Asking Arianna Huffington to StopSeth Matlins

Do you think Arianna Huffington secretly hates women?

Probably not, right?

After all, she’s been a champion and example for women for a while now, right? She’s hosting parties for Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. She’s written books celebrating the “female force”. She’s talked about how women need to “define success differently than men.” She’s even written about how corporate greed is undermining America. She’s on our side, right?

So maybe it’s just me, but I think if you champion women’s rights on the one hand, maybe you shouldn’t oversee a business that objectifies, sexualizes and stereotypes them routinely on the other, the way Huffington Post headlines do.

I think their headlines speak for themselves, but maybe I’m wrong. Admittedly, in our celebrity-soaked culture, when we read about Rihanna or Beyonce or Kim, it’s easy forget that they’re actually people and not just fodder.

So to help make the point, we’ve substituted Arianna’s name for the women in some of Huffington Post’s headlines and/or tweets. If they wrote “Rihanna” or “Miley”, we wrote “Arianna”. Every example below comes from HuffPo over the last few weeks, and sadly, there are hundreds more like them:

  1. Arianna Huffington Wishes She Were More Slutty
  2. Arianna Huffington: My Vagina Smells Like Roses
  3. NSFW: Arianna Flashes Her Headlights
  4. Sweaty Arianna
  5. PHOTO: Arianna Huffington’s Swimsuit Nightmare
  6. Arianna Sex Tape
  7. Arianna’s Hot Workout Pants
  8. Arianna Huffington Nearly Flashes All
  9. Arianna’s Tiny Shorts
  10. Arianna’s Risky Dress
  11. Arianna Goes Low Cut
  12. Arianna Talks Knickers
  13. Arianna’s Skinny Pics
  14. PHOTOS: Arianna Huffington Leaves Her Bra At Home
  15. Arianna Shows Too Much SkinArianna
  16. Arianna Without Make-up
  17. Arianna Debuts Boob Window Dress
  18. Arianna Huffington Doesn’t Leave Much to the Imagination
  19. Arianna Huffington’s Body is Bananas
  20. Arianna Goes Pantsless
  21. Arianna’s Butt Makes An Appearance At Soccer Game

I get it. Headlines that talk about Britney’s butt, Miley’s boobs, and Selena’s sweaty body are good for page views and page views are good for ad revenues. But are they good for women and girls? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no, not when there’s an epidemic crisis of confidence affecting girls and women. The numbers are ugly:

~ Walk down a crowded middle or high school hallway and over 70% of the girls you’ll see don’t think they’re “good enough” in some way.

~ Remember being 13? Well, 50% of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies. By the time they’re 17, 80% will be.

~ 50% of women 18-25 would rather be hit by a truck than be fat.

~ 80% of adult women feel insecure about their looks after seeing images of women in the media.

It’s not like Huffington Post is doing anything that MAXIM and Howard Stern and lots of others aren’t. But I think we should expect more from Arianna; from someone who champions women like she does. If we can’t look to her to do right by women and girls…well, who will?

So we started this petition to ask Arianna to stop what HuffPo’s doing, and to consider the serious disconnect between what she says she values and what her eponymous media empire does.

I know she’s busy, so maybe she hasn’t realized how routine and rampant the denigration is. Maybe she doesn’t even have time to read the Huffington Post. Or maybe it’s moral convenience and hypocrisy, and just another example of the “corporate greed undermining America” she wrote about. Who knows?

I don’t really think Arianna hates women. I do think her SEO and headline strategy however, are pretty wildly hypocritical, and that they hold the true gender equality, and women and girls back, which is bad for everybody…including my 7 year-old daughter and 6 year-old son.

But if you agree, and if like me, you expect more from Arianna than Howard and MAXIM, we hope you’ll sign and share this and ask her to stop stereotyping and objectifying women; to be true to what she says she thinks is important, and to use her platform as President and Editor-In-Chief of HuffPo to do good and lead – and not to undermine women and girls. I’d lean in to that.

 Featured image via Politico

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  1. Awesome idea with the name replacement!

  2. I never even realized what an impact the media had on my self-image until I started going to counseling recently at nearly 30. Not only do I remember specifically feeling “big” and “chubby” in the FIRST GRADE….but I experienced much teasing and bullying in subsequent years, as I was an early bloomer. Nobody came to my rescue. Now, I consider myself a confident adult who works out, eats well, and is a very healthy weight…however, I am still seeing lots of evidence that I feel “not good enough” and I know a lot of it comes from growing up with such confusing messages. As a journalism graduate, I am so disappointed these are the headlines out there when there are much bigger issues to wrestle with.

  3. It’s sad that things like that sell papers and garner page hits.

    Not sure if she realizes what she’s promoting. Come on, Arianna. You can be better than that.