Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
April 7, 2007

Since November (#7): Mrs. Speaker

Mrs.-Speaker

Pelosi-1St-Day

The first image is Vanity Fair‘s portrait of Nancy Pelosi in its February ’07 "Power Facebook" article showcasing D.C.’s "new ruling class."  This photo, more than any other in the article, keys to the article title: Blue Is The New Red."   The second photo — a picture Pelosi clearly intended to broadcast — fronted the NYT after the ceremonial family-centered first day of the latest Congress.

With Pelosi’s ascension to Speaker, followed by Hillary Clinton’s entrance into the Presidential race, we have had a lot of discussion here at The BAG about gender politics.  One theme of the conversation is that the Democrats, and Democratic women, in particular, must necessarily project power and toughness on one hand, and compassion, even nurturance, on the other other.

In the first shot, which I’ve spent a lot of time looking at, I can’t help seeing the red scarf — dragging on the ground — as a kind of trophy, as if the skin of the old right-wing conservative majority.  In the second photo, which I originally had all kinds of problems with, I appreciate how Pelosi framed a new tone and agenda in one scene.

I was interested in your take on Pelosi four months into the power shift; how you now read these key images; and how you assess Pelosi and the Democrats — especially the leading Democratic women — as they manage the balancing act.

This eight day series, titled "Since November," looks at images that have caught The BAG’s
attention over the past four months. Many are inspired by the change in
political landscape following the Democratic Congressional victory
in November. In this stretch, I am taking some time off, leaving the
site — and the conversation — in your hands.

(image 1: Jonas Karlsson.  Washington.  Vanity Fair.  February 2007. image 2: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times. Washington. January 5, 2007. nyt.com)

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