Monday, October 8, 2007

Newsweek, women, power: Is this all there is?

Available online now, a Newsweek edition on "Women and Power." Profiled are 11 women and their "paths to power." They are:

Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post
Julie Greenwald, president of Atlantic Records
Andrea Wong, president and CEO of Lifetime Network and Entertainment Services
Rachel Roy, fashion designer
Kyra Sedgwick, actor
Lucy Jones, chief scientist, Multihazards Demonstration Project
Shirley Franklin, Atlanta's mayor
Lorena Ochoa, golfer
Rachael Ray, television host and cookbook author
Shonda Rhimes, creator and executive producer of the TV shows "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice"
Elaine Pagels, Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion, Princeton

Far different than Forbes' list of last month. Despite the presence of transnational women like Mexico-born Ochoa (below) and Greece-born Huffington (pictured above during her ill-fated 2003 California gubernatorial run), Newsweek's list lists in the direction of American exceptionalism, and so ignores much of the world's population. For a compilation of women said to comprise "Leadership for the 21st Century," moreover, the list is extraordinarily weighted in favor of the entertainment world -- in some cases, to entertainment of the most stereotypically female kind (just take a look at a typical day's Lifetime Channel lineup). One detects a rather unorthodox definition of "power" at play. Most disturbing in this era of rapid globalization: the dearth of women engaged in global public discourse on timely topics as broad as society's needs.
If this is all of women's leadership in the eyes of America's mainstream media, there's a long way yet to go.

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