Would You Use A Painted Naked Female Body to Convey the Message that Sex is a Very Serious Foreign Policy Issue?

by Erik Voeten on April 27, 2012 · 3 comments

in Blogs

I sure hope not. I thought we had all learned a few things over the past 5 decades but I guess not. Here is Foreign Policy’s motivation (emphasis added) for the special issue:

Women’s bodies are the world’s battleground, the contested terrain on which politics is played out. We can keep ignoring it. For this one issue, we decided not to.

Charli Carpenter and Megan McKenzie have the smackdown on Duck of Minerva.

{ 3 comments }

Jon M April 27, 2012 at 9:58 am

Well at least now I no longer have to feel guilty about not reading Foreign Policy regularly.

Chip Somodevilla April 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

This magazine cover has little to do with “sex,” “the female body,” or “foreign policy.” It has to do with generating buzz and selling magazines. (A shout out on the Monkey Cage helps, too.) As a news photographer who has had images published inside and on the cover of these “news magazines,” I — and many of my serious photojournalism colleagues — lament the shift away from news pictures and toward photographic “illustrations” that now dominate covers today.
A very quick survey of Time Magazine covers published since January 9, 2012 illustrates this point.
http://search.time.com/results.html?No=0&sid=136F42AA1DA7&Ns=p_date_range|1&N=46&Nty=1
Of the 18 covers published since the New Year eleven of them are illustrations (either photographic or “drawn”), four of them are posed portraits and three of them or unposed news images (two of which are photos of President Barack Obama walking around at the White House, a very controlled situation, I assure you).
The decisions that “news magazine” editors make about what to put on the cover is not about the most important news happening in the world this week. It is to sell magazines, pure and simple. Another example that puts a fine point on this is last week’s Newsweek cover.
http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2012/04/newsweek-coverstory-working-women-just-want-to-be-dominated/
There is a silver lining to this cloud, however. As unposed, story-telling and powerful news images have disappeared from our “news magazine” covers, more and more news and feature Web sites are featuring well-edited and beautifully assembled slideshows featuring great photojournalism from around the world. The online traffic going to these sites has dramatically increased as newsstand sales of magazines has decreased over the past decade. A coincidence?

Ian S April 29, 2012 at 11:50 am

She’s naked because in the West we want women to wear as little as possible but she’s painted as if she’s wearing a niqab because in the Middle East they want women to cover up as much as possible. Its meant to show the dichotomy between Middle Eastern and Western views of women. Perhaps her slightly submissive pose is meant to convey that both views are domineering and sexist. I don’t understand why you folks are so unhappy with this.

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