Perhaps you've seen some of the controversy around the December cover of Wired magazine. The cover is a close-up image of a pair of Caucasian breasts, referencing the cover story about a new bio-technology that allows women to grow more of their own breast tissue after mastectomy or for cosmetic reasons. While the technology is currently being used for breasts, it has potential to help repair other kinds of organ damage. The cover is certainly provocative and has garnered some complaints.
My husband and I subscribe to Wired and both really like their articles. In general, we find the magazine interesting and thought-provoking. We haven't been too excited to read this particular issue, though, because the cover is so off-putting; we definitely don't bring it out and about with us to read in waiting rooms or on public transit. It looks like a cover of Playboy. Not exactly the impression I want to make with strangers or colleagues.
Journalism professor and blogger Cindy Royal expands the critique of this cover to Wired's whole history of covers. Wired editor Chris Anderson defends his editorial decisions in the comments section, and I'm sympathetic to his position. I think it's unfair for Royal to dismiss the way Wired celebrates Martha Stewart and Sarah Silverman but count a Will Ferrell cover as celebrating men. I'm also torn about my desire to hold media I consume to a higher standard than the rest of the culture. After all, the tech industry is far from the only industry with a woman problem, and Wired isn't the only magazine that regularly promotes men's achievements more than women's. (Publishers Weekly created a list of the "Best Books of 2009" that didn't include a single female author, and only one man of color.) My ...1
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