather couches, you would be muttering to yourself too. (*Yes, she’s married to Sheldon.)

I am trying to think of a kind way of describing this place. It is all pink, red, white, and black. If Gloria Steinem died and found herself here, it would be a sign that she had not led a virtuous life.

There are pink and red carnations and roses everywhere. In vases. On chandeliers, hanging ominously in one corner, like refugees from an old-timey bordello, or shoved into an arrangement in pink and red that can best be described as a Freudian nightmare. There are numerous furry cushions with rhinestones on them. All in all, this place gives me the overwhelming urge to burn a bra.

There are also paintings of Jesus holding a copy of the Constitution and President Obama turning his back on, I think, Madison?

The YG Network is a group of four men and one woman, and one summer intern, also male. He pulled me in off the street, no doubt sensing I was female and this was what I wanted.

I apologize. Everyone here has been very nice. They kindly gave me a pink pass and a pink schedule of events. They recommended I try the pink-lit bar, where cocktails like the Woman Up-Tini, Conservative Collins, The Right Stuff Mojito, and Lady Lemonade are on sale.

Executive Director Mary Ann Carter tells me that “policies are better portrayed when women are speaking to women.” After all, men “talk so broadly, so analytically,” as Carter puts it, “with facts and figures” but they don’t address how it’s going to impact your daily life.

For instance, energy prices. Carter explains (woman to woman!) that we’ve all heard about the big issue of independence from foreign oil, but when you tell mothers that a tank of gas has gone from $26 to $42, “women could pinpoint things they just stopped doing.” For instance, you didn’t go to your cousin’s wedding.

Women don’t want to talk about energy independence, but heaven FORFEND we miss a WEDDING!

I apologize. I think the central idea that the YG movement sets out to embrace is an important one.

Their website makes a great point. “The concerns of most women do not differ dramatically from the concerns of men.” So why this furniture and these carnations and the girly cocktails? Why the pink and the blowouts? Who thinks this is necessary in order to appeal to women? If women are like this, then I’ve been doing it wrong.

“Women think more than about just contraception,” Carter says. How true that is.

We have so many more concerns than contraception. For instance, what perfume to buy, or how our nails look. I’m sorry. The decor has gotten to me. I’m sure the YG Woman Up project spends its time talking about important issues in a way that is not condescending at all. After all, as Carter notes, the financial and health-care decision-makers for millions of households. How strange that “women's issues” are restricted to questions of female anatomy. That’s just as absurd as this is.

But it is hard to hear her over the carnations.

By  |  06:20 PM ET, 08/28/2012

 
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