Looks like we weren’t the only ones puzzled by The New York Times Magazine’s Hillary Clinton cover. Margaret Sullivan, the Times’ public editor, wasn’t a fan of it either. In a new column, Sullivan took the magazine to task for the Clinton cover and one featuring Wendy Davis, the Texas senator:
I did not find the Clinton cover illustration sexist but simply bizarre, lacking the sophisticated execution one expects from The Times Magazine. The Amy Chozick article it illustrated was an intriguing idea, exploring all the connections in the ‘Planet Hillary’ universe.
The Wendy Davis article presents a different, more serious question: When an article sets out to examine gender bias, how can it avoid perpetuating that bias along the way? Despite its well-intentioned efforts, this piece managed to trip over a double standard with its detailed examination of Ms. Davis’s biography, including her role in raising her two daughters.
While the illustration of Clinton was certainly weird, the headline of the Davis cover “Can Wendy Davis Have it All?” was ridiculous.
Lauren Kern, a deputy editor for the Times Magazine, told Sullivan they knew it was a “charged phrase.” “We asked the question about whether Davis can ‘have it all’ in part because her critics are saying she can’t,” she said. “She can’t make a tough choice — one that many women and men have to make — about temporarily prioritizing education or career over family, without being criticized for it later.”