The Washington Post

Sheila Bair on body image (video)

Among the topics discussed at Monday’s Top American Leaders forum? Body image.

The Washington Post and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership hosted the event, honoring seven people as the new Top American Leaders: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R); former FDIC chairwoman Sheila Bair; Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas; Freeman A. Hrabowski II, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County; Ahmed Zewail, a Nobel Prize winner and professor of chemistry and physics at California Institute of Technology; New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof; and Michael M. Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

During the forum, Bair was asked about how women in political positions deal with criticism of their physical appearance.

“I’ve seen kind and not-so-kind comments about my physical appearance and commentary and on the Web and things,” Bair told moderator Mary Jordan. “I think Vogue contacted us halfway through the [economic] crisis. They were doing a power woman thing, and they came and… they called back later and said we’re not going to run it. We’ll put it on the Web site, we’re not going to run it. And we kinda said, well you put us through all of this, and thanks but no thanks.

“And then there were all these blogs later that said I wasn’t attractive enough to be in Vogue. Okay, but why is that relevant? Why does that matter? And the unkindness of it I think that women do put up with it more than men do, I think.”

The winners, selected by a committee of experts from Harvard, spoke about their experiences Monday at Ford’s Theatre.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Further reading:

And, the winners are...

For more, visit PostPolitics and Washington Post Live.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.


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