Damn you, Newsweek, for what you make me do.

Newsweek magazine’s August 15 cover was a big, unflattering close-up of Michele Bachmann. It was a political jab, it was sexist, and it’s making me defend Michele Bachmann, which is not okay.

A lot of public anger about the cover has been directed at the photo–which is bad–but I can’t give a pass to the title: “Queen of Rage.” Queen of an uncontrolled, violent, dangerous emotion. Dick Cheney was never granted the title “King of Rage,” nor Senator Joe Wilson. But Bachmann, whose trademark isn’t rage but more a calm, reasoned delivery of some of the strangest and more unreasonable crap available, is the Republican party’s own She-Hulk.

That said, the photo is beyond unflattering, and not accidentally so. We wouldn’t be likely to see, say, any of the male Republican candidates shot from below, lit from the front, looking like they’re about to sneeze. It doesn’t matter whether or not Bachmann is still an attractive woman on the cover, although given the way she looks at public appearances, it’s an easy guess that she wouldn’t have been happy with that cover photo, had they asked her. What matters is that she doesn’t look like herself and does look spacey and misguided. With all of Bachmann’s available legitimate targets, editor-in-chief Tina Brown takes a jab at Bachmann’s appearance to make a political point in a way that she’d never do to a man.

If she wanted a cover photo with that same gaze, she had plenty of other, more flattering photos to choose from (in which “more flattering” is defined as “closer to the way Bachmann chooses to present herself publicly,” which I tend to think is her call). Their own gallery of outtakes has at least two photos that show that same Manchurian Candidate intensity without making her look like her own wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s.

Brown said, “Michele Bachmann’s intensity is galvanizing voters in Iowa right now, and Newsweek’s cover captures that.” Unless what she meant to say was, “Michele Bachmann’s evil magic mirror is controlling the minds of voters in Iowa right now,” or “Michele Bachmann’s zombie hordes are descending upon the children of Iowa right now,” their cover photo is way off and out of line.

Everything about Michele Bachmann squicks me out. Her stance on gay rights, her bizarre opposition to compact fluorescent lightbulbs, her ignorance of basic second-grade American history, her good Christian submission to her husband, everything. If I had dinner with her at the Olive Garden, I might be too disconcerted by her very presence to share a bottomless salad bowl with her. But her looks wouldn’t even rank, and it’s a cheap shot for Newsweek to bring them into it.

And thus I am pissed off: I find myself in a position to have to defend Michele Bachmann. I hated having to face off against the sexist attacks on Sarah Palin, and I hate having to do it now in defense of Bachmann. There are so many things to attack besides her appearance. On the list of things that are wrong about her, those glazed, kind of disturbing eyes are way down toward the bottom. To quote Jon Stewart last week, “You want a photo that makes her seem a little off? Make it out of her words.”

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47 Responses

  1. Becca Stareyes
    Becca Stareyes August 14, 2011 at 8:37 pm |

    Yeah, that’s a creepy photo. And, it doesn’t even look like what I’d think of as ‘Queen of Rage’ — more like ‘well, let’s pick out the photo that is most likely to unsettle our readers and create a negative impression, regardless of what it actually depicts Rep. Bachmann doing’. Which is really Not Okay, since the justification of an unflattering picture — that it illustrates and compliments the article* — falls flat when the picture is Queen of the Republican Zombie Hordes, not Queen of Rage.

    * Granted, I’m not entirely sure why Rep. Bachmann is any different from, say, Gov. Perry in terms of ‘Republican seeking the presidential nomination who have a platform which I think is garbage’. But I tend to ignore them when not taking a ‘what now?’ attitude.

  2. marnijane
    marnijane August 14, 2011 at 9:07 pm |

    I’m really not seeing the sexism here. Some ableist commentary, yes (“crazed” for instance), but i’m just not seeing the sexist vibe.

    That goes doubly after seeing her own choice of picture at the strawpoll saturday. Same sort of closeup, same odd expression. And while i agree with jon stewart’s point that there are PLENTY of things that make her unappealing and that an unflattering covershot is hardly necessary, i’m just not seeing the sexism in it.

  3. Hopeful
    Hopeful August 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm |

    Possibly a little off topic, but as long as we’re talking about sexist coverage of Michelle Bachmann from this week, I think we’d be remiss to ignore this photo at The Telegraph:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-politics/8700179/Republican-candidates-gather-for-Iowa-straw-poll.html

    The photo is only addressed with this:
    “At the state fair the following day Mr Pawlenty expertly flipped pork chops for anyone willing to eat one, while Mrs Bachmann treated herself to a foot-long corn dog(pork and chicken sausage, deep fried in batter and mounted on a stick), a local delicacy that is well nigh impossible to eat in a ladylike manner.”

  4. Darque
    Darque August 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm |

    Why are we focusing on the photo anyway? It’s hardly the first unflattering photo of a politician, male or female, that has been posted in a major media publication.

    Isn’t it more important that she’s the spokeswoman for the fringe far right of the country? Isn’t it more disturbing that mere weeks ago, she was willing to lead her fellow tea-party compatriots and the rest of the U.S. to a default on our sovereign debt?

  5. Sara
    Sara August 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm |

    I get that expectations about women’s appearance are especially stringent, and that media use unflattering pictures of women in politics as weapons perhaps more often (or more effectively) than they do for men. But still, unflattering pictures of politicians are the norm, and I honestly think they’re kind of funny. Newsweek may not be the appropriate place for it, because Newsweek frames itself as a serious news source, but I’m down with humor sources selecting crap shots of public figures for laughs.

  6. Eronarn
    Eronarn August 14, 2011 at 11:05 pm |

    That said, the photo is beyond unflattering, and not accidentally so. We wouldn’t be likely to see, say, any of the male Republican candidates shot from below, lit from the front, looking like they’re about to sneeze. It doesn’t matter whether or not Bachmann is still an attractive woman on the cover, although given the way she looks at public appearances, it’s an easy guess that she wouldn’t have been happy with that cover photo, had they asked her. What matters is that she doesn’t look like herself and does look spacey and misguided. With all of Bachmann’s available legitimate targets, editor-in-chief Tina Brown takes a jab at Bachmann’s appearance to make a political point in a way that she’d never do to a man.

    Oh come on. Did everyone forget that this happened? It wasn’t even four years ago!

    (Before anyone points out that the really bad ones weren’t used on the cover – they weren’t, but she tried to make him look worse in the ones that were.)

  7. Sex Mahoney
    Sex Mahoney August 14, 2011 at 11:41 pm |

    One important point I haven’t heard mentioned during all of this “controversy” is Michele Bachmann’s rebuttal to last year’s state of the union address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fRxO_Yx99I. She spent the entire speech staring away from the camera. The Newsweek cover didn’t do half as good a job at making Michele Bachmann appear “spacey” and “misguided” as she did to herself with that broadcast.

  8. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen August 15, 2011 at 12:02 am |

    Predictably, far-right extremists are attacking “Newsweek” for its alleged anti-GOP bias… whilst conveniently forgetting all the nice, non-crazy/non-sexy pictures of male GOPers who’ve graced the cover of “Newsweek” for years. But of course, if we point out the rather obvious anti-women tendencies in the American media, they’ll instantly do a one-eighty and claim it’s a lie perpetrated by politically correct Nazis. (Oh wait… drat, I’m turning into Captain Obvious!)

  9. Li
    Li August 15, 2011 at 12:09 am |

    So, I’m chasing down the resource that says this, but there was a study that I read about recently that basically stated that even mild sexist attacks on women politicians (such as discussion of appearance) had the same negative effects on voter’s perception of them as extreme sexist attacks. I think it’s important to note that even if both men and women in politics have unflattering photos used of them, even if both have their appearance discussed, while women have their credibility more substantially damaged by them than counterpart men, such photos and discussions will remain sexist.

    That is, if a behaviour is likely to negatively impact women more than men if I engage in it, it doesn’t matter that I’m doing it towards both men and women, it’s still sexist.

  10. karak
    karak August 15, 2011 at 2:28 am |

    It is sexist, and it’s especially sexist because they’re trying to hit that oh-so-flattering double-punch of HYSTERICAL WOMAN. We’ve talked over and over again about how the appearance of anger or intensity in women is pathologized as insanity, and so they pretty much said LOOK AT THIS ANGRY WOMAN SHE IS CRAZY (and we all know crazy people eat babies and murder pandas, instead of being people struggling with a serious mental disorders or maybe just not buying into our fucked-up social system). Not, she is wrong, or her politics are grotesque, or even, she’s immensely stupid and smells like poo. No, they had to use people’s prejudices against strong women and the mentally ill to create a new, ugly monster.

    It’s not okay. Even if it was a complete, stupid accident IT’S STILL NOT OKAY in the same way the Gaga/Kanye pictures weren’t okay because someone, somewhere should have the brains to look at the photo and the caption and wonder about what’s it really communicating.

  11. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays August 15, 2011 at 2:31 am |

    I have to hold my nose while doing this, but yes, the cover was sexist, and yes, it’s not acceptable. Also, Tina Brown uses cheap sexist shots a lot to get her point across, so really, Ms Brown, stop being such a hack.

    As a journalist this kind of stuff is frustrating because Bachmann, like Palin, is a veritable goldmine of issues to potentially take a shot at. Her stated policies are illogical and, well, kind of stupid. Her relationship with her husband is creepy and a potential disqualifier for public office. She publicly patted herself on the back for being from the same town as John Wayne, when she’s actually from the same town as John Wayne Gacy. A politically credible genius she is not, so why go after her looks of all things when there are so many other fronts on which to discredit her?

    It’s not just sexist, it’s also lazy. And it risks making people sympathize with her who otherwise might not do so.

  12. titfortat
    titfortat August 15, 2011 at 5:43 am |

    It’s not just sexist, it’s also lazy.(Cass)

    Here I was thinking ‘lazy’ had something to do with this post.

  13. ellid
    ellid August 15, 2011 at 6:24 am |

    Yes, the picture was unflattering. But Michele Bachmann is a dangerous, dangerous woman who has a real chance to become President. As far as I’m concerned, all gloves should be off when it comes to examining her, her theocratic beliefs, her hatred of anyone and anything who isn’t straight, and her – dare I say it? – insane adherence to principles that most of the country abhors. If that cover convinced one person to dig a bit deeper to learn what Bachmann *really* thinks, good on Tina Brown.

  14. wev
    wev August 15, 2011 at 6:41 am |

    I love how some people in here seem to think sexism is a-okay as long as it’s aimed at women we don’t like.

  15. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin August 15, 2011 at 6:45 am |

    I suppose I still believe the American people should make decisions themselves. When the media jumps in to play kingmaker (or queenmaker) it is often in ways that are offensive and misguided.

  16. Doc G
    Doc G August 15, 2011 at 7:04 am |

    I prefer the New Yorker’s tactic, which was to explain a little bit about some of the things Bachmann actually believes. For instance, it interested me greatly to learn that Bachmann did not, in fact, make a mistake when she claimed that the Founding Fathers were against slavery, including the ones that owned slaves. That assertion is part of a revisionist history take on the role of Christianity in the Civil War that she ACTUALLY BELIEVES IN. Check out the article if you want to have your pants scared off.

  17. Opie Curious
    Opie Curious August 15, 2011 at 7:05 am |

    You know who else could be described this way?

    “whose trademark isn’t rage but more a calm, reasoned delivery of some of the strangest and more unreasonable crap available”

    Ronald Reagan.

    Note two things. 1) That’s frightening as hell on its own as a precedent. 2) Find me any non-ideological media outlet that would have described Reagan, or would describe him retrospectively, as “king of rage” or something similar.

  18. Richard
    Richard August 15, 2011 at 7:22 am |

    I agree, sad as it may seem to defend her, appearance should be the least of our concerns.

    I’m British so I don’t really have a great grasp on how relevant or popular Michelle Bachmann would be in the polls but it reminds me of another example; It was on a comedy panel show where the host made some disparaging remarks about the appearance of Ann Widdecomb, an MP. to which one of the panelists replied:
    “I would sort of like to say, in defence of Ann Widdecomb; The things that’s bad about her is all of her horrible views not the fact that she is ugly.”

    Essentially that’s the view I’d have to take on people like Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin or whoever the next right-wing tea-partyish politician in the media’s spotlight is.

  19. Miriam
    Miriam August 15, 2011 at 8:18 am |

    You know, I don’t see protesting this cover as “defending” Michelle Bachmann. Defending her implies actually defending her as a person, or defending her ideas. That’s not what we do when we protest this cover. Rather, we’re defending the idea that the media ought to portray people honestly. As much as I despise Bachmann and her ideas, I would rather people vote against her because they disagree with her, not because they’ve been turned against her by a sensationalist media.

  20. slim
    slim August 15, 2011 at 10:36 am |

    I have to say, I am not seeing what the difference is between this unflattering photo of a politician and countless previous unflattering photos of other politicians, both male and female. Yes, this photo presents MB as “hysterical.” But wasn’t this the way the media portrayed Howard Dean in ’04, after his “Yeaah!!” moment? And I certainly don’t remember anybody accusing Dean’s lampooners of being sexist.

    So, I dunno, can someone just explain this me, point by point, why this cover is especially sexist? I must be missing something.

  21. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable August 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm |

    slim: So, I dunno, can someone just explain this me, point by point, why this cover is especially sexist? I must be missing something.

    Like, context?

  22. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm |

    Richard:
    I agree, sad as it may seem to defend her, appearance should be the least of our concerns.

    I’m British so I don’t really have a great grasp on how relevant or popular Michelle Bachmann would be in the polls but it reminds me of another example; It was on a comedy panel show where the host made some disparaging remarks about the appearance of Ann Widdecomb, an MP. to which one of the panelists replied:
    “I would sort of like to say, in defence of Ann Widdecomb; The things that’s bad about her is all of her horrible views not the fact that she is ugly.”

    Essentially that’s the view I’d have to take on people like Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin or whoever the next right-wing tea-partyish politician in the media’s spotlight is.

    That joke is basically still criticizing Ann Widdecombe’s looks by calling her ‘ugly.’

  23. Jadey
    Jadey August 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm |

    slim: Yes, this photo presents MB as “hysterical.”

    [...]

    So, I dunno, can someone just explain this me, point by point, why this cover is especially sexist? I must be missing something.

    Yep. Definitely missing something.

  24. Gabrielle
    Gabrielle August 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm |

    YESSS THIS

  25. April
    April August 15, 2011 at 6:04 pm |

    Definitely sexist. Because no major publication ever uses ableist slurs about male politicians, pundits, and public figures, and definitely no one ever publicizes unflattering photos of them, either. We, and the media, treat male politicians and public figures with nothing but respect.

    Sorry, not buying it. The photo hardly looked “hysterical” to me (and apparently scores of other folks), and there are plenty of examples of this same thing being done to men in the media all over the place. Things aren’t sexist just because they happen to a woman.

  26. slim
    slim August 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm |

    Ok so, Amiable (22) and Jadey (24), I would really appreciate it if you could spell out your thinking on this rather than just throwing dismissive snark my way. I’m definitely open to the idea that the consensus among commenters on this blog is correct — that yes, Newsweek’s Bachmann cover is sexist, but the media’s treatment of Dean in ’04 was not sexist. But I don’t see WHY this is so. If this is such a open-and-shut case, then it should be relatively easy to explain to the non-intuitive — so, could someone please do so?

  27. karak
    karak August 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm |

    Okay, Slim, first of all, it’s not that you’re not intuitive, you’re just ignorant, petulant, and a little fucking annoying.

    I’m going to explain to you what you just did. You just walked into a sports bar. A bar with a lot of regulars and a real feeling of community and a sense that all here love sports. And there’s a spirited debate about Brett Farve, and how he went from the Packers to the Vikings, and whether or not this was okay, and people are getting really upset and into it and you keep butting in and yelling BUT THEY’RE ALL FOOTBALL I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU GUYS CARE SO MUCH ABOUT FOOTBALL AND STUFF.

    Does this help you understand that you were just a big, icky, somewhat awkward jerk? And why people respond with everything from annoyance to hostility, especially when you continue to blunder around demanding we explain things to you?

    THAT SAID. If you read my earlier comment, under the same posting name, up there at friendly #11, it pretty clearly lays out the perspective I’m coming from. When you appeal to pre-held bigotry, there’s a problem. Which is why portraying a white man as a yelling guy is just a yelling guy, but portraying a woman as crazy, angry, and hysterical has a long, dark, and deeply disturbing history. A history where women were murdered, tortured, ignored, and drugged. A appeal to the little voice in a LOT of people’s minds that tells them that angry women are irrational and silly and not as important as those nice men.

  28. slim
    slim August 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm |

    karak (28): i’m gonna ignore everything until the last paragraph.

    ok, so i guess the idea is: if there were a newsweek cover showing joe lieberman reaching covetously after a bag full of gold coins, we would call it antisemitic, regardless of whether or not previous newsweek covers portrayed non-jewish politicians the same way.

    but i dunno, what should newsweek have done different? they don’t like bachmann on political grounds — so obviously they’re not going do a flattering cover. maybe they should have avoided the word “queen”?

  29. Marie
    Marie August 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm |

    Wow…I was thinking of weighing in here but now I’m worried I’m going to get called “fucking annoying” and a “big, icky, somewhat awkward jerk” just for expressing an opinion. I’m all for passion and pointing out sexism where we see it, but is it necessary to attack people for asking for clarification?

    I abhor Michele Bachmann, and I’ve written about her so many times on my blog that I feel like I’m getting repetitive…but I have to say that I’m not convinced the cover is sexist either. I don’t think it’s accurate (I think that Sarah Palin comes off as much angrier than MB)–Bachmann is scary but is fairly calm in her scary opinions and hyperbole, but I can imagine Newsweek calling Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh “king of rage” and using a similarly unflattering photo. It’s not good journalism, but I don’t see it as outright sexist either.

    Please don’t flame me for saying that.

  30. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable August 15, 2011 at 7:44 pm |

    Tone arguments ftw

  31. Jadey
    Jadey August 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm |

    slim: I would really appreciate it if you could spell out your thinking on this rather than just throwing dismissive snark my way.

    What, was my helpful bolding of the ironic affirmation of Bachmann’s hysteria in your comment too subtle? Consider that I was using you to make a point, and not at all interested in catering to you. Your irritating presentation of yourself and your request for education failed to be persuasive – that’s your problem, not mine.

    April: there are plenty of examples of this same thing being done to men in the media all over the place

    Well, plenty of example of ableism being used against male politicians, yes, and that’s also a big problem (and also something that’s been used against Bachmann – “hysteria” is convenient two-fer of ableism and sexism!). But it’s a bit trickier to use sexism against men in the same way that it can be used against women given the whole gender disparity thing is the point. So where are the examples of men being shamed for their lack of attractiveness and attendant pictures (there was only one linked in your example and it was photo-shopped, not a magazine cover)?

  32. April
    April August 15, 2011 at 7:53 pm |

    Anyone remember this Time story on Glenn Beck?

  33. slim
    slim August 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm |

    Jadey: Good grief. What is your problem?

  34. karak
    karak August 15, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    @Marie–

    I appreciate you for how to tried to shame me for expressing my opinion of another’s person’s behavior. Without people like you to create rules on how we can be upset about sexism and be irritated at entitlement, we might never move forward.

    You have pointed out to me that anger and annoyance is icky and unseemly, and only by controlling myself can I be ever taken seriously. Kind of like Bachmann! It’s like a circle of growth and learning in here.

  35. Marie
    Marie August 15, 2011 at 8:47 pm |

    Anger and annoyance is just what we need, but do we need to be attacking each other? Seems like the anger and annoyance should be directed instead at the media and people who attack and shame women.

    I’m the type of person who can be swayed to change my mind if presented with compelling evidence…but not if I’m getting attacked for expressing a different viewpoint.

  36. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable August 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm |

    …Tone argument ftw?

  37. Tony
    Tony August 15, 2011 at 11:17 pm |

    ok, so i guess the idea is: if there were a newsweek cover showing joe lieberman reaching covetously after a bag full of gold coins, we would call it antisemitic, regardless of whether or not previous newsweek covers portrayed non-jewish politicians the same way.

    Yeah, that’s the idea, because there are interaction effects of being Jewish and seeing ‘reaching for a bag full of gold coins’ that you don’t get for non-Jewish politicians. There are implications there that make it different. When Howard Dean is called crazy and hysterical that’s ableist bullshit (and marginalization of ‘extreme’ views), but if it had been Holly Dean, there would have been an extra layer of sexist bullshit piled on top of it, it’s like a chemical reaction that blows up and becomes worse by some horrible proportion.

    And it’s by a horrible proportion because part of why sexist stereotyping is so damaging is precisely because it feeds into, reinforces, traditional myths that have been built up over hundreds, or thousands of years. So even mild sexism (see the study Li linked to above) can be very damaging because it’s interacting with very deeply ingrained pre-held prejudices that just need a tiny little shove to re-activate with full force. So it’s like adding a drop of water to a big vat of sodium. Does that make sense?

  38. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth August 16, 2011 at 12:32 am |

    I didn’t read the article, but I read “Queen of Rage” to NOT refer to Bachmann herself, but her tea party supporters. I.e., she has become successful by tapping into the support of a group of people who are very very angry about the US these days. By culling and focusing other people’s anger, she’s wrested the mantle of tea party favorite from Sarah Palin and started a viable presidential campaign. Honestly, to me, that was the most obvious reading the title. The article might prove that reading wrong, however that’s what I took away from it.

    Also…I guess unflattering is in the eye of the beholder. I couldn’t see the cover when I first read this post, and honestly I was picturing something quite different. To me it just looked like all her other campaign photos. Apparently she had eye surgery awhile back to correct a problem, and that might explain why her eyes often look a little different, but I didn’t see the Newsweek photo as highlighting that.

    I’m more than willing to get outraged against sexism towards a conservative female politician (Palin’s had a lot thrown her way, the whole Ann Coulter stuff, and I’m sure Bachmann has to deal with a lot of crap as well etc), but I really honestly don’t see it here, either in the photo or the title.

  39. Blacky
    Blacky August 16, 2011 at 6:44 am |

    Sexist coverage or not, Bachman is your future president, better get used to it.

  40. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig August 16, 2011 at 9:12 am |

    Comrade Kevin: suppose I still believe the American people should make decisions themselves. When

    Um, yeah, that’s working well. The House of Representatives is a fine collection of hard-working intelligent individuals, and Congress has never been more productive!
    Out of the last few elections, only the 2008 election suggested that the American public may be intelligent. All of the others have provided compelling evidence that democracy needs to be reconsidered.

  41. April
    April August 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm |

    Jadey: Well, plenty of example of ableism being used against male politicians, yes, and that’s also a big problem (and also something that’s been used against Bachmann – “hysteria” is convenient two-fer of ableism and sexism!). But it’s a bit trickier to use sexism against men in the same way that it can be used against women given the whole gender disparity thing is the point. So where are the examples of men being shamed for their lack of attractiveness and attendant pictures (there was only one linked in your example and it was photo-shopped, not a magazine cover)?

    There are those photos of John McCain, taken deliberately to make him look older, that someone linked to above. But I’m not really saying that examples of men being treated in this way is sexist. I’m saying that the fact that it happens so frequently to men as well as women means that a bad picture of Bachmann titled “Queen of Rage” is not sexist. It’s tacky, it’s ableist, and it adds nothing valuable to the national discourse, but it’s par for the course in US politics these days, and there’s really no convincing evidence that this was rooted in misogyny instead of a left-leaning Newsweek employee trying to make a bad joke or just be an arse.

  42. April
    April August 16, 2011 at 1:15 pm |

    Oh, I re-read that and hope I don’t seem to be excusing the ableism. Just saying that that’s what’s wrong with it, not the sexism (which I do not believe exists in this specific circumstance).

  43. slim
    slim August 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm |

    April: Is it ableist, though? The words “queen” and “rage” aren’t ableist. Yes, Newsweek rather tastelessly used a photo that makes Bachmann look strange — but not strange in a way that suggests anything along the lines of “and just as people in mental institutions are bad, so too is Michelle Bachmann bad” (or, if that’s what the photo is subtly signalling, then I’m not picking up on it).

    If they’d run a cover called “Queen of the Loonies” then I’d get where the “ableism” charge comes from. Or, if they’d used a photo of her mid-yawn, so she really appeared mentally handicapped in some way. Yeah, then I’d get it. But all I see is a tacky, unflattering, politically hackish photo. I don’t see the sexism OR the ableism.

  44. karak
    karak August 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm |

    @Slim–given that we’ve explained this to you, several times, using words both nice and mean, big and small, why we think this, to keep on hollering over and over and over and over that you disagree is… stupid.

    Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Perhaps you should… go somewhere else. I’d recommend a sports bar. But only if you’re into that kind of stuff.

  45. slim
    slim August 17, 2011 at 9:37 am |

    @karak-

    This site isn’t a club. It’s a publicly available website. Jill and her guest bloggers make their posts available to the public, and make commenting system available to the public. What’s more, both Jill and her guest bloggers frequently run posts that are clearly meant to be somewhat provocative — to stir up debate, force different sides to think through their ideas, etc.

    I note that my comments — or I guess it was really my “tone” — have ticked off you and a couple other people here. However, many others were not ticked off, and were instead moved to re-state their position, which does in fact make a lot more sense to me now, even if I still don’t entirely agree. Now, as I go back into my physical-contact life, if the Newsweek cover comes up in conversation, I’ll be able to say a lot more about what the other side thinks and why, rather than simply demonizing the other side as nonsensical.

    But you seem to be utterly convinced that this site is intended as an echo chamber, or “private country club sports bar” or whatever your analogy above was. If you’re right, then the people who actually run the site can block me, and I’ll never be back here again. But I suspect that you are not right, and the only place where feministe exists as a private club is in your own mind.

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