Offender: Editor Tina Brown
Media Outlet: Newsweek magazine
The Offense: Newsweek Editor-In-Chief Tina Brown imagines what Princess Diana’s life would have been like if she were alive today. This fantasy life includes several wealthy husbands, a popular Facebook page and botox injections. The magazine cover features a composite photo of an updated Diana walking with Kate Middleton.
NOW’s Analysis: In an attempt to pay tribute to Princess Diana in celebration of what would have been her 50th birthday, Brown’s imagination lingers on the typical subjects associated with women — their appearance, sex appeal and relationship status. Emphasizing her “big blue eyes” and “radiant blondeness,” Brown makes Princess Diana out to be a leading character in a romance novel rather than a leading figure in philanthropy. Brown even works in a reference to the “striding sexuality” of Diana’s mother.
The first portion of Brown’s cover story is dedicated to assuring readers that Diana would have used Botox, conjuring up her fashion preferences and envisioning a glamorized marital lifestyle, including two ex-husbands “on both sides of the Atlantic.” From marriage to a “super-rich hedge fund guy” to succumbing to her “weakness for men in uniform,” Brown’s recreation of Diana’s life is infected with a shallow, sexist point-of-view.
Instead of focusing on Diana’s longtime charitable passions, Brown provides fictional insight into her struggles of sharing the limelight with Kate and possible competitiveness with other beautiful, high-profile women. Even when Brown does get around to speculating on Diana’s prospects as a humanitarian leader, she can’t resist suggesting that the Princess Diana Foundation would be funded by “a steady pipeline of adoring billionaire ex-boyfriends.”
Perhaps the most despicable aspect of the publication’s tribute is the digitally-aged cover image of Diana walking alongside the daughter-in-law she will never meet. It is sensational to imagine what Diana’s life would be like today, complete with “10 million followers on Twitter,” but it is truly perverse to digitally dress, enhance and groom an image of a deceased figure.
Cover picture aside, why is it that Tina Brown, an award-winning media icon, cannot move past the continuous practice of objectifying women? Especially with a woman as prominent, respected and accomplished in the international community as Princess Diana, one would assume there would be more to discuss than her body image and romantic romps. How does that saying go? Sex speaks louder than words…
Take Action: Tell Newsweek what you think about its “Diana at 50” cover story.
Marisella Rodriguez, Communications Intern