Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thoughts on the Palin Newsweek Cover

I'm of two minds when it comes to the Newsweek cover of Sarah Palin.

On one hand I can see how Palin would characterize the cover as sexist. Would Newsweek put a picture of a bare chested President Obama on the cover and then feature two articles about him by Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity? Not on your life.

The picture of her in running shorts was part of a feature in Runner's World last year. Palin has been into running since her childhood. Runner's World isn't happy either because Newsweek used the photograph without its permission. Consequently, Palin is even getting some sympathy from some unlikely quarters.

But while I can understand that Palin wants to be valued for qualities other than her physical appearance there is no doubt that part of her appeal is by virtue of her physical appearance. That is a compliment, not a knock. Given that she is the 45-year-old mother of five children and a grandmother of one she looks absolutely remarkable. Women would kill for a body like that and I'm sure some of the animosity Palin gets from other women owes to her beauty.
When I look at the cover not only do I see a beautiful woman I also see someone who is active, engaged and vibrant. That is a plus not for a public figure not a minus.

Case in point: President Obama. Think about Obama's bare chest for a moment. No, Obama is not a beautiful woman. But for a man who is approaching 50 he keeps himself in very good shape by playing basketball and golf. Even if you dislike Obama's politics (as I do) one cannot deny his youthful physical appearance plays a role in his mass appeal. He has a Cary Grant like quality to him. Women are attracted to him and men want to be like him so women become attracted to them.

So while Palin might not like the Newsweek cover I am sure it will actually be more helpful than harmful to her in the long run.

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