Sunday night we were surfing through the TV channels when we stumbled upon Barbara Walters’ “Most Fascinating People of 2014” special. I cannot recall why we decided to stop and watch. Maybe we were awaiting the local news to come on. But we watched in horror as Barbara Walters, who is supposed to be an esteemed member of the media, attempted to set back feminism to the 1950s with her pick of the “Most Fascinating” person of the year.
I will admit that when she first announced Amal Clooney (née Alamuddin) as her pick, I was optimistic that Walters would highlight this human rights attorney’s achievements and with her patented coy look and say, “Oh, yes, and she married George Clooney too!” But no. Instead of painting George as the frosting to Amal’s kick-ass cupcake, Walters made George the cake.
My husband quickly went into damage control as our 11-year-old daughter was in the room. He was incredulous that Walters would belittle Amal’s achievements and personal fascinating facts in lieu of her marriage. I am 99% sure that he would had done the same thing even if our daughter wasn’t in the room.
What really got me was not just the selling short of Amal but Walters’ need to prove that George had no idea what he was saying when he twice said that he would never get married. In doing so, Walters perpetuated the idea that until one is married, the relationship is tentative at best. While I have been married for over 15 years, I am pretty sure (cause I have seen a few) there are strong and loving relationships that are not government sanctioned. ARGH!
Earlier this year, women journalists fell over themselves to paint Walters as “the model woman journalist” for her groundbreaking work. But this shoddy treatment of Amal, and calling her marriage to George Clooney as “one of the greatest achievements in human history” is just one more item on the list of why Walters is not leaving a strong legacy for herself.
And if you need more convincing as to how horrible Walters botched this opportunity to play up an amazing woman, hop over to TouchVision to see their awesome video.
Veronica Arreola writes the blog Viva la Feminista, where she tries to navigate and understand the intersection between feminism, motherhood and her Latinadad. You can follow her on Twitter @veronicaeye.
To schedule an interview with Veronica or talk with her about booking her as a speaker, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.