Reader reaction to Reuters news
The candidates’ spouses
Michelle Obama, Cindy McCain are study in contrast
McCain posed in size zero jeans for the latest issue of Vogue. Obama, who has also appeared in the fashion magazine, was praised by style writers for the violet sheath dress she wore to her husband’s Democratic nomination victory rally and has been compared to former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
The blond, blue-eyed McCain is a former rodeo queen and cheerleader who holds a master’s degree in special education from the University of Southern California. She grew up in a wealthy family in Phoenix and is heiress to Hensley & Co, one of the largest U.S. distributors for brewing giant Anheuser-Busch.
America has had nontraditional first ladies before. They included Rosalynn Carter, wife of Jimmy Carter who sat in on Cabinet meetings, and Hillary Clinton, who was named by her husband to lead a health-care task force.
Starting this piece with detailed descriptions of the wives’ style, dress, and dress sizes was sexist in the extreme, and was an excellent example of how the news media contributes to the basest, most culturally ignorant stereotypes that are among the problems plaguing political coverage.
What relevance is McCain’s dress size to ANYTHING? The color of Obama’s dress? To belabor the obvious: in a news feed, the 3rd of 4th sentence about a male candidate, or the husband of a female candidate, would NEVER mention the color of his suit, his eye color, or his waistline.
To point out McCain being blue eyed, and not so indicating Obama’s eye color indicates that the author directly or indirectly slants or used their own perspective about color.
I found your article on Cindy McCain and Michele Obama offensive and unbalanced. Saying Michelle Obama is “non-traditional” is ridiculous. She is a working mother, and that is what a majority of American women actually are like. Cindy McCain is an heiress to a fortune, independently wealthy and separates her tax returns from her husband’s. I would hardly call this “traditional”.
This profile drew a fair amount of reader criticism, especially the information on McCain’s eyes and hair. Some readers faulted us for including it at all, while others objected to describing her hair and eye color without describing Obama’s: GBU Editor
McCain: REUTERS photo by Mike Stone
Obama: REUTERS photo by Chris Keane