From the Stacks: Follow the Leaders

This ad for Newsweek appeared in the pages of the April 1984 issue of Ms.: a roundup of “leaders of the world” without a woman in sight. It seems an unusual ad for a feminist magazine to take, but Ms. was going through a struggle concerning whether to accept paid advertisement (see Gloria Steinem’s article “Sex, Lies & Advertising” from the July/August 1990 issue of Ms.), which resulted in the publication of some questionable ads like this one.

However, another question here is why Newsweek thought that an ad depicting such a startling lack of gender diversity would appeal to women in the first place. Perhaps they didn’t notice they were ignoring half the world’s population?

It also makes us wonder: How far have we really come since then? Of course, there are the Angela Merkels and Hillary Clintons of the world, who have shattered glass ceilings. But where are all the other women leaders?


  1. I find it frightening that you would leave Palin's name out of this post and expect to be taken seriously as a feminist publication. This is exactly what has caused most of us to leave the feminist movement. This power play of either bashing women you don't like or acting like you're so much better than them to aknowledge them. Obama has been a disaster on women's causes on all fronts and you have the nerve to ask this question "Where are our women leaders?" Are you kidding? Look at what YOU do to them. This is exactly why feminism failed and has absolutely no relevance going forward. Nobody is listening anymore. Anything Gloria says is dismissed because we've all woken up since the 70s and figured it out. Thank goodness for all of our dissident thinkers who stand up to this brand of faux feminism that used to horrifyingly take center stage and hold power. This mind set works for a tiny niche of women too old to change or examine their actions or fault in the utter failure of feminism to appeal to women least of all anyone else. I am a pro choice feminist and I do not condone the way most feminists treat Palin and neither do a growing number of us.

  2. Definitely seems like poor marketing on Newsweek's part, but then an attempt to look diverse by throwing in say Thatcher, Merkel and Pratibha Patil would have been a very transparent effort.

  3. If women were our public servants we could not get away with all the privileges we are able to establish through men.

  4. Ms. hasn't been "bashing women [they] don't like"; actually it was the only publication I'm aware of that cited and opposed sexist media coverage during the election…including that imposed upon Palin (which appeared to be perpetrated most frequently by those whom she considers her supporters). If you have evidence of women bashing by Ms., please provide citations along with the accusations.

    • Speaking of faux feminism: Palin is not a leader; she is a resigned ex-Governor and failed candidate for VP (I can think of about a million other women who could better be described as a leader). I respect her as a human being, but if she were a leader, I would not be willing to follow. You are welcome for my dissident thinking, but because of it I must reserve the right to not mindlessly bow down to Palin based solely on her possession of ovaries while summarily dismissing "anything Gloria says" simply because it is no longer the 70s…it is disrespectful to our feminist foremothers who have paved the way to make it so it is no longer as it was in the 50s; if we forget our history, we go backward, not forward; we will never learn, change or grow by being dismissive instead of listening and considering for ourselves.

      • Is the ageist statement against "women too old" your idea of real feminism? That may temporarily "work" for a growing niche of women, but I do not condone it and it is certainly destined to be an utter failure as 1) it encourages mistrust and segregation amongst women and 2) we will all get older, so one who promotes this brand of "feminism" now will soon have younger women using it against them and that's self-defeating.

  5. I have just seen this at a preview screening in London.

Leave a Reply to Danielle Davis Cancel reply


Error, no Ad ID set! Check your syntax!