“The question may seem sexist, even crass, but serious people — as well as Fred Thompson’s supporters — have been wrestling with the public reaction to Jeri Kehn Thompson, whose youthfulness, permanent tan and bleached blond hair present a contrast to the 64-year-old man who hopes to win the hearts of the conservative core of the Republican party. Will the so-called values voters accept this union?
“Meanwhile, much of the brouhaha around Mrs. Thompson, 40, is being stirred by photos of her in form-fitting gowns circulating on the Internet. “One picture on the Internet and all of a sudden she’s reduced to being a bimbo?” said Mark Corallo, media advisor to Thompson’s nascent political campaign.”
One photo? Check out this site. She’s not exactly a wounded wallflower, folks.
“On a morning cable news show last month, Joe Scarborough, the commentator and former Republican congressman from Florida, compared Mrs. Thompson to a stripper…On the Web site Footballguystalk.com, Mr. Thompson not only won votes thanks to his wife, but one anonymous poster said, “I think he’s my new idol!”…Mr. Thompson’s supporters, on their Web site draftthompson08.blogspot.com, put it this way: “It couldn’t hurt diplomatic relations to have a smart, pretty blonde as first lady.”
“But that comment was quickly attacked. One writer described the May-December marriage as “gross,” while others said Mrs. Thompson was an outright liability. Political analysts said there is very little evidence to suggest that candidates’ spouses affect their electoral outcomes. But one political scientist, Karen O’Connor, the director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University, said Mr. Thompson may lose with one key group whose support he needs: Republican women.
“I think women have an innate ‘ick’ reaction when they see a wife so much younger and vital than her husband,” Professor O’Connor said.
The sexism in this story, of course, is rampant. But, you tell me. Is Thompson’s wife a liability? Should she be a liability? Should she be viewed as empowering for women, or does she further the stereotype of “lookism” and objectification?
Cross posted from AoF