Brown’s recent Senate win in Massachusetts took folks by surprise for good reason. To begin with, he’s the first non-Kennedy to fill that seat in some time. Another shocker: He’s a Republican. And finally: Back in the day, Brown stripped down for Cosmo.
Yesterday, George Mason University public policy prof Jeremy Mayer made a case at NY Daily News that a woman with a similar history could never have won that senate seat. In fact, Mayer suggests she probably wouldn’t have gotten very far in politics at all if she had posed for something like, say, Playboy.
… sexism is also there when a male politician does things a woman would never get away with, or lives down things that a woman would never be able to get past.
Surely it is not one of the great injustices in America today that women who pose nude are probably ineligible for higher office, while Brown’s nude modeling is just an unusual feature on his resume. But it is emblematic of the differing standards we have for women and men in public life.
I think Mayer makes some fantastic points – I hope you will read his article to engage with all of them. And, in general, I agree with him and admire him for speaking out. However, I think the images may have hurt Brown more if his Democratic contender, Martha Coakley, hadn’t been such a weak, campaign-hating candidate.
Also, I don’t think a Playboy shoot for a woman would be parallel to Brown’s Cosmo shoot. Maybe Details!
Last, and it may not be today, but I think we’re nearing on a day when the right candidate could overcome a little flesh in her past. It’ll probably have to be a Republican – just look at all the support Carrie Prejean’s gotten from the right! Or Angelina Jolie.