Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top Women of 2011

From Barbara Lee of Huffington Post:
Women are being left off the page of every best-of-the-year list I have read so far. For starters, you have to be a princess to make it onto TIME's list of runners-up for "Person of the Year." Kate Middleton appears again on People magazine's "Most Intriguing" list and her younger sister, Pippa, is among the women on Barbara Walter's list of "10 Most Fascinating People." The others? Pop icons Katy Perry and the Kardashians, followed by Amanda Knox, who won her appeal in a high profile murder case. Somehow, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the only woman who ranks for Forbes' top 10 "Most Powerful People in the World" and is one of very few women to be recognized for leadership ability rather than lifestyle and looks in these year-end superlatives lists.

In an age of reality TV, it has become clear that voters expect candidates to entertain and perform. This is potentially dangerous territory for women who have to work harder to prove themselves as "serious" candidates in the first place. "In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms," as Writer/Director Jennifer Siebel Newsom describes in her provocative documentary, "Miss Representation," "the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman's value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader." Let's not dismiss the accomplishments of women; let's celebrate them instead.

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