Time Magazine recently released a cover story titled “Can Anyone Stop Hillary?” Its cover features the image of a female foot with a tiny man hanging from to the bottom of her shoe. Yes, you guessed it: the leg represents Hillary Clinton, and the dangling chewing gum-like figure is any male candidate who dares run against her in the upcoming presidential election.
The minimalist image has inspired mixed reviews from Slate’s Amanda Hess, who admits that the cover marks a pivotal moment for women in politics. She explains that the magazine’s choice not to include Clinton’s last name is in itself an acknowledgement of her monolithic status. The image of Clinton’s smart heel and pantsuit— fashion choices which she has admirably stood by in protest to the grossly sexist insults thrown at her appearance— effortlessly striding over a diminished male candidate also announces the triumphant arrival of the era of women in office. Clinton certainly kicked a hole in that glass ceiling!
On the other hand, Hess finds the image a little fetishistic. After all, it has more to do with female dominance than it does Hillary’s politics. In Hess’s view, the cover lends itself to the sexualization of female politicians; it encourages a dehumanizing way of thinking about women in power as dominant forces simultaneously capable of emasculating and arousing men. The implication that female empowerment and gender equality necessitates the degradation of men is indeed problematic, and it unjustly characterizes feminists as stereotypical man-haters. In some ways, it’s discouraging to see Clinton, who has been vilified and seen as unsympathetic throughout her career as a pioneering woman leader, framed in this way.
What do YOU think about Clinton’s Time cover? Does it mark the dawn of an era where women in office are respected and our voices heard, or does it rely on sexist notions of women in power?
Thanks to Slate
Image via Slate
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.