Seattle Weekly Cover Illustration of Senator Patty Murray: REALLY DAMN SEXIST

Senator Patty Murray graces the latest cover of Seattle Weekly—in an illustration that portrays her naked with meat strewn over her. While Seattle Weekly maintains that the image is simply a humorous political cartoon, Name It. Change It. believes that this is a denigrating image that only feeds into sexist stereotypes. Our campaign isn’t the only group that was offended by this cover—all Washington State Ferries pulled this issue from their shelves because of the illustration.

Sexist images flood our media landscape every day, and rarely do we stop to examine the consequences that these images have in shaping our beliefs, attitudes, and even our political environment. Research reveals that even sexism in its mildest form has a damaging effect on the political standing of female candidates. Although the cover story, “Patty Murray: The Naked Truth,” may have been a largely positive and objective article, Seattle Weekly may have inadvertently hurt Senator Murray’s candidacy with its debasing cover illustration. The fact of the matter is that sensationalistic images grasp our attention, and an image of a female political candidate posing suggestively with pork adorning her nude body is not the type of image that should be promoted or condoned in our society. Not only is this image harmful to Patty Murray and all women candidates, but it also perpetuates the detrimental stereotype that labels the female body as merely “a piece of meat.”

In order to shed damaging stereotypes and to create an equitable political environment for female political candidates, media outlets must be held accountable for the sexist images they disseminate to the American public. The Name It. Change It. campaign hopes that Seattle Weekly will join us in changing this problematic coverage by apologizing to Patty Murray and signing our Equality Pledge.  

Published by Kate McCarthy on 10/18/2010

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