This past Newsweek cover of Presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann, shows the unfair portrayals of female politicians in the media. While Publisher of Newsmax, Christopher Ruddy, reasonably displays Bachmann as a lady of office, Newsweek Editor-in-Chief, Tina Brown’s choice of an unflattering picture depicts Bachmann as an insane politician. As if the photo isn’t weird enough, the article entitled “Queen of Rage,” presents a propagated notion of instability and lunacy, whereas “Heartland Warrior” better describes her candidacy.
Bachmann’s Newsweek scandal is only the most recent of sexist subjections. Rooted in what seems to be the Madonna verses whore syndrome, society continues to allow the media to degrade women without concern. Thankfully, the National Organization of Women declared the cover misogynistic, but where are the rest of the feminists?
The list of unfair projections is growing with every women who steps into the political arena. As soon as a powerful, strong, intelligent woman surfaces as a leader, the media immediately attempts to destroy her reputation. From the 1st Vice Presidential candidate, Geraldine Ferraro, who was thought to have mafia relations, Hillary Clinton, who was portrayed as an unattractive obscene Presidential contender, and Nancy Pelosi, who’s facial features have been criticized, to Sarah Palin, who’s intellect and family life was demoralized, Christine O’Donnell, who was characterized as a promiscuous witch, Meg Whitman, who was unjustifiably called a “whore” by political opponent, Jerry Brown, Jan Brewer, who was labeled a racist for wanting to protect her state from illegal immigration, and Nikki Haley, who was accused of extramarital affairs during her 2010 campaign – these women have been torn apart on matters unrelated to the real issues they were fighting to solve.
Although women have the same rights and opportunities as men, the glass ceiling still exists and the belittlement of women in government positions still remain an inequitable factor. With only 17 percent women in US Congress and 22 percent as State elected officials, those with influential power, like Tina Brown, need to eliminate sexism from their publications and encourage more women to run for office. Regardless of political ideology, facts should be the focal point of discussion.
Why is it that after years of battling the male superiority complex, we have internal female saboteurs who are suppressing the evolution of women? What do they expect to gain by knocking their own? Have we forgotten that we only gained the right to vote 80 years ago, fought for equality 40 years ago, and are still overcoming barriers within the system today? Woman are the real minority.
As someone a part of the younger generation, it’s discouraging to see women who have worked so hard to be successful shredded by their peers not on the basis of political issues, but on personal qualities. The process of having to withstand brutal attacks is now something to consider before wanting to help this country, and as a result, the selflessness needed to be of aid is burdened by subconscious insecurities. In the news industry, where men out number women 4 to 1, female publishers, editors, and reporters should be more sensitive to this unbalanced issue.
It’s not about sides, it’s about awakening the feminine and joining in the rejuvenation of sisterhood.