Candidate’s Sexy Santa Photos Leaked: Sexism in Action?

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Virginia Democratic Congressional candidate Krystal Ball went to a costume party when she was 22 dressed as a sexy Santa. Photos were taken of her goofing around with a sex toy. Now, six years later, a right wing blog has leaked the photos to the media. Simple gamesmanship, or sexism?

When Facebook launched way back in the ’00s, many observers took stock of the trend of twentysomethings putting embarrassing pictures of themselves on the internet and wondered, “What’s going to happen when some of these kids run for office?” Now, apparently, we’ve got our first answer: Their opponents will leak the crap out of those photos.

Nine pictures of Krystal Ball (UVA class of ’03), the Democratic candidate for Congress in Virginia’s first district, have been leaked to the media by a right-wing blog. The pictures, taken six years ago, show Ball dressed as a naughty Santa and posing with a fake penis attached to her ex-husband’s nose.

Ball alleges sexism on the part of her opponents. “Of course, I am embarrassed by these photos; that was the whole point of these political operatives when they put them up,” she said in a statement. “But more than just embarrassed, I’m angry! […] It’s sexist and it’s wrong, regardless of political party.”

Ball’s opponent, incumbent Rep. Rob Wittman, has denied being involved with the photo leak and released a statement saying he is opposed to their display.

Is Ball correct in alleging that the leak was sexist, or would the pictures go viral even if Ball were a man? Gawker makes the latter point, pointing out sarcastically, “Because if a man sucked a rubber dick attached to the nose of another man, we would never publish that picture.” But NewsFeed isn’t convinced. It’s no secret that much of the internet is powered by men’s desire to look at pictures of women. If these women are “good girls” — congressional candidates, sideline reporters, and Disney stars — in scandalous or embarrassing situations, the appeal grows a hundredfold. Readers can excuse it or explain it, but to deny that prominent women face more scrutiny about their personal lives than prominent men just smacks as willful ignorance. (via New York Daily News)