Does The Huffington Post Use Sexism To Drive Liberal Page Views?

Illustration for article titled Does The Huffington Post Use Sexism To Drive Liberal Page Views?

The Sexist blogger Amanda Hess says, "Yes." And we're a little hard-pressed to disagree.


She lists off some recent stories from the site's "Entertainment" section to give you some flavor.

This one-sided liberal hate site has one fatal weakness-boobs. Let's check out some recent stories from the Huffington Post's entertainment section:

  • Here are some photos of Natalie Portman's nipple.
  • Here are some photos of Beyonce's nipple, complete with HuffPo-provided "NSFW zoom."
  • Here are some photos of Pamela Anderson's nipple (hardly news, but a boob's a boob).
  • Here is an entire page devoted to recently naked women (and Barack Obama).
  • Here is a collection of zoomed-in photos of 23 celebrities' breasts, made into a fun game called "Guess the Celebrity Breast Implants?"

Pretty standard entertainment-section blog fare here-though HuffPo does go above and beyond with the "NSFW zoom." You don't see a Beyonce nipple that close just anywhere.

While Amanda's examples aren't all from the same day, it's a rare day that some coverage of a salacious story about an attractive woman doesn't make HuffPo's "Top Stories." An example, from today:

Illustration for article titled Does The Huffington Post Use Sexism To Drive Liberal Page Views?

So, there's an auto-erotic asphyxiation story and Heather Graham opining about her love of Tantric sex. Gotcha. And on the day after Sarah Palin told Sean Hannity that she'd like to tell Obama voters, "I told you so," about America becoming a Socialist nation yet not being permitted to speak to a Republican audience, their front page story about her isn't atypical.

Illustration for article titled Does The Huffington Post Use Sexism To Drive Liberal Page Views?

Not atypical, if one is running a gossip site.

Amanda acknowledges that the nip slip/hot chick page views are part of Huffington Post's business model, regardless of its politics. But she notes that the entertainment coverage often does have a liberal bent — it's just not often sensitive to women.

But look past the nipples, if you can, and you will find a clear liberal bent in HuffPo's non-boob Entertainment stories. Yesterday, the top three links on the Entertainment page could be considered GLBT interest stories: "Adam Lambert Confirms Rolling Stone To Address His Sexuality"; "WATCH: Neil Patrick Harris' FANTASTIC Tonys Closing Song"; "Gordon Ramsay Shocks Audience With ‘Lesbian' Rant About Journalist." Also on the page yesterday was blogger Jackson Katz's post directly addressing the objectification of women in entertainment, titled "Eminem, Misogyny and the Sounds of Silence."


Notably, most of HuffPo's bloggers aren't paid — and their coverage isn't highlighted with splash page retail space in the same way that the stories about sex and nipples are.

And while some people might call looking at nip slips a little mindless fun to drive in the viewers HuffPo desires to influence politically, Amanda isn't having it.

The problem is that people really do care about nipples. They care so much about nipples that the Huffington Post devotes pages and pages of photographs to them when women accidentally (or, you know, against their will) reveal them to the public. In that way, there's no difference between the religious conservative who is scandalized by a bare breast popping up in the middle of his football game and a liberal Web site which devotes its resources to naked chicks. A woman's body part is a priority. Real women's issues, not so much.


Somehow, "Come for the nipples, stay for the feminism" doesn't seem quite right to us either.

Huffington Post: Liberal Politics, Sexist Entertainment [Washington City Paper]



The journalistic voice over at HP has always sounded to me like the cranky "progressive" college guy who can bend your ear for hours about the 1st amendment but is uncomfortable talking about abortion rights and claims "irony" when he yells for boob views at a Mardi Gras party. There's a definite frat-house vibe over there, and it would bother me less if this weren't the first noteworthy acknowledgment of it.