The Washington Monthly’s Inner Lecher Finally Breaks Free

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Do you want to know today’s funniest story? Apparently there’s been a vast social media row asking whether the Washington Monthly got a little too steamy in its current issue when it ran this photo to illustrate a piece about the lack of women on DC think tank panels. The Washington Monthly! A magazine best known for 5,000-word pieces about tax expenditures and the fate of small-city airports! It’s sort of like finding a provocative picture illustrating the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.

Well, it had to happen someday. Today, in an effort to get ahead of the firestorm, the Monthly’s blog ran a post from the author of the article, Anne Kim, who said she likes the picture just fine:

The photo isn’t inappropriate; it’s provocative. And it directly challenges people to confront their own biases about how beauty (or the lack thereof) affects the prospects for a woman’s success in ways that men don’t have to deal with. No one wants to admit that they take a woman’s looks into account when they make judgments about her intellect, and that’s why this photo makes people uncomfortable. Let’s face it — how many of us assumed that the woman in the picture had an IQ lower than her bra size?

Would I have run this photo? Nah. But I’m boring. I probably would have womped up a chart or something. Still, it’s hardly likely that the Monthly was trying to pump up readership with this picture. It wasn’t on the cover, after all, or even on the front of the website. And I don’t think that one suggestive picture in ten years is going to make the Monthly a go-to destination for Beltway lechers. It was obviously meant to be provocative/ironic in exactly the way Kim suggests. Hell, knowing the Monthly, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they ran it because it was the best illustration they could find that was free.

Either way, though, I’m just happy that this twitterstorm erupted over a photo in the good ol’ Washington Monthly instead of one of the usual suspects, like the Daily Beast or the Atlantic. It’s about time they got some heat for being too damn flashy.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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