The Sexist

Huffington Post Responds to Nipple Sexism Charges

In Howard Kurtz' column today, Arianna Huffington responded to this blog's charges of sexism over the Huffington Post's obsessive nipple-slip coverage. Kurtz's column was published a full week after the City Paper contacted HuffPo on the nipple issue.

Huffington Post's Vice President for Communications, Mario Ruiz, responded to my inquiry by copy-pasting Kurtz' column into an e-mail, adding: "There's nothing much we can add to what she already emailed Howie."

Huffington to Kurtz:

Huffington dismisses this argument by e-mail, calling it "silly and highly limiting to assume that all progressives can't wait to get to the orgy and all conservatives have a chastity belt in their drawer. . . . As the Washington City Paper's blogger herself points out, we have a wide range of news and opinion on all our sections — including our Entertainment section.

"Looking for hidden political agendas in every article and every photo on HuffPost will lead to some very convoluted conclusions. As Freud said, 'Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar' — and a nipple slip is just a nipple slip."

Huffington misses the point here. This isn't about valuing promiscuity or chastity. It's not about whether liberals or conservatives should or shouldn't like sex. This is about objectifying women by reducing them to their nipples, which is, in my opinion, anti-feminist. And personally, I would hope that progressives would make very basic women's issues like this a priority.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a woman is just a nipple.

UPDATE: Ruiz has written back with an expanded version of Huffington's statement:

At The Huffington Post we feel that trying to analyze everything in life by looking through a right vs left political prism — including Entertainment and celebrity coverage — will lead to a very distorted view of the world. In fact, we feel that looking at politics in that tired way will lead to a distorted view of the world (compare Dick Cheney’s view on gay marriage to Barack Obama’s and get back to me about right vs left). It is silly and highly limiting to assume that all progressives can’t wait to get to the orgy and all conservatives have a chastity belt in their drawer. History has proven otherwise again and again and again.

[As you pointed out last week], we have a wide range of news and opinion on all our secctions — including our Entertainment section. Looking for hidden political agendas in every article and photo on HuffPost will lead to some very convoluted arguments. As Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” – and a nipple slip is just a nipple slip.

  • anonymous

    Yes...and sometimes a carefully placed titillating news article is a carefully placed titillating news article. Good try Amanda. You know they'd never admit it anyways. What's funny is that they are coming off as if their periodical is "high brow" and they ONLY REPORT THE NEWS. It's one thing to call "Nipple slips" news. It is another thing to designate a whole section (group of articles) on the subject. Even CityPaper isn't that low.

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com Mike Riggs

    Arianna will respond to David Carr (b/c he's at the NYT) and "Howie" (b/c he's at WaPo), but not to wittle old Washington City Paper!?

    It's like there are two conversations going on: The behemoths and everybody else. I really, really, really, hope that someone at an equally large paper will call out Arianna for responding only to large, well-established (and friendly) outlets.

  • http://http://www.animalmind.blogspot.com M@

    I agree w/ Huffington Post. Is it really sexist (bad) to display images of the most beautiful (from my perspective) aspect of "creation?" As a liberal, I'd rather live in a society in which people ran about nude than clothed head to toe in dark cloth....

    "But I feel so protected!" the modern Muslim woman says....

  • http://http://www.animalmind.blogspot.com M@

    FYI, via the Drudge Report (which you probably don't read):

    http://wcbstv.com/local/racy.ck.billboard.2.1044421.html

  • Coleman

    A nipple slip is just a nipple slip...until it becomes a media event.

    Huffington misses the point. No one's accusing her of a hidden sexist agenda. The point is that her magazine posts sexist fluff that contradicts it's ostensibly progressive stance. That's certainly their right, but it brings up two points. 1) HuffPo as a whole doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. At the very least I'll approach it with great skepticism. 2) Perhaps it is impossible for any mainstream publication to turn a profit without stooping so low.

  • anonymous

    Point #1 Coleman! Defintely that one. A possible Point #3, Being a "progressive paper" doesn't make you holier than thou'

    @ M@, so by linking to the Calvin Klein Ad, are you saying that the HuffPo's Nipple Slips are the acts Of Desperate [Newspaper] Who Is No Longer Relevant In [News Media] Community?

    Then again, HuffPo's front page on 6/15 gives rise to the saying, "If it Bleeds, it Leads!" regarding the Iran rally shooting.

  • Jed

    Dear God M@ - GO AWAY! The trouble you have caused is bad enough but to continue to comment on CPs blogs is just plain weird, get some help.

  • Jean

    Jed: don't feed the troll.

  • Pingback: Huffington Post: Sometimes A Cigar Is Just A Nipple Is Just Sexist - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

  • The Truth

    And sometimes Linkbait is just linkbait. HuffPo are just tabloid traffic whores. This wouldn't be an issue if they weren't trying to position themselves as a legitimate news source.

  • Roger

    ...maybe this IS their idea of legitimate. (be just like the printed media)

...