Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Did They Mention She's Beautiful?

"Battle-tough beauty no 'wimpy girly-girl'" - the headline of a story in today's New York Post about Lara Logan, the CBS reporter who suffered a brutal sexual assualt in Egypt on Friday. In the Post's defense (sort of) the title references a quotation from an equally idiotic "source" who told the news rag, "She's not a wimpy, girly girl -- she had a pocket for lipstick sewn into her flak jacket as a joke." So while the post didn't coin that particular insulting phrase, they did manage to spin their report into a page long statement on Logan's looks and shocking toughness -- because that's what sexual assault is about: hotness and how wimpy women usually are. To wit, here's the opening of the article:

"When war reporter Lara Logan's co-workers learned that she had to be hospitalized after being attacked in Egypt, they knew it was serious. Logan, CBS's chief foreign correspondent, is known as much for her toughness as for her good looks, so it was clear things were bad."

Because if a woman is NOT known as much for her toughness as her good looks, then she'd probably be exaggerating the whole assault thing. Great point. I'm curious; would that supposed dichotomy be relevant to the seriousness of her injuries if she were a man? The article goes on to discuss Logan's beauty, modeling career, and love triangle -- along with a few paragraphs they threw in about her journalism career. I wonder what the angle would have been if Logan didn't fit the Post's definition of beauty? How would that story be told? I'm already sick to my stomach writing about this, so let's just remind the Post that Lara Logan is an amazingly brave and skilled reporter who has suffered an unthinkable horror. Stereotypes about her gender and sensational "news" items about her looks and love affairs is not only disrespectful to all women, but, much more importantly, insulting to Logan. Keep up the great work, NY Post.


  1. Totally reading too much into it. The emphasis of that statement is clearly on her toughness, adding the good looks as a comparison only. So if she's tough, then it would have taken something very bad to rattle her.

    I'm down with arguing for women's rights and ensuring they are respected just as much as men, but I think you're a bit off on this one.

  2. taking this into consideration. i disagree, but i hear you. thanks. -rz

  3. thought about it. still disagree. strongly. but i love an articulate opposing opinion, so keep them coming.

  4. Her being beautiful makes it more of a tragedy = it's more news-worthy.

    Unless, of course, you have your own agenda to overlay instead.

  5. Anon,

    I think you are looking at emphasis, rather than considering the statement itself...

    The statement is a qualifier. It qualifies the extent of the "seriousness" of an attack. And it does so using a description of the KIND of woman she is.

    The point isn't that it uses the fact she is pretty. It's that the story calls into question how serious it must be. Period.

    Have you ever heard a comment saying that a male reporter was the kind of male reporter that you take more seriously than the other male reporters?

    The only examples I can think of are when the reporter's credibility has been in play. Those make sense.

    If Wolf Blitzer was taken from his security detail by a mob and subject to a repeated sexual assault, no one would write that he was the kind of MAN you'd take seriously about this.

    The bottom line is if Lara IS the kind of woman you take seriously, then you are saying that there are female reporters you don't. And, the criteria this writer used was what she wore and how she acted.

    A writer doesn't make a distinction if the distinction doesn't exist. So by writing this peace, in an effort to be kind to Lara, they shit on the rest of her gender