Women's magazines notoriously promote their ideal woman: thin, stylish, beautiful, sexually adventurous. And after seeing who Glamour named as its annual "Women of the Year," readers can now add "liberal" to the list of ideal qualities.
The women featured in Glamour's 2009 list represent a cross-section of accomplished women from different industries - business, politics, sports, entertainment, fashion and humanitarian efforts to name a few.
Cindi Leive, the magazine's editor-in-chief told NBC's Matt Lauer on Nov. 9, that the "common thread" between the women chosen was that "they're not just achieving for themselves, they're really expanding our understanding of what women can accomplish in this world, and that's a great message for young women."
CMI researchers however, found another "common thread" between a majority of the women - they are liberals in good standing, with a record of support for liberal politicians or causes.
Eight of the 12 women featured have made statements that indicated their support for Barack Obama or had given money to the Democratic Party - the same politician and party that seeks to advance gay rights, allow tax-funded abortions, and nationalize health care. Eight prominent liberals, including Obama, NBC's Tom Brokaw and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also lent their time to briefly praise these women in the pages of Glamour's December issue.
First Lady Michelle Obama topped the list and graced one of the five covers created for the December issue for becoming "America's instant icon." Maria Shriver, California's first lady and Ted Kennedy's niece, was named "The Dynamo" for her various projects. Poet Maya Angelou (who was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award), tennis player Serena Williams, Google vice-president Marissa Mayer, founder of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation Dr. Jane Aronson, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Susan Rice, comedienne Amy Poehler and pop star Rihanna rounded out the list. Special mention was also made of the One Million Signatures campaign that strives towards equal rights for women in Iran.
And three women, who had not publicly announced support of Obama, are known for contributing to causes of the left. Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the two journalists from Al Gore's cable network Current TV who were detained in North Korea earlier this year appeared on the list. Fashion designer Stella McCartney is also an animal rights activist who does not use fur or leather in her clothing lines.
Nobody denies that these women do send the powerful message about the impact women can have in the world, but the lack of representation of conservative beliefs on the list tells women that to be considered impactful, they'll have to march lock-step with liberal doctrine.
Glamour left out blatant mentions of the honored women's political beliefs. However, examples abound of their support for Barack Obama.
Maya Angelou, the poet and author who performed the poem at Bill Clinton's first presidential inauguration in 1993, and initially lent her support to Hillary Clinton in the 2008 campaign. Before recoundting her thoughts on Obama, it's worth revisiting some lines for "On the Pulse of Morning," the Poem she read at the Clinton inauguration:
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast ...
You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers - desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.
Obviously, she didn't think much of her nation in 1993. But by 2008, when Obama had been elected, she was encouraged. She told CBS's Harry Smith on Nov. 5, Obama's election indicated America was "growing up."
"[Obama] is inclusive, as opposed to exclusive," Angelou gushed. "I know that he knows he is the president of every black person, every white person, he's the president of the bigots and he must remember that."
Maria Shriver famously endorsed Obama over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 campaign. "He's not about himself. He's about the power of us and what we can do if we come together," Shriver told a crowd in Februay 2008. "He's about empowering women, African-Americans, Latinos, old people, young people. He's about empowering all of us."
Tennis star Serena Williams' religion didn't allow her to vote in the 2008 election, but that didn't stop her from talking about Obama. She told the Associated Press in June 2008 that she was "excited to see Obama out there doing his thing" and she would vote for him "if it wasn't for her religion."
Earlier this year comedienne Amy Poehler told GQ magazine that Obama inspired her comedy series, "Parks and Recreation."
"I play Leslie Knope, the head of the parks department in a small town - and her dream is to build a new park. When Obama says, ‘Okay America, let's get to work!' Leslie is the one who responds, ‘Great! I have all these big ideas.'"
In an interview with David Letterman, Poehler bubbled with joy over the presidential fist bump she got grom Obama last spring after the White House Correspondents dinner.
Next day, go the White House. We get a tour of the West Wing. Terrific, and you know our tour guide was amazing ... So we're there, and I say to the tour guide, is there ever a chance when you're touring the West Wing that the President is there? And he says, absolutely not. If the president was here, this place would be shut down, you guys wouldn't be here. Two minutes later, out of just a little door, walks in the President ... so I try to get some cool points so I say hey, uh great job last night Mr. President. You did really well, you know? And he goes oh really, Amy, he knows my name ... he says, Amy you think I did a good job? I said yeah, your jokes were great, great delivery, great material, and he was like, alright, and he just leaned over and gave me a fist bump ... So um yeah, it was really exciting and them my husband and I did that thing when really exciting things happen where you just like pretend you're like really cool and the whole time you're really like, did that really happen?
And naturally, Michelle Obama gushed over her husband as well. "He was always special, you know? And not like, He's gonna be important, he's gonna be president," she told new Glamour columnist Katie Couric. "He was special in terms of his honesty, his sincerity, his compassion for other people."
Other women featured on Glamour's list avoided spoken endorsements of Obama, but they did let their money speak for them. Collectively, Glamour's "Women of the Year" have given over $100,000 toward Democrat politicians.
According to information found on OpenSecrets.org, the bulk of that amount came from Google vice-president Marissa Mayer. She gave the Obama campaign $2,300 in 2007, and the Democratic National Committee over $28,000 in 2008. An undated record showed Mayer gave over $30,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at another point in time.
Glamour's slant showed in ways beyond statements or financial support for Democratic politicians.
"Well before the greening of fashion was in vogue, this lifelong animal activist refused to work in leather or fur," stated a blurb about fashion designer Stella McCartney.
As evidenced by the charity page on McCartney's Web site, she supports the radical environmental group National Resources Defense Council and animal rights group PETA. McCartney has received awards from both organizations for her work in protecting the environment and animals.
Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the journalists who made the list, work for Al Gore's Current TV, a viewer-driven cable network aimed at the 18-34 demographic. The network's Web site revealed a bias in favor of left-wing causes. In 2005, at the time of the network's launch, The Washington Post reported, "Bias and opinions in these ‘citizen' reports will not only be tolerated but desirable." Time magazine reported, also in 2005, that "nearly all" of the investors were "also big Democratic contributors."
Message for Conservative Woman?
Beneath the layers of female empowerment that this list attempted to promote lurked the message that to make an impact, to be a recognized leader among women, also meant supporting the policies and the politicians of the Democratic party, and the fashionable causes of liberal Hollywood.
Glamour failed to understand that conservative women can be role models too. And in a society where diversity is highly prized, the lack of political diversity reflected by who the magazine's editors chose to honor is truly astounding.