Thursday, October 9, 2008

Photo finish

As you can see, Sarah Palin has graced the most recent edition of Newsweek's cover. Predictably, FOX News has gotten all bent out of shape over the wrong thing. The headline reads "She's One of The Folks (And that's the problem)," but that is in fact not the only problem. Apparently, they have beef with the picture: an extremely close-up shot of Palin without airbrushing or Photoshopping. As one girl said (whose name I don't even care to learn), "This photo is a clear slap in the face of Sarah Palin. Why? Because it's unretouched."

I am in awe. First, and I mean no disrespect, they find the most airbrushed, retouched, stitched-up, chin-tucked, lip-plumped witches on television to criticize the cover. Then they get an average woman named Julia Piscitelli to defend it, and she does well when she's not getting screeched at by the Queen of the Damned. But this is a tried-and-true FOX News tactic so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Second, how can we move beyond this culture of plasticine, android standards of beauty when we deem the alternative "unfair" and have a hissy fit about it? Third, she looks fantastic. I can't quite peg what Newsweek is doing here--are they trying to make her look ugly by magnifying her imperfections or proving that "one of the folks" can be beautiful too?--but it plays in Palin's favor.

Know how she can pick up a heap of undecided women? By decrying these comments, by calling them sexist and backwards, by distancing herself from the FOX News fog machine, by demanding a more honest and realistic portrayal of beauty, by saying enough is enough and actually standing up for something important to women. That's a grand slam. This would work so well it almost seems staged, but that's a bit too conspiracy-theory for my taste. Either way, it's a valuable statement that ought to be made. (On the off-chance this is staged, it's one of the best alley oops I've seen.)

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