Good Feminist Housekeeping

Readers are riled by a Ms. cover featuring a soft-focus Jane Fonda with flowers and puppy.

Topics: Broadsheet, Love and Sex,

Feministing takes Ms. magazine to task for its winter cover, which features a glowing, frosted Jane Fonda in a frilly pink top, flanked by a pastel bouquet and a teeny fuzzy dog (and the women’s-mag-style cover line “5 Ways a Woman’s Heart Differs From a Man”).

My God! Has Ms. been taken over by the Borg? Has Gloria Steinem been assimilated?

(Why, at least, couldn’t the photo show Fonda doing her empowerment work with teenage girls?)



This cover is, after all, a far, far cry from Barbara Kruger’s 1992 “Rage + Women = Power” (which I used to have on my wall), and a far too close cry, says Feministing, to the February 2003 issue of Good Housekeeping, which features Laura “L Is for Women” Bush and her little dog, too.

But wait! Isn’t it also possible that the Ms. cover — which, P.S., also features stories such as “Women Take On Wal-Mart” and “Can We Stop the War in Iraq?” — simply serves to remind us that there are all sorts of feminists, even (ahem) pink ones with puppies? Could it serve as a welcome mat for “I’m not a feminist, but” feminists? Can Women + Flowers = Power, too?

What do you think?

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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