The recent hubbub about Sarah Palin’s Newsweek cover and the lack of retouching of her photo is reflective of our current societal norms, including our impossible beauty standards. Sarah Plain is widely regarded as beautiful, indeed, she was a beauty queen when she was younger. The fact that our society cannot handle to see pores, wrinkles and “unwanted hairs” (which is totally problematic in itself…do we know that she really hates those hairs? Who says that they are unwanted? Why are they unwanted?) shows how our ideal of beauty is getting out of control. It is so common to airbrush pictures, that the picture of a politician on a news magazine is expected to airbrushed. Models, maybe, but politicians, really? Also, there would not have been this hubbub if it were a man showing pores and “unwanted hair.” They did bring up the claim that Obama’s pictures are all airbrushed, and I cannot find a written statement either confirming or denying this claim, but from the pictures that I have examined, they do not seem to be. Fox News did a clip on this controversy, and brought in two women to debate it. There was a woman from the Women and Politics Institute at American University, Julia Piscatelli, and a Republican media consultant, Andrea Tantaros. Due to their backgrounds, it makes sense that Piscatelli was arguing for the public to accept flaws because they are natural and okay, and we don’t need to hide them all, while Tantaros was upset because she thought it somehow made Palin’s image worse.
As my friend said when we were talking about this issue, if I was in any way supporting Palin, I would probably support her more if I knew she wasn’t airbrushed in photos, because it makes her more real.
Piscatelli brings up the fact that Hillary Clinton has had unflattering pictures of her on magazine covers, which also shows how Palin, a younger woman, is sexualized, while Hillary is desexualized as an older woman.