Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Sarah Palin Is Using Her Newsweek Cover to Trick You Into Taking Her Seriously:

It was recontextualized by Newsweek into the real world, a world in which a staged photo of the woman who hijacked the 2008 presidential election beaming goofily into the camera and holding her two Blackberries and American flag like random iconography thrown in to justify the fact that she's modeling her legs is frightening and laughable. The reason Palin posed for the Runner's World photo is that she wanted people to see her legs and think of her as youthful, vibrant, fit, and in control, and she thought that a good way to do it was to just throw any old American flag around and let those gams loose. The reason Newsweek chose it for the cover was to communicate that this is how Sarah Palin sees herself. Sarah Palin likes the imagery, and her adherents like the imagery; the problem emerges when people who don't reflexively and unthinkingly love Sarah Palin encounter the imagery. Then it's sexist.

It was also sexist when Newsweek ran an unretouched photo of her in closeup where you could make out her facial hair. And it will be sexist next year when they run another photo that references the fact Palin is a human being with a body, and it will be sexist so long as Newsweek, or anyone else who dares gaze at Miss Sarah, isn't sufficiently deferential to her image of herself. She wants to be the hot mom, and she wants to be the emerging political power center. She wants those two identities to reinforce one another, but she doesn't want anyone to screw with the messaging.