The photo that was chosen for the most recent TIME magazine cover story on Hillary Clinton is bound to leave you with some pretty confusing first thoughts. Mine went something like this: "Wow, they couldn't even be bothered to use a photo of her face. Wait, why is she crushing a tiny man? Is that what TIME thinks powerful women do? Dangle tiny men on their powerful yet stylish kitten heels?"
Ugh. Not only is this cover photo sexist, it's also just plain lazy. TIME magazine might as well have used any old stock photo for their cover — turns out, "feminist woman crushing poor man" is a pretty common trope. Jessica Valenti actually has a pretty hilarious compilation of stock photos showing these crushed, emasculated men and their big bad female antagonists. The Cut also has a pretty depressing but thought-provoking compilation called "Feminism, According to Stock Photography" that includes lots of shots showing women wearing boxing gloves or climbing cliffs and ladders — all while wearing business attire, naturally. Huffington Post's Emma Gray asks, "For the love of all things good, can't we be a little more imaginative next time we try to represent a powerful woman?"
TIME's cover photo is yet another reminder that we have a long way to go toward getting everyone to embrace powerful women. It basically says that Hillary isn't entitled to play the political game on equal footing with men. Instead, the very idea that she might even be thinking of running for president in 2016 is depicted as a threat that will lead to the emasculation of men everywhere. But TIME's approach to their cover story shouldn't really come as a surprise. After all, they almost never name a woman as their Person of the Year. Seems like we only get attention when we're trampling around in our giant man-crushing shoes.