Last week's Newsweek
cover, "What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women,"
stirred up a storm of controversy on social media, news sites, and TV. The cover, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
and art directed by Grace Lee
, was attacked as "sexist," "ignorant," "obscene," and "offensive." (Mediate has a good rundown
of the many Twitter attacks on the cover.) The Today Show website ran an article titled "Sexism still alive and well in Silicon Valley (and on Newsweek cover)
." and Techcrunch followed with "What (Some) Silicon Valley Women Think of Newsweek."
The Today Show
show even ran an outraged segment on their morning show.
Edel Rodriguez defended the cover and his illustration in interviews with PBS
and the Huffington Post
. He explained it perfectly to The Huffington Post
"I wanted to depict the harassment that women suffer. How the harassment
can be unexpected and come out of nowhere. To show that frozen moment
of shock, when a woman is just going about their life at work and
something like this happens. I wanted to have the viewer see that
moment when they look on a newsstand, and to be shocked themselves.
Then be compelled to pick up the magazine and read the story behind the
cover. These harassers have spent much of their lives behind a
computer, seeing women as objects. I wanted them to be confronted with
their stupidity as well. Hopefully by seeing it there, frozen in time,
they could come to terms with what they are doing."
Flavorwire weighed in and said, "Stop Freaking Out About Newsweek's Silicon Valley Cover and Read the Story."
Their writer commented that "the cover was an extremely accurate representation of the content" that "did its job."
To put this controversy into context, we've asked for thoughts from former Time
magazine art director Arthur Hochstein, and have collected a gallery of eight other Newsweek
covers illustrated by Edel over the past few years. Edel (who was a longtime cover art director for Time
International) has collected some of his interviews on the subject on his Drawger page
(Above): Newsweek, February 6, 2015. Illustration: Edel Rodriguez
, art director: Grace Lee