Politics

Miss America rips ‘extreme sexism’ of Newsweek’s Bachmann, Palin covers

Despite Newsweek/Daily Beast editor Tina Brown’s denial that the recent Newsweek cover photo of Minnesota congresswoman (and GOP presidential candidate) Michele Bachmann wasn’t sexist, not many seem to be buying it. The National Organization for Women has already called it sexist. And now another critic of Newsweek has stepped up.

On Thursday’s “Fox & Friends” show on the Fox News Channel, 2011 Miss America Teresa Scanlan slammed the weekly news magazine. She called it an example of “extreme sexism,” comparing Newsweek’s portrayals of Bachmann and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with those of their conservative male counterparts.

“Newsweek has had other candidates and they haven’t agreed with [them],” Scanlan said. “They had Rush Limbaugh on the cover. They had former candidates Huckabee and McCain on their covers. And whenever they have a male on the cover, even if they don’t agree with them, as far as policy goes, they portray them in a serious light. They take them seriously and they portray them in a positive light.

“And then as we saw two years ago with the Sarah Palin cover in her running shorts, and … Michele Bachmann. They simply try to degrade women and make fun of them and portray them in a negative light. I think that shows extreme sexism.”

Scanlan explained that while speaking out might threaten her political ambitions, she wants to encourage other young women not to shy away from their goals.

“Many people don’t know there are four points on my crown for a reason,” Scanlan said. “They stand for four things: style, success, scholarship and service. And those are the four fundamentals of the Miss America organization. That’s what we’re based on.

“But many people don’t understand that we are all about promoting those ideals to empower young woman, to promote their education and career goals. And instead, they treat — just because we are women and we choose to portray ourselves in a positive way, they look down on us for that.”

Scanlan also says there is something to be learned about sexism from Newsweek’s mistakes.

“I know [sexism] will continue in the future in politics, and it’s incredible to see that many people don’t take sexism seriously in our country today,” she continued. “And I think if nothing else, something positive came from this cover and it is a clear and definitive portrayal of how real it truly is.”