A “crazy eyes” Newsweek cover photo of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has garnered a lot of criticism in the past few days, and has been condemned by many conservatives as well as some liberals. The photo, which many are calling “sexist”, features Bachmann starring off away from the camera and sporting some wrinkles and looking rather pale.
The headline of the magazine didn’t do itself any favors with the headline “Queen of Rage”, either.
Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America, a conservative group, called the cover “outrageous”. “It is outrageous to label a woman being full of rage. They would never do that to a man. This is typical of the way they handle women leaders, particularly conservative women leaders. So, most of us have gotten used to that idea, but it’s not something we ought to condone or get used to.”
However, she also feels that Newsweek did it on purpose, not only because she’s a female, but because she is a conservative: “It’s very sad the way the national media is pillorying both Michele and other women leaders,” said Crouse. “They typically do this to conservatives, though. It’s amazing to me that they think they can get away with it. Anybody who looks at that picture knows it’s not representative of Michele Bachmann – it’s a caricature. The description of her is even worse, calling her the ‘Queen of Rage’.”
Colleen Holms of the Eagle Forum, another conservative-backed women’s organization, also weighed in, not necessarily calling the cover sexist, but saying that she was portrayed in a negative light because she is a conservative: “In general I don’t think they would’ve done it to a conservative politician. I don’t know that it’s necessarily sexist.” Holms said.
It wasn’t all just conservatives blasting the cover, however. The President of the National Organization for Women (NOW), Terry O’Neill, felt that the cover was sexist. “In general I don’t think they would’ve done it to a conservative politician. I don’t know that it’s necessarily sexist. I’m glad that the National Organization for Women is defending her, but I think, in general, they wouldn’t have done it to a liberal politician, they might have done it to [a male conservative],” Holms said.
She added, “They are basically casting her as a nut job. The ‘Queen of Rage’ is something you apply to wrestlers or somebody who is crazy. They didn’t even do this to Howard Dean when he had his famous scream.”
At a campaign stop in Iowa shortly after the release of the magazine, she was asked if she had seen the magazine cover and she noted that she didn’t. When the magazine was described by a constituent, she replied, “Ah ha, we’ll have to take a look at that now.”