Chicago Tribune

Last night, Hillary Rodham Clinton made American history by becoming the first woman nominated by a major political party for president of the United States. In celebration and recognition of this great achievement, major newspapers around the world splashed their front pages with big banner headlines—and then placed a giant photo of her husband underneath.

Bill Clinton gave a speech last night at the Democratic National Convention to praise his wife on her life of public service and congratulate her on her nomination. As Rebecca Traister at New York magazine wrote, he gave a speech that any potential First Lady might give: one about love and family and Hillary's humanity. That speech apparently carried him all the way to the front page of at least 13 prominent newspapers the next morning.


Sure, newspapers like to run a photo from the actual day an event took place. Yes, Bill was inarguably the biggest name to speak in Philadelphia last night (he used to be president!). And yes, Hillary Clinton wasn't physically standing on the stage.

But none of these excuses are reason enough to put Bill Clinton as the representative snapshot of his wife's historic victory, of the night the first woman is nominated for president by a major party.

Sexism is often subtle, found in small encounters and micro-aggressions. But this, well, this is blatant. Choosing to run a photo of Bill Clinton on the night of Hillary's nomination is an editorial statement that his presence at a convention is more important than her big win. Choosing a picture of Bill Clinton plays into a narrative that many opponents of Hillary's use: that she is only nominated for president because he once was. And that undermines her years of public service, her many prominent political positions, and her obvious qualifications. It's sexism at its finest.


To its credit, The Wall Street Journal, which originally ran a big photo of Bill like many other bad newspapers, at some point during the night realized how bad of an idea this was and changed the photo in later editions.

It is not difficult to find a photo of someone that is not Bill Clinton to run in the five columns that make up the front page of most broadsheet newspapers. Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye and photographed for decades. This isn't even her first time running for president! There is no shortage of photos. For example, here are some papers that managed just fine with old Associated Press photos, or photos of Hillary's supporters:

Choosing to run a photo of Hillary Clinton's husband on front page of your newspaper on this history day (July 27, 2016—mark it) is lazy and speaks to a complete lack of awareness about which Clinton is getting nominated for president. Newspapers did not run a photo of Michelle Obama when Barack Obama was named the party's nominee. Just because newspapers do not use stock photos is not an excuse to ignore what a big accomplishment this is for women by placing a man front and center.

No, using a giant photo of a spouse to announce a candidate's official nomination is an honor reserved only for the first woman in history to run for our country's highest office. And man, does that say a lot.

Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.