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March 14, 2010

As HCR Comes Down to Arm-Twisting Finish, Check Out that Sexist Framing of Pelosi

Pelosi health care goofy.jpg

About to deliver her imprint on the biggest and most controversial piece of legislation of her life, get ready for a steady stream of pictures of Pelosi this week (already started: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) making her look like an incredible goof. (Not that The BAG hasn’t been pointing this out, by the way, since the two-headed monster won the White House News Photographer Association’s “Political Photo of the Year” in ‘07.)

In this pic, The Speaker is miniaturized; her title is almost completely obscured and sliced; her oversized and disembodied hand, combined with the angle of the drapes, the flags, the ceiling, the reflection in the mirror, and the eagles ringing her head make her seem like she’s part of a real carnival; and her bulging eyes make her look like a hysteric, which — with all the exaggerated expressions and super-close ups already flooding the wire — is what the distortion is really about.

(title changed/slightly revised – 2pm PST)

(photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images. caption: U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference March 12, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Pelosi discussed the health care reform legislation with the media.)

  • Nina

    You nailed this one. A consistent trend for sure. I hadn’t even noticed. Thank you.

  • Valkyrie607

    I’ve noticed this. Also watch for frequent attacks on Pelosi framed around her appearance–how she’s “dried-up” or “botoxed-out”, etc. I try to challenge people who make these sorts of sexist attacks whenever possible, but they are everywhere, thanks to our culture’s prevailing belief that a woman’s worth is mostly based on her ability to be sexually appealing to hetero men.

  • g

    It’s peculiar, too, that “bo-toxed” is a persistent descriptor, when, in fact, the photos all show Pelosi with a very exaggeratedly animated face and forehead – totally the opposite of a bo-toxed face.

  • jmac

    The muscles in her hand are quite strange – almost looks like a puppet being manipulated. Pulling the strings – the White House.

  • lukitas

    I don’t see sexism here.
    What I do see is a puppet show. The small, colorful stage, the protagonist reduced to a head and a hand.
    If this is supposed to remind us of marionettes, I find it quite appropriate. Who is the puppeteer?

  • Blue Shark

    …The Rabid Right loathes any image of a powerful Democratic woman. The photo editors are hedging their bets just now.
    …IF Pelosi pulls off the American Miracle … look for much more flattering photos to appear the next few month.
    …She is a tiger.

  • Megan

    Very Barnum and Bailey colors and framing, which brings up the quote about underestimating the American public.
    Also, I think we all want the curtain pullled back for the reveal. Will the bill get passed or not? We’ve waited in suspense for a long time.

  • Dean J

    She looks huge, like you’re a little kid looking at the teacher behind the desk. It’s a good pic, because it interprets both ways depending on the bias you’ve gone looking for.

  • Seitan Worshiper

    While I definitely see the sexism, I do agree with lukitas on this point: My first impression was of a puppet show: Punch and Judy (Nancy).

  • Braidwood

    I see the queen in Alice and Wonderland. A very weird perspective. And I have noticed- even in what I would think of as more liberal media- people making fun of how she looks. I do think its sexist.

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