Angus King may be “the only candidate in a three-way race who hasn’t appeared in a Speedo,” according to Eric Russell’s June 12 article exposing (literally) the skimpy swimwear of the two major-party challengers for King’s U.S. Senate seat, but it’s the Press Herald that’s been caught with its pants down.

This article, as well as Cynthia Dill’s sexual assault victim-blaming column (May 27), and the subsequent defense of the paper’s “right” to run it by Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, further entrenches the paper in its role as both perpetrator and defender of the patriarchy, a pervasive system of oppression that casts women as sexual objects who bear personal responsibility for their resulting vulnerability, and men as authority figures who are exempt from being viewed, and treated, the same way.

Under the patriarchy, there is no sexual objectification of men; therefore, this paper can run a story perversely focused on the nearly nude bodies of two male U.S. Senate candidates under the “Election 2018” news banner and face no backlash for sexualizing the candidates. Can you imagine the response if the candidates were women?

Under the patriarchy, however, only women’s bodies (not men’s) are sexual objects. Under the patriarchy, only women (not men) need “more courage” to fight workplace sexual assault. Under the patriarchy, rape culture is perpetuated by institutions that go un-censured for their blatant misogyny.

What is, perhaps, not so obvious about the patriarchy is that it oppresses everyone: men, women, and gender non-binary people alike. It is used indiscriminately to keep anyone in their place, whether that place is in the home, or in the Senate.

We don’t need a swimsuit competition in this race. What we need is an informed electorate, and that will take a measure of editorial ethics that this paper seems increasingly unwilling to deliver.

Kate Sykes


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