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Democratic Candidate Krystal Ball Attacked Over Racy Photos (VIDEO)

Democratic Candidate Krystal Ball Attacked Over Racy Photos (VIDEO)

Krystal Ball, the Democratic candidate for Virginia’s 1st district, is facing strong scrutiny after a series of old photos were released, depicting Ball at a Christmas party the year after she graduated from college.  In the photos, Ball is fully clothed but wearing what some commentators have deemed a sexually suggestive outfit (a tank top and a Santa hat).  The photos were taken by her ex-husband, who is shown in another picture dressed as Rudolf – with a plastic penis instead of a red nose.

The outcry about the photos has spiraled out of control, even though they really don’t deserve our moral outrage.  Ball spoke out with righteous anger about the coverage of the photos in a video, saying that the media has allowed the photos to distract from real issues like school funding, jobs and the environment.

“It’s sexist and it’s wrong, regardless of political party,” Ball said in a statement. “And I have a message for any young woman who is thinking about running for office and has ever attended a costume party with her husband or done anything stupid on camera. Run for office. Fight for this country. Don’t let this sort of tactic deter you.”

There is great coverage of the Ball fiasco from Joanne Bamberger on the Huffington Post and Jodi Jacobsen on RHRealityCheck.  Jacobsen points out that it’s absurd that Ball has to apologize at all, writing,

“I am also hard-pressed to understand why Ball has to apologize or be embarrassed. We are talking about someone at a Christmas party with her husband. We are talking about two married adults goofing around with a sex toy.  Big deal.”

Bamberger points to the glaring double standard where sexism in political coverage is decried by conservatives, except when the sexism is being directed at progressive women. 

It’s certainly a sobering conversation, especially as a young woman who is increasingly subjected to a culture where our pasts can work against us at any time.  If I decide to run for office in ten years, will photos of me at a costume party last year resurface as “evidence” that I’m not fit to govern?  Will the fact that, as part of an attempt to foster dialogue about sex at my university, I helped bring a feminist pornographer to speak on campus?  If people don’t stand up for Krystal Ball now, this doesn’t bode well for my generation, with a neverending supply of photos and blog posts stored seemingly forever on the internet.  We need to get over this controversy – because at the end of the day, it has nothing to do with Ball’s ability to govern and everything to do with our sexist hang-ups and desire for scandal.

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Photo from Flickr.

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60 comments

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5:32PM PDT on Oct 17, 2010

Take a non-story, pick out one minuet detail, take it out of context and blow it up into the biggest news since Watergate. And with a political/media machine run by Saudi's and Australians touting their networks associates as the only Patriotic thing to watch.
Just a bit of irony in that don't you think?

4:21PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

From the description, there's nothing wrong with the photos.

And I have no doubt that those who were trying to create a ruckus about them also found nothing wrong with them - but pretended otherwise for propoganda purposes.

Silly issue.

6:44AM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

The republicans and Tea Baggers are just pissed. The Democrats have some good looking women trying to get into politics and all they have are ugly old bags and witches.

5:56AM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

The Tea Baggers will not rest until all American women are wearing Burqas.

5:13AM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

I don't think the photo is a big deal, the woman is either qualified to run for office or not, she either represents my views or not. I don't think there is anything wrong with the media covering the photo but it should be a 15 minute story not the narrative of the election. The election is about issues and what she will do for the people she represents.

12:12AM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

Here's to hoping that some day, maybe, the campaigns will actually be about the issues, positions, and real qualifications. Too bad the media loves its sensationalism and too few viewers or readers actually follow the issues. I think this is a perfect example of what is wrong with news-coverage today: What draws audiences is not what those audiences actually need to know, and that has more to do with our culture than the news-industry. Still, just a little devotion to the supposed role of journalists in our society should not be too much to ask. Who know? Maybe integrity and relevance could actually boost sales.

10:27PM PDT on Oct 15, 2010

All I can say is bring on 2012 and maybe we'll finally be done with this sort of crap directed at women. Remember, Ted Kennedy did a lot more than this and continued to be in office! Do we need to start digging up "racy photos" of all the male candidates as well? Shouldn't be to hard of a job...

9:32PM PDT on Oct 15, 2010

How is being dressed in pants and a tank top racy? Walk down nearly any street, in warm weather, and you'll see plenty of people wearing less than that. It's an innocuous photo that should never have been made an issue. Shame on the media.

9:26PM PDT on Oct 15, 2010

But it is acceptable for Carl Paladino to send out XXX videos to hundreds of his closest friends and staffers, among other things he's done.

8:05PM PDT on Oct 15, 2010

Ah, if only we were all wise in our youth.

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