'Newsweek's Sexist Cover Is Making a Lot of People Angry (PHOTO)

newsweek sexist coverWe are well aware that magazines often resort to controversy when it comes to their covers all in an effort to sell copies. But the image used to illustrate Newsweek's cover story, "What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women," is igniting a firestorm of its own. Simply put, Newsweek's cover is sexist.


The article by Nina Burleigh is an eye-opening look at the sexism within the misogynistic tech industry, which includes "rape-y emails" and sexual harassment from a wealthy boys' club. "Code-babes" (as women are called in some places) are not equal. Some have been expected to have sex in exchange for work "favors." This is happening in some of the biggest and "best" tech companies out there. It's a sordid world behind the computer screen. There aren't that many women in the industry to begin with and the ones who are there are paid less. Dare they fail, they are not given the pass that their male counterparts are given. But thankfully, times are changing. We hope. Not that this cover would lead anyone to think that.

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The woman depicted here is wearing what Joan on Mad Men would wear -- a bright red dress, with matching pumps and lipstick. Mad Men takes places in the '60s, when women in the workplace were relatively a new thing. While just a character on the show, Joan had to have sex with a client in order for the company to gain his business. Some may have thought this isn't happening anymore, but it is. Women may now be saying no, but the requests for sexual favors exist. I understand that this image takes that notion in hopes to get us to notice the injustices happening now in 2015, but they are perpetuating that frat boy mentality -- the cursor lifting the skirt gives me an uncomfortable feeling.

I spoke with a man who has worked in the tech industry for over 10 years and asked his thoughts on the cover, the article, and if he has witnessed sexism. He has asked to remain anonymous. He said:

I found the cover to be sexist. It downplays and undermines the actual article, which makes some great points. Unfortunately, they were trying for shock value. People don't seem to be reading the content because they are so shocked by the cover. It was a poor choice by the editors.

Everyone [in the tech industry] is on edge in the Twitterverse since Gamergate and all the other sexist stuff happening in tech.

Gamergate began last year and is centered around sexism in the video game culture. When I asked this male veteran in the tech world how many women he has worked with in his career, he said "maybe four." Women had made up less than 10 percent of the teams he has been on over the years.

A 15-year female start-up veteran who wishes to remain anonymous as well has stories similar to those in the article. She shared:

The cover is sexist; it’s mirroring the sexism that exists in the tech start-up world, in everything from hiring (dudes are more comfortable working with dudes, bro) to pay inequality to women being expected to provide sex for consideration of financing or to land a client (all of these things have happened to me directly).

Changes need to happen now.

While the article is great, the cover is distracting -- the image is causing its own controversy, it has made it seem that Newsweek is in the tech frat boy club, taking time for their graphic artists to create misogynistic renderings of women in short dresses. This issue will sell. The cover alone may be discussed more than the crucial article itself. Newsweek is doing exactly what Time magazine did when they featured a mom breastfeeding her 3-year-old son on the cover with the line, "Are You Mom Enough?" I just hope people read the article and not just snicker at the cover.

What do you think of the Newsweek cover? Is it sexist?


Image via Newsweek

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