The Washington Monthly’s Inner Lecher Finally Breaks Free

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate