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UTLOO managing editor

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LAUREN LEVY

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OUTLOOK O FALL table of contents

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Kim Kardahsian’s 72-day reality marriage How real is a Real Housewife? Michele Bachman fighting like a girl Behind the veil: realities of Middle Eastern women Be fashion forward this fall Holiday gifts that won’t get returned Like what you see?

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im Kardashian became the focus of celebrity news ever since E! Hollywood aired the show “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.” Viewers everywhere follow her on Twitter, keeping up with Kim’s personal life as well as what is going on with her family. So when Kim filed for divorce after being married to Kris

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Humphries for only 72 days, the media went crazy. People’s reactions ranged from disbelief, to anger, to criticism of society in general. Comments on social media sites such as Twitter and Tumblr kept conversations going for days. This has brought many questions to my attention. Would so much criticism and time be spent on this

topic if Kardashian weren’t famous? Probably not. Why hasn’t there been so much talk about the fact that Kris Humphries is also getting divorced? He was just as much a part of it as Kim Kardashian was, but because he and his family have not been as strongly in the spotlight as Kim and her family have, nobody seemed to care about Humphries’ side of it. The divorce rate in the United


States has increased immensely over the past couple of years. In 2011 alone 49% of marriages ended in divorce. But if they weren’t famous or ending up in a huge lawsuit, did we hear about them? No, no we didn’t. People act like it is the end of the world when a celebrity gets divorced, cue Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, but when your average Joe gets divorced, nobody seems to think twice about it. Kris Humphries has barely been mentioned throughout this entire

process. Everybody is talking about Kim Kardashian and her family. Humphries is just as famous as she is, as he is basketball player for the New Jersey Nets. The truth is, everybody is focused on Kim because her family put themselves in the spotlight in the first place. Because Kim is a woman and is famous, the public cares much more about the fact that she is getting divorced and what she is doing about it, than they care about how Humphries feels.

Kim Kardashian and her family put themselves in the spotlight when they agreed to have a television show. Because of this, people have been following the Kardashians and everything they have been doing for years. At some point though, I think it’s time to say enough. Divorce shouldn’t be a public topic. It’s a serious subject that should be kept within the family who is being affected by it. Even if they are celebrities.

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BIG shoes to fill

As the race for the GOP ticket intensifies, Bachmann Michele struggles to hond on. Is America ready for a female candidate? By Nikelle Snader


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s the light begins to wane over Michele Bachmann’s campaign, one has to wonder about the detrimental causes of a nowdwindling candidacy. What was it that led to such a drastic drop in the polls, so that in the most recent Gallup poll she behind almost every candidate at a 1% approval rating, trailed only by Jon Huntsman? Sure, it could be that her verbal blunders have set her back a few paces, but she is contending against a group that has made their share, too. Herman Cain, who at one point led with a 25% approval rating, continues to fend off allegations of sexually harassing women. Gingrich

is now leading in the polls, but is a constant source of controversy. Rick Perry forgot which three government agencies he would cut in a recent GOP debate. (Perhaps he should make some flashcards next time.) No one knows what Jon Huntsman plans to do to revive his campaign. Mitt Romney is perhaps the only Republican candidate to stave off utter humiliation in recent months. But what is it about Bachmann that makes her an easy target? It may be her policies and her strong, conservative bias. But it could also be that the United States still is not ready to accept a viable female candidate for president. The political realm for women

across politics continues to broaden. However, it may not be fast enough to create a system in which women are fully accepted. At least, not in time for a competitive 2012 female presidential candidate to contend. Admittedly, only three women have thus far made it far enough in the race to be considered ‘newsworthy.’ Hillary Rodham Clinton gave President Barack Obama a run for his money in the 2008 Democratic primaries, and now serves as the secretary of state in Obama’s Cabinet. Not bad for a woman who fought to be recognized in her own right and away from the shadow of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Sarah


Palin, John McCain’s running mate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, made a splash when she entered the national political arena. The former governor of Alaska made her presence well-known, but perhaps not for the right reasons. She made news, not always about her political convictions, but about her clothing, her mothering skills, and her personality. And now we have Michele Bachmann. Sure, she’s getting some media coverage. But it’s normally not about her policies or about her politics at all. It’s about the fact that she is the only female in the race. What happened to the media when the framing for female candidates became a commentary on personality, and not on their politics? More articles ran about Palin’s family and her expensive wardrobe update

than about how she governed Alaska, or how she planned to govern the United States with McCain. Rodham Clinton was respected for the issues she presented, but was colder than other female candidates, which opened her up to name-calling and insinuations that she had to “wear the pants.” (Which, in and of itself, is a sexist statement.) Bachmann was asked by Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” whether she is “a flake” on national television, according to a New York Times June 2011 article. Even Michelle Obama, the current First Lady, has more coverage about her J.Crew attire than her philanthropy and work in the White House. The rhetoric used to discuss these issues would not be used with male candidates. And yet, it seems that the media cannot find a way to

discuss them any other way. According to a fact sheet compiled by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, the number of women in American politics has risen only marginally in the past few years. In 2001, 13.6% of the U.S. Congress was comprised of women. This number increased over the years, but at a snail’s pace. Today in 2011, ten years later, that percentage has risen to a mere 16.8%. By the numbers, that is 90 of the 535 seats in Congress. Yes, it’s progress. But a progress reminiscent of draining syrup from a maple tree. It’s time for a change. But what is the solution? It’s hard to say that more women should run for office just for the sake of running. The U.S. needs more women in office, but the country needs competent, passionate women, not just

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just placeholders. It’s even harder to say more women should run, if they’ll only be subject to criticisms that have little to do with their actual campaign. It’s not that women need to be protected from the media – any person who decides to run for public office should be aware of the attention they avail themselves to. However, the coverage should be critical of programs and policies, not pantsuits. It seems that no matter the small

amount of progress, trivial matters will continue to plague female candidates. Recently, Bachmann was the center of additional drama while a guest on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” last Monday night. The show’s in-house band the Roots played the song “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” to introduce the candidate, a song Bachmann found extremely offensive. Bachmann received apologies from Fallon and from the network, but the fact remains

that the incident happened at all. It’s easy to pull stunts like that, and at times they’re even amusing. But they’re at the expense of the candidate, and it’s all too often a female one. Perhaps change will come, and the dialogue about female candidates will not be as confined to a single, impossible media frame. But until that time, it seems as if women will need to find an airtight platform and a conservative wardrobe. O


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Behind the veil: Women of the Middle East

By Gabriella Rello

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hrouded in mystery by a traditional hijab, women in Saudi Arabia walk through life – with a male guardian – hidden from the world. In a nation with some of the harshest censorship and modesty laws, Saudi women are bound by government and religious laws to remain submissive to men. In late September 2011, women were granted the right to vote. All they

have to do is wait until 2015. As the nation takes progressive steps forward toward allowing women equal rights, there is still the clear notion that men rule the roost. Although their longawaited opportunity to vote is slowly becoming a reality, women are still unable to drive or spend time outside the home without veiling their face, hair and body. The government works tirelessly to keep women suppressed

in society, often hiding behind religious doctrine in order to defend their actions. But with the right to vote inching closer, women will be able to elect other women into municipal government seats and slowly turn the tides in government. For now, however, men hold all of the power and make the decisions that affect women every day. Women are widely >>


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underrepresented in the media and the content left for them to consume is indicative of this fact. From advertising to editorial spreads, magazines sold in Middle Eastern nations are nearly always subject to “magic marker treatment”, or photo shopping in which “un-modest” photos are poorly retouched in order to cover revealing photographs. Such censorship forces magazines to alter the images of femininity and sexuality they produce or risk being banned from these nations. The media is essentially required to self-censor and provide less provocative content in order to maintain their presence within Saudi Arabia. Elle magazine opted to start a Middle East version of their publication in the summer of 2006. Saudi government officials immediately banned the magazine from hitting their newsstands,

forcing the publication to seek other nations for sales. Instead, content was produced for sale in Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Egypt, Dubai, Kuwait, and Jordan. Elle mixed Western fashion influences with traditional Middle Eastern dress, which included styling for women who veil themselves in public. By pairing the traditional hijab with high fashion shoes and handbags, Elle opted to bring together Eastern and Western influences to create content that is both acceptable and wanted. Unfortunately, Saudi women, who are major consumers of Western highfashion clothing, were never able to lay their hands on these issues. Similarly, Marie Claire, which began its Middle Eastern run in 2009, faced issues regarding censorship of the female gender in Saudi Arabia. The magazine’s first run was quickly halted due to a story featuring a female

football team. The government forced the publication to alter the story if it would be produced in Saudi nations, delaying the arrival of the anticipated women’s monthly. By changing the story, the government in Saudi Arabia is showing that it believes women can and should only be portrayed in a certain light: a strong woman playing a man’s sport simply will not do. Such censorship dictates the types of opportunities women will believe are available to them, essentially ending any opportunity for a woman to think for herself and go after goals she may have. Advertisements in Middle Eastern publications, which are essential to the success of any magazine, must also abide by strict censorship laws. In a Medela Maternity Support Belt advertisement, the Saudi Arabian government chose to censor the body of a pregnant woman wearing >>


the item as it was deemed too revealing. By taking such action, the advertisement was essentially irrelevant; the only part left of the advertisement was the product name and a woman’s face. Despite potentially risking the reputation of the publications that had to run these altered images, the government felt strongly that the images needed to be blocked in order to respect modesty guidelines. The greater issue at hand is the fact that the government refuses to acknowledge the woman’s form or celebrate a pregnant woman, as is custom in nearly every other part of

the world. Instead of being proud and happy, pregnant women in the Middle East are taught to be ashamed of their bodies. Saudi films also face the harshest censorship in the Middle East. While Egypt is the Eastern hub of cinema production, films from across the world face strict scrutiny before they make it into Saudi movie theaters. That is, if you can find a movie theater. In the past, the Saudi government banned public cinemas in order to dispel sexualized images of women making their way into the public. As they make their slow

resurgence, films from across the world are trying to find their footing in the nation. Both Sex and the City and its sequel (set in Abu Dhabi) were banned from being shown publicly or privately in Saudi Arabia. Deemed irresponsible and highly sexualized, Carrie Bradshaw and her friends are taboo in the strict country. Sure, women are getting the right to vote if they can wait around a few more years, but will their votes even matter? With a government so strict, the question is whether will go out to vote and whether a woman’s say will even make a difference. O

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