Is this photograph sexist?

photo via

A photo of former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine is sparking controversy.

Originally published in the August 2009 issue of Runners World, the photo features the former Alaska governor in short runner’s shorts. It was part of a multi-photograph slideshow that accompanied an article about Palin and her love for running. 

Palin and her supporters question why Newsweek editors would use a photo from a fitness article to promote an analysis of her role as a political figure. Palin feels the photo is sexist and has been taken out of context to ridicule her.

In a recent Facebook post Palin wrote:

The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now. If anyone can learn anything from it: it shows why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, gender, or color of skin.

According to a report by Yahoo! News Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham hsa said the photo was simply the “most interesting image available.” He continued: We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard.”

I haven’t had a chance to read the Newsweek article, yet so I can’t judge the relevance of the photo. However, one can’t help but wonder if Palin’s gender played a role in the editors and artistic directors’ decision to choose a photo that happened to show off Palin’s legs. 

What do you think?



  1. Gotta agree with Palin here.

    I haven’t read the Newsweek article, but as a journalist I know that a cover photo must tell the story being conveyed in the headline. What does showing her in running shorts have to do with her being ‘bad news for the GOP?’

    Maybe they just wanted show Palin in running shorts. Hmmmmm….

  2. they just did that to catch the grocery shoppers eyes.

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