Dear Elspeth,

Let the New Yorker's editor-in-chief, David Remnick, know your outrage over the magazine's July 21 cover. Of course some will say that feminists have no sense of humor, but there is absolutely nothing satirical or funny about it. This is a vicious attack masquerading as satire.

By choosing to publish this artwork without context on its cover, the editors have created a visual representation of racial, ethnic, religious, and sexist fear-mongering. If the New Yorker wishes to condemn the myths, lies and prejudices being spread about Barack Obama, why not ridicule those who are perpetuating them, rather than furthering their cause.

As feminists we refuse to be silent. We who have been infuriated at the sexist media coverage of Hillary Clinton will not tolerate the racist and sexist coverage of Michelle and Barack Obama. Express your outrage to David Remnick and demand that the cover be pulled.

For Equality,

Eleanor Smeal
Feminist Majority

Just what I thought would happen. All the anti-Hillary and anti-female stuff, no problem. But if it's for Obama, we must express outrage!


Conventional wisdom has it that feminists began losing credibility during the Clinton scandals. But I first noticed the slide into absurdity in 1995, during the O.J. Simpson trial. Bruce, then head of NOW's Los Angeles chapter and a local talk radio host, had criticized Simpson on the air as a wife beater for months. After the not-guilty verdict, she organized a protest rally that attracted 5,000 people.

Surely using the Simpson case to focus on domestic abuse was exactly what an L.A. feminist should have been doing. But NOW's national leadership, furious at Bruce for damaging feminist alliances with black leaders, called their L.A. renegade "racially insensitive" and "insidious" in multiple press releases....

One cliché about women is that they put everyone's needs above their own. NOW's behavior during the Simpson trial, which put racial sensitivity before the women's issue of domestic abuse, was an object lesson in how this cliché can be true. So are organized feminism's stance on affirmative action and its multiculturalist worry about offending the Muslim world by criticizing its reactionary traditions regarding women.