Who wears short shorts?

I’m fairly intrigued by the latest “controversy” regarding one Mrs. Sarah Palin and that nasty, mean, lefty media. I mean, I don’t know if this new “scandal” has been dubbed with a name followed by the word “gate,” but let’s give it a try. Covergate? Picturegate? Short-short-gate. Yes, I like that one.

The unfair, sexist, demeaning SHORT-SHORT-GATE, which started with this snapshot:

We’ve all seen this by now, right? Sarah Palin posed for this photo for a story about running in Runner’s World. Then, Newsweek took this photo and pasted it on their cover, with the phrase, “How do you solve a problem like Sarah Palin?” written next to it.

Now, before I go on, I want to explain a little something. I have a bit of respect for Sarah Palin. More so, in my opinion, than a lot of people who actually support her political cause (whatever that may actually be). Go hopping around from site to site, and you’ll find a lot of people talking about the former Alaska Governor, about what a nice person she is and how she has such great values and morals and how she stands for conservatism. Those same people will note that she is attractive and young! She was a beauty queen! Heck, just this morning, I saw a few women on MSNBC talk about how they like her because she “speaks her mind.” Ladies. I speak my mind. Do you want to buy my book?

Those types of comments are about as far as they ever go. No one ever takes note of her actual accomplishments. And while I don’t think her political accomplishments come anywhere near close to giving her international credibility that she seems to hold (or at least crave), I do know that being the mayor for a town of 6,000 people is a really hard job. I sit in city council meetings every other week for the city of Braidwood, Illinois, and you know what? That mayor and those commissioners don’t have it easy.

After running Wasilla, Sarah Palin managed to become the first female governor of Alaska by beating the incumbent governor in the primary. People, that’s nothing to shake a stick at. That’s good stuff. And yes, she did accomplish a few things in office, for the little time she spent there. And in case you forgot, she was the first female VP nominee for the GOP. And while she couldn’t seem to answer simple questions from Katie Couric, she did hold her own with Joe Biden. So good for her.

Of course, she’s also a big whiny quitter. But let’s go back to the photo.

Of the thousands of photos of Sarah Palin to choose from, Newsweek chose one of her in shorts that probably accent her cheeks when she turns the other way. Mrs. Palin has responded by crying foul, or, more accurately, crying sexism! And I gotta admit, I think she has a point.

Joan Walsh at Salon noted that hell has frozen over  regarding this one — she agrees with Palin. Walsh argues that Sarah Palin is, in fact, very professional, and what she would wear to a Newsweek shoot and a Runner’s World shoot are quite the opposite. I agree. Walsh also notes that while Palin is obviously attractive, that is something her supporters and critics play up, not something she ever introduced. She certainly never campaigned in short-shorts. Walsh also notes the headline, “How do you solve a problem like Sarah Palin.” It is a take from the song “How do you solve a problem like Maria” from The Sound of Music, where Maria is just too flighty to control. I think it is actually pretty fair to say that if Newsweek were portraying a male GOP representative who is causing the party problems, like say, GleN Beck, they certainly wouldn’t find a saucy photo of him (though Time did find an extremely unflattering one).

But, all that said, there is ONE thing about this photo that makes me ok with its use on the cover of Newsweek. I do think it is sexist. I really do. But you know what the problem is? Here, look again:

Take a look at Sarah’s left arm there. It’s perched on an American Flag, draped over a chair in what appears to be Sarah Palin’s home office.

If Sarah Palin took this photo for Runner’s World, and meant it for and only for the issue of promoting running and health and fitness… then why the hell is she using the American Flag as a prop? Am I to believe that THIS is where she keeps her flag regularly, and she just happened to say, hey, let’s take the photo here, in my natural environment. While I don’t think that the picture was necessarily appropriate for Newsweek, I don’t think it was necessarily appropriate for Runner’s World either.

Sarah Palin wraps herself in her patriotism to the point that she literally uses it as a political crutch. Look at her. She’s not standing there, saying, LOOK AT ME, I’M A RUNNER. She’s standing there saying, LOOK AT ME, I’M A PATRIOT WHO RUNS TOO! When Sarah Palin took this photo, she exploited the American Flag to sell her position. Promoting a healthy lifestyle isn’t just non-partisan, it’s not a patriotic issue either. With this photo, Sarah Palin proved that she’ll use the flag to promote herself and any cause she believes in, even a cause not specific to the left or the right or the United States entirely. But when someone else uses the photo, which shows that she’ll use the flag to promote herself, she claims it’s unfair. And THAT is the point of the story. Sarah Palin, with her mixed messages and her contradictory behavior, is a problem for the GOP.

Sarah Palin is smart. She knows that sooner or later, someone would cry foul for HER posing for a picture in Runner’s World using the flag as a prop. So she struck first, crying SEXISM. Now everyone is so wrapped up in the controversy about her in her Daisy Dukes, people managed to turn a blind eye to her pimping out the American Flag.

Governor Palin, if you don’t want people to “misuse” photos of you, then stop posing for pictures expressing your patriotism when they are supposed to be pictures expressing your good health. I mean, I would kill for those legs — but you brought this on yourself.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Who wears short shorts?

  1. Chelle

    OMG, that is my exact same complaint!!

    I even asked around to find out if the original Runners World pic had the American flag in it, because if it didn’t, then I thought the Newsweek cover was completely unfair. Finding out that it did, however, she completely brought this on herself.

  2. Kayla

    I would read your book…

  3. Mandy

    I totally agree. I am not a Palin fan by any means, but the first part of your post is spot on. The photo is inappropriate. I’m still undecided about the second half but you bring up an interesting point.

  4. Marney

    I do feel like I should add, that I do not for one second think that the editors at Newsweek were nearly as thoughtful as I was about this picture. I don’t think they looked at it and said, “Oooh, looky here, Mrs. Palin is using the American flag to promote a subject as benign and non-partisian as running! Let’s use this photo to showcase that part of her personality!” No, they used it because the woman is showing off a set of gams that ladies half her age would die for, and they were hoping it would make her look flighty and silly. It was sexist. I just don’t like the picture, period. I don’t think the flag, lazily crumpled up over a chair, should be used to promote running.

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