Since Obama beat out Hillary for the Democratic nomination in 2008, Hillary’s supporters have been hoping she’d take another crack at the presidential election in 2016. We’re more than two years out from the election, and there’s already a Twitter account dedicated to promoting public support for her potential presidential bid. @ReadyForHillary will send you a free bumper sticker in return for signing a petition to encourage the former secretary of state to give it another go.
Even for those who would not support Hillary’s second bid for the presidency, it cannot be denied that she is a powerful, intelligent, and hardworking individual who is still very present in the media and U.S. politics. The 2016 election is coming ’round the mountain, and the country is waiting to see if Hillary will make another move. To this end, The New York Times Magazine released a feature story chronicling her potential for mayhem or victory at the next election.
What is tremendously interesting is the cover art The New York Times Magazine chose to accompany this piece. It features a shot of a galaxy and nebula, with Hillary’s floating head plastered onto an unnamed planet’s surface.
At first, I thought it must be satire. There’s no way Hillary’s head would be floating out in space on the cover a premier media source. The introduction to the article reads, “The gravitational pull of a possible 2016 campaign is bringing all the old Clinton characters into her orbit. Can she make the stars align, or will chaos prevail?” This must be some sort of cosmic joke. But there she is, all the same.
One of the most influential women in the world with a bright, shining, nowhere-near-finished political future gets a rocky, wrinkled planet to slap her smile on, while other covers of The New York Times Magazine feature male politicians in stances of power. Arms crossed, coiffed hair, direct gaze. They’re exhibited deep in thought or standing tall. Physical expressions of strength and power. And Hillary’s cover joins an earlier cover of Sarah Palin, which is also limited to a floating head, though not of an intergalactic slant.
This would indicate to me that as I enter the check-out lines at the grocery store, or scan through the racks at the bookstore, that unless you are a woman of society’s ideal body shape and size, do not expect to be featured any other way than decapitated. Sports Illustrated and Cosmopolitan continue to shove manipulated images of women in bikinis down our throats, and The New York Times Magazine isn’t doing us any one better. If a woman does not ascribe to the accepted beauty ideal, erase her body altogether.
It’s time that the media stop featuring women as physical entities and appreciate the mind within. So whether you plan to support Hillary after reading this article or see what 2016’s official presidential candidates have to offer, please remember how women are constantly undermined by our society’s judgments of their bodies, and how not even the possible first woman president of the United States is exempt.
Written by Emily Vrotsos
Emily is attending grad school for Nonprofit Management and moonlights as contributor for Feminspire.com, MomsRising.org, MissHeard Magazine, and SheRights.com. She hopes to utilize her experience in writing, nonprofit work, and mentoring to take an active role in public education reform. Check her out on Twitter.