Before and After: How Mainstream Media ‘Uglifies’ Female Politicians

In keeping with last post’s ‘five’ theme, I’ve decided to lighten the mood a little and create a “Senator Makeover Edition: Before and After the Media” slideshow. These images, all of successful democrat and republican women senators, show the media’s power in representing these politicians in whatever light (literally and figuratively) they choose. While these photos may not necessarily be doctored heavily with photoshop, it is clear that the angles, emphasis, moment and lighting have strong influence over the politician’s impression in front of the lens. However trivial and vain this might seem on my part, a Washington Post article asserts that “…ever since 1960, when a visibly perspiring Richard Nixon won a debate on the radio but lost it on TV to a relaxed and dashing John F. Kennedy, image-making has been an inescapable fact of life in American presidential politics.” Presidential or not, image making is now one of the most important components of any political career –from city council candidates to president incumbents. This issue is certainly amplified for women who receive the double whammy of these negative media portrayals and America’s obsession with how women look.

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