Opinion: Newsweek’s sexism and Sarah Palin


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The frat boys at Newsweek were probably chugging some brewskies when they came up with the idea for this cover. How pathetic. I don’t care whether this is done to a woman who is conservative or moderate or liberal. A Democrat, a Republican, a Green Party member or a Libertarian. It’s sexist as hell. ‘The problem,’ with Sarah Palin, is what? That she’s fit and attractive? Are they kidding?

There are legitimate reasons to disagree with her politics and her positions on issues. But this is not the way. (On the other hand, if it turns out that she’s actually wearing pantyhose with her running shoes in this photo, consider this defense null and void.)


Anyway, I may be underestimating Newsweek’s cynicism in using a photo the ex-governor of Alaska posed for when she was featured in Runners’ World. Pictures of pretty women sell magazines, so maybe that’s all it really cares about.

Here’s Editor Jon Meacham’s defense of the photo:

We chose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover, which is what we always try to do,” Meacham said. ‘We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard.’
Right. I’m not a regular reader of Newsweek so maybe he’s telling the truth. Maybe Newsweek really has run lots of out-of-context covers trivializing male political figures because of their looks.

-- Lisa Richardson