A few eyebrows have been raised in the journalism community today with the Star Tribune’s front page, specifically whether the Star Tribune is treating a couple of female candidates differently than they would if they were men:
Hot? Hot as in the race is close (There’s no public polling in the race so far)? Or hot as if they’re two attractive women? The answer might lie in the photographs. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s picture seems to have been weirdly “adjusted,” possibly to give her a hair color closer to her opponent’s.
The picture is actually a “lift” from Bachmann’s campaign Web site.
Writing in NewsWeek this week, Julia Baird calls this “The Palin Effect.”
There seems to be an insistent, increasingly excitable focus on the supposed hotness of Republican women in the public eye, like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Michelle Malkin, and Nikki Haley–not to mention veterans like Ann Coulter. The sexual references are pervasive: they come from left, right, and center, and range from gushing to highly offensive. The Atlantic asked, “Is Sarah Palin Porn?” as others quizzed the former governor about whether she had breast implants. Right Wing News compiled a list of the hottest conservative women in new media. Playboy even ran an outrageous piece titled “Ten Conservative Women I’d Like to Hate ****,” which read like a sick attempt to make rape cool. “We may despise everything these women represent,” wrote the author, “but goddammit they’re hot. Let the healing begin.” Moron.
Giving the Star Tribune the benefit of the doubt, the race is considered “intense.” The story itself contained no reference to either candidate’s appearance. Still it’s hard to imagine a couple of guys beaming from the front page, along with a headline which, while technically accurate, could easily have another meaning.