I’m not looking to say I told you so, but:
I saw this coming, and its not going to stop unless we start making a fuss and telling our media to stop supporting this ridiculous double-standard. I mean, I understand that TMZ is not a serious news source but, still, that does not give them the right to make fun of Kagan based on her appearance.
When you see things like this, please, write letters to the media source responsible, blog about it and encourage others to do the same, call the editor and leave angry messages… basically, just do whatever you can to register your disapproval or else shit like this isn’t going to stop, and it needs to stop. It needs to stop because this is a big deal. I mean, sure, Elena Kagan is a strong and confident enough woman that this stupid article won’t hurt her much in the long run, if at al; she’s accomplished more than the “journalist” who pulled this silly photo comparison together could even conceive of… but she’s not the one I am worried about.
Mostly I’m worried about the smart and ambitious young women who see things like this, and begin to doubt themselves. The women who are forced to wonder am I pretty enough to dream of being a public figure? instead of Am I intelligent enough to be a judge? Do I have what it takes to go into politics? Am I talented enough to be an actor, or a singer, or a dancer? and so on. Look at Hillary Clinton, look at Susan Boyle, look at Sonia Sotomayor, just look around at all of the talented, intelligent, powerful women who are constantly being judged based on their looks first and their appearance later. Is this happening to men? Not really, no (and when it does, it’s just as wrong).
As a young woman who went through years of insecurity before gaining the awareness and confidence to say fuck being beautiful, I’m going to change the world; a woman who still has off days where she feels beaten down and useless, just because she isn’t pretty enough; as a woman who is worth more than this I implore you to speak up and fight for this change. I’m willing to bet that if we just cut it out and focused on the relevant features of these women we would see a shift in our culture, a shift that leads to more young women pursuing their dreams (while not necessarily worrying what they look like) and thriving because they don’t have to worry about being pretty enough to be taken seriously.
[Admittedly old image courtesy of a Jezebel post that I just managed to find today.]