Female Politicians Really Are InvisibleMay 9, 2011 1 Comment
Of the many images that we are bombarded with every day in the media, not many photographs are as unforgettable as the now notorious Situation Room picture. Like September 11th, the day Osama Bin Laden was killed will be a date that is burned into our brains forever. After all, it’s a moment the world anticipated for ten years.
As with a famous painting, like the Mona Lisa, that we would never want to see altered or corrupted, the Situation Room photograph, which depicts politicians watching the death of Bin Laden go down, is a significant historical image. Der Zeitung, a Hasidic newspaper based out of Brooklyn, has decided to alter it to make it conform to their firm beliefs about women.
Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, and Audrey Tomason, the Director of Counterterrorism, have been photoshopped out of the picture. It’s as if they were never there.
Shockingly, it doesn’t seem to matter to the newspaper that the White House said that the photograph “may not be manipulated in any way.” Not only are they confirming they can’t be a credible news source, but they’re bending history. I feel like I’ve entered some weird dystopian dream. I thought it was my worst nightmare when I read Fahrenheit 451, but the next thing you know they’re going to start burning books with powerful female characters (especially if they’re sexy and powerful – a dangerous combo).
The newspaper declined to comment about the release of the controversial picture, but among various suggestions, it’s been said that they may justify the gaping holes they’re punching in history by saying women can’t be seen as sexual objects. They don’t publish any images of women in case they’re interpreted as suggestive.
Did I miss something here? This is absurd. I don’t even think it should matter in the first place how much clothing they’re wearing (let’s focus on the fact that the mastermind of 9/11 is dead), but as far as I can see they’re completely covered from head to toe.
Another suggestion is that the Hasidic community objects to women holding positions of power. The fact that they were even in the same room as the men is unheard of. Again, I think I missed something. Didn’t Hilary Clinton run for president alongside Obama?
However surprised we may be, this type of censorship isn’t unprecedented. A perfume ad featuring Rihanna has been altered in the Middle East because it’s believed that she shows too much skin. Nudity (even if it’s implicit) is forbidden. She’s young, beautiful, powerful and proud of it, but to sell it to Muslim men (the ones with the power to perpetuate representations of women), she needs to be robed.
The truth is, we’re comparing ads with reality. These fully-clothed women were there. Regardless of your cultural customs and beliefs, this is censorship taken to the extreme. It’s almost a throwback to Orwell’s 1984 or X-Files or something. When I look at it all I think is, “The truth is out there.”
Yes, it is. For everyone to see. If you can’t accept it I would suggest not publishing it. Let’s get real.
Contact the author here: Tinybart@MorningQuickie.com