Feminist groups immediately expressed outrage over the New Yorker’s cover for the July 21 issue that depicts a caricature of Michelle and Senator Barack Obama. Editor David Remnick Claims the Caricature is Satirical.
The cover features Michelle and Barack Obama in what appears to be the oval office, with a portrait of Osama bin Laden over the fireplace and a U.S. flag burning in it. The Michelle caricature has an afro, is wearing camouflage, and carries a machine gun while the Barack caricature’s attire mirrors that of bin Laden. The two caricatures are doing a fist bump that Fox News has previously described as a terrorist fist jab.
Chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Dr. E. Faye Williams’ response was that “the New Yorker cover is not satire; it’s racism and sexism at its worst! Never again, will I purchase a New Yorker. Some people understand nothing less than the ‘power of the purse’.”
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is encouraging its membership to e-mail letters to the New Yorker urging that the cover be removed.
The Feminist Majority (FM) has also sent out an action alert. FM President Eleanor Smeal remarks that “Of course some will say that feminists have no sense of humor, but there is absolutely nothing satirical or funny about it. This is a vicious attack masquerading as satire.”
The blogosphere has also lit up. Michelle Obama Watch calls the cover reprehensible” and calls for its “immediate removal”. Feministing calls the cover “a perfect visual summary of what Fox News spews and what right-wing emails allege every day”. The Diary of an Anxious Black Woman asks “are we, as a nation, truly sophisticated enough to make these kinds of jokes?.