|Photo source: Huffington Post|
But Vogue is one thing. Yesterday, it was announced that US Glamour was granted some serious face time with President Barack Obama in the crucial final throes of the campaign. Hmmm. So the story goes, Editor in chief Cindi Leive flew to Oregan last month to sit down with the big O for an exclusive that will run in, erm, the magazine's November issue (sorry, September, you've just been bumped). Though Barack chatted to the mag in 2008 together with John McCain, he has not done so since inaugurated into the house of white, which makes this a whole different kettle of plugging political fish. Now, here's my bone. It's the same one I had in 2008 when Barack's abs appeared glistening in swim trunks going for a jog down a Hawaiian beach a matter of weeks before the election on the cover of revered political journal, US Weekly. The game we ought to be playing is one for politics, not popularity: we are voting for America's next President, not it's next Idol. The play to nontraditional political media that began in the last election, a marked change in media strategy from the boring old days when politics were not sexy and social media savvy (P.S. have you seen the Mittumblr???), is symptomatic of this mentality. And it's not just limited to fashion. The Obama campaign has also recently granted interviews to ESPN Magazine (political footballs galore), People (Justin Bieber meets education reform) and Entertainment Tonight (Keeping up with the Kabulians Season 11).
For me, these mass market ploys do not speak to the power of the people outside spheres typically concerned with politics (say, your average fashionista) or demonstrate the importance of the "young woman's vote" in the upcoming election. Rather, they feel like a strategic pin-pointing of said demographic (let's stick with young women in particular) after dear old Mittens has made it clear that one of his first orders of business if elected president would be to start rolling back our rights. B.O. sees a voter demographic disenfranchised and swoops in with his marketing machine in order to clinch it for his own. But should we young woman feel catered or condescended to? Do we not watch the President's press conferences or read the newspapers and make up our own minds on his policies and promises? Do we need political platforms spelled out for us in fashion friendly font and sprinkled with lighter content such as Barack's "must-have accessories for fall" just to make sure we don't just keep turning the page until we land on Robert Pattinson's smiling face? A source from Glamour says that Levie and the President discussed "women's health care, among other topics," but it's hard to imagine the glossy's corporate ad-laden pages to be the breeding grounds of a forthright discussion of women's reproductive rights.
I'm not saying Glamour has no place shoving a dictaphone in the general vicinity of the President of the United States' mouth--I'm just saying media is divided into niches for a reason. When experts start muddling their lines of expertise, it's not always for the benefit of the reader. Because this strategy is not a case of the more media the merrier, it is a pointed and selective targeting of what kind of individuals receive what kind of information without the hard-hitting press asking the hard-hitting questions in between. While the Prez has been chatting to Glamour, he has not addressed the White house Press Corp in weeks.
The way is Forward, but when it comes to November 2012, I'm not sure that it needs to be fashion Forward.
What say you all?