Ann Friedman Profiles Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema

We’re always on the lookout for stories about politicians that include examples of the actual questions women are being asked by reporters. Which is why Ann Friedman’s recent interview with Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema in Elle Magazine caught our attention.

When I ask about her personal life—as a U.S. congresswoman, is it tough to get a date? Does she want children someday?—she answers, “I don’t really think that’s any of your business. Not a lot of people ask young men in politics.”

The profile includes quite bit of discussion between the writer and the subject about what is asked or said about women verses male politicians. What’s interesting is that Ann Friedman, for those not familiar with her byline, is very well-versed in the many ways women are covered differently in the media than men. (Amongst her efforts is the blog Lady Journos which “highlights the work of journalists who happen to be women.”) She writes in the piece that the dating question isn’t reserved for women, however the “the kid question” often is.

Is a reporter asking about a Congressmember’s dating life something that happens to both genders in equal measure? It’s true that members of Congress who are under 40 and single are fairly rare –- and as Friedman’s piece demonstrates—even rarer for those members to be women. It’s understandable why a politician’s social and sexual life is a source of intense curiosity –- there’s a genre of magazines devoted to celebrities’ dating habits for a reason. Friedman’s profile even references the Washington Post story about Sinema last January where she was called “lecturing, hectoring, defensive, accusatory, pouty and curiously repetitive” after being asked about her sexual orientation. It’s easy to assume Sinema may already be leery of being better known for who she dates than what she does, which is why she tries to sharply shut down such inquiries from reporters. 

 

Published by Kate McCarthy on 05/23/2013

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