Mavens in Media: The Larger Conversation

By Emily B. Cyr

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/trump-megyn-kelly-gq-photos-218320

Ever since I saw this tweet, I have been trying to understand how I feel about it. Sure, I had the usual reaction that this was mean and unfair, and that the word bimbo was demeaning.

But I also wondered: Why does a renowned news anchor have to pose like this? Why is this the current state of things? Does this empower her, or does this take away her credibility?

I’m sure people have all sorts of opinions about this, especially since it involves one of the most provocative political candidates along with a popular news anchor who works for a highly rated news network. Since I could not discern my feelings, I wanted to see what (if anything) Megyn Kelly herself had to say about either the tweet or the photo herself. At the end of the day, I trust an anchor woman who is known for her cutting questions and determined manner to have ownership over both her body and her image.

I have not been able to find much commentary on her GQ photoshoot, but I did find her reaction to Donald Trump’s retweet. [Note: he claims he would not use the word bimbo himself, but when one has 6 million twitter followers, everything coming from his account reflects him so that argument is pretty lame in my book]. When asked in an interview with on Good Morning America about the tweet, Kelly said the following:

“That’s the problem with language like bimbo…it gins up other comments along those lines which is diminishing, obviously, not just to the woman being attacked but to women in general.”

This response gave me clarity. It really is not so much the photos that matter, but the language that men decide they rightfully provoke. This tweet, GQ photo, and controversy are not just about Kelly. Language like this is belittling every powerful woman who is always in a battle with her looks. It is another piece of garbage that saturates the internet in the worst possible way, and that is why it makes me angry.

My reaction may seem simple, but I invite you to really think about this. Maybe you think Kelly is not helping women by posing like this. That is completely legitimate. But does that make her a bimbo; does that make Trump’s accusation justified or fair? Not at all. Women and men are responsible for stopping this kind of language and treatment, so I urge us to all see the bigger picture and remember every word we use is contributing to a bigger conversation. So, let’s be smart about what we say and tactful with our tweets, because we have a long road ahead of us.