US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd R) says goodbye to a group of Chinese women activists after discussing progress and ongoing challenges in Beijing on May 26, 2010. [Getty Images.]And I was struck once again by the images of her with men, sticking out amongst the darkly colored suits with her brightly-colored blazer (I see you hiding back there, too, Lady in White Blazer behind Dude in Periwinkle Tie!):
China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan (front row 5th from L), U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (dark green), U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke (front row 1st from L), U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (front row 3rd from L), U.S. Federal reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke (second row 4th from L) and other delegates pose for a group photo ahead of the opening ceremony of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue May 24, 2010 in Beijing, China. [Getty Images.]And I was struck once again by how comfortable she looks at events with children (and their educators), where our "statesmen" usually look so stiff and awkward and uncomfortable, undermining (if unintentionally) whatever pledges they've made to prioritize children's welfare and education:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center in 2nd row, poses for photos alongside Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong, 3rd right in 2nd row, and American and Chinese students after watching a performance at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing Tuesday, May 25, 2010. [AP Photo.]And I was interested to see this image of Clinton, again with Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong at the Performing Arts Center:
—because of this image:
Care of Getty Images, who also recently brought us the lipstick-on-the-straw image. And it was considered such an awesome shot, that AP had to get an identical one.
Aside from invoking other memorable "Look—disembodied ladyfeetz!" images like this one, are you fucking kidding me with the phallic boom mic inserted between two women's lower halves?!
I know the whole boom-microphone-in-the-image is kind of a "thing," especially in political photography, but you'll note that in none of those images are the notable people pictured robbed of their individual identity, disembodied to maximize focus on their gender, and then separated by the boom mic pictured as if rising in between them.
Of course, all of the political figures in those images are men.
I don't for a moment believe that there wasn't a single person along the path from photographer to photo editor to publisher, at either photo agency, who didn't notice the unfortunate implications of the above image.
Yeah, it's a "little thing," but it is the pervasive, ubiquitous, inescapable "little stuff" that creates the foundation of a sexist culture on which the big stuff is dependent for its survival. It's the little things, the constant drumbeat of inequality and objectification, that inure us to increasingly horrible acts and attitudes toward women.
It is a particular pinch to see a woman who travels the globe addressing that big stuff casually diminished in such a petty way.