All Hail the White Male Establishment (I’m being sarcastic)


Vanity Fair's October 2006 coverOK, so the October 2006 issue of Vanity Fair, with Tom Cruise and Katie Holme’s daughter, Suri, on the cover, has been out for quite a while now. I admit I’ve had the magazine lying around for weeks, but I haven’t had a chance to crack it open till this weekend, when I stumbled upon their V.F. 100 (aka “the new establishment”), a list of 100 “major figures of the New Information Age.” There are actually 114 people on their list of 100 (some spots were given to couples or business partners).

Among those 114 folks, guess how many are women? 11.

That’s less than 10 percent of the list. Excuse me if I sound like a pissed-off feminist, but come on! This is beyond ridiculous – this is inexcusable, Vanity Fair. There are more than 11 women who belong on a list of “thinkers, owners, creators, and buyers who set the agenda in myriad arenas.”

To add insult to injury, four of those 11 women are on the list partnered with their husbands. One of those four women is Diane Sawyer (No. 47). As if she doesn’t do enough to belong on such a list without her husband, director Mike Nichols. And someone tell me why eBay CEO Meg Whitman only made the list at No. 73. Hell, even Ralph Lauren ranks at No. 21.

Another example of Vanity Fair‘s outmoded, sexist thinking? Bill Gates gets on the list at No. 5 for his work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but his wife, Melinda Gates, who is a crucial part of the very same organization (which bears her name, for crying out loud!), didn’t even merit an inclusion as part of a couple.

If this list is supposed to represent the movers and shakers shaping our culture today, I want to move to a new culture (maybe one in the Battlestar Galactica universe). Not only are women woefully underrepresented on the V.F. 100, only three people on the list are people of color. Three.

Vanity Fair has surprised me in the past with its savvy essays on complicated political issues as well as fascinating celebrity interviews that go beyond the mere fluff that populates most glossies these days. But this list shows me that Vanity Fair is really just a playground for rich white men.

Which women do you think should be included on a list like this? Tell us what you think.

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