Monday, May 9, 2011

Reality, edited

A Hasidic Jewish paper published in Brooklyn does not publish photographs of women out of concerns that the imagery could be too suggestive. However, the publication did want to use the widely-distributed image of President Obama and key decision makers during the Osama bin Laden operation. So, they digitally edited the shot to eliminate Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason, Director for Counterterrorism. See the image in an NPR report on the incident here.

Respect for religious belief is extremely important. Editing history to eliminate the role of women, however, is odious. There were other images. This newspaper should have used them.

We were watching the PBS Newshour the other night when, among others, Madeline Albright appeared as a panelist to discuss the events of bin Laden's assassination. My 5-year-old daughter regularly asks who a given person is when she sees them on television, and I explained to her that former Secretary Albright's pioneering role as Secretary of State helped make it possible for her to be anything she wants to be when she grows up. Hillary Clinton's reputable run for president and tenure as Secretary of State, of course, helps to further that, as do the accomplishments of Condoleeza Rice.

Anything she wants to be. Unfortunately, some people still won't give her the credit she'll be due. This is a fringe example, to be sure, but as someone who has struggled mightily with identity as a woman in contemporary society--and as mother to a daughter--it is profoundly discouraging.

1 comment:

Brandy said...

Sexism by any other name is still Sexism.