Thursday, January 29, 2015

Does Context Matter in the Face of Controversy

I doubt there will be any disagreement about the controversial nature of the cover Newsweek designed to highlight their "What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women" article (reproduced, for those who have not seen it, on the an ABC7 Web page). It is also not surprising that there are readers calling the cover "obscene, sexist and contributing to sexism" (quoting from that same Web page). However, like the dog that did not bark in the night, it would appear that no one bothered to ask whether the cover was designed by a man or a woman and if the answer to that question would influence how it is judged. For better or worse, the image previews one position on the question raised by the article. If a woman designed it to make sure that readers recognize that particular side of the issue, should she be held to task for committing an "obscene" act; or is she just giving the mule a sharp blow to the head to get its attention?

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