Ann Romney’s Private Shopping Struggles

I cannot imagine the pressures political candidates and their families endure during a campaign, and I despise the fact that many news outlets exploit candidates’ families, even children. So I sympathize with Ann Romney’s preference to shop privately at the posh Fiandaca store in Worth Avenue, Palm Beach, which was closed for her shopping needs for four hours last Saturday.

Certainly it helps to be friends with the designer-owner Alfred Fiandaca, and I would have done the same thing if one of my friends were a possible first lady candidate. He just wanted his dear friend to shop in peace, without those pesky interruptions from the onlookers.

Of course I am sure the other customers who had to wait patiently –and some not so patiently- outside of the store- for four hours that Saturday, did not mind. After all, it is the Worth Avenue and one must know their worth to be able to shop there.

This surely is in stark contrast with the image of “everyday folks” Romney campaign is trying very hard to convey about Romneys. Mrs. Romney looked nothing like a “struggling homemaker” while privately shopping in that exclusive store where the prices start as little as a weekly salary of a middle class working woman.

Besides the pricing which we know Mrs. Romney can afford, there is another side of the entire situation makes me more jaded as a feminist; Fiandaca’s view of the women in general.

Although Fiandaca started his career as a Haute Couture designer at the early 1960s, “political wife” dressing became a his specialty after his first prestigious political wife Jennie Volpe, spouse of the newly elected Massachusetts Republican Governor John Vople, commissioned a gown for the 1960 inaugural ball and a suit for the swearing-in ceremony.

According to, Alfred Fiandaca said in a recent interview. “In the early 1960s, I dressed women who were possessions. My women wore my clothes as the flags of their husbands’ wealth, as if to say: This is my wife. Look at her. This is how wealthy I am.”

While Mr. Romney promoted “dignity of work” for women on welfare -of course his views are subject to change any given day depend on political expediency- , his wife’s choice of designer is undermining the idea of career minded, independent working women. After all, women’s liberation ought to start with financial independence. What is the message we send to our young girls and boys when a wife is considered a “possession” to brag about your wealth?

Maybe Mrs. Romney is not aware of the designer’s sexist stance towards women, and some of you might consider it besides the point that Mrs. Romney is not a struggling mother, and definitely nothing like a working mother whose daily concerns involve making or having enough money to pay for her family’s basic expenses.

And no, we are not “envious” of Mrs. Romney’s ability to shop in Worth Avenue. Like Stanislav Grof once said “At a time when unbridled greed, malignant aggression, and existence of weapons of mass destruction threatens the survival of humanity, we should seriously consider any avenue that offers some hope.” And so let it be Worth Avenue for Ann Romney.