Recently, political candidate Krystal Ball’s pictures were leaked to the media. The pictures were described as “racy” at best and were utilized to discredit Ball as she sought to make her ascension in the political sphere.

Unfortunately, the tactic of labeling women as loose in order to discredit their work and keep them from gaining a position of power is not new. It is a well-established tool of sexism that continues to work and elicit the same response. Well, Ball is not going to just allow this to fly by without calling it what it is.

In her campaign’s Facebook page last Wednesday she stated:

“It’s sexist and it’s wrong, regardless of political party. And I have a message for any young woman who is thinking about running for office and has ever attended a costume party with her husband or done anything stupid on camera. Run for office. Fight for this country. Don’t let this sort of tactic deter you.”

One article covering the Ball photo scandal compares her situation to a male political figure, Scott Brown, who posed nude for Cosmo magazine in the 80s. According to the columnist, the pictures of Brown actually helped his political career.

To read the full article follow this link.

That columnists further inquires:

“Why is it that the media goes haywire over a suggestive party photo of a woman candidate and her husband, but praises the male candidate who poses nude in magazines? After a supposedly epic year for women candidates in 2008, after the year of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, isn’t the playing field supposed to be even for women candidates by now?”

Our question this month is: how do we create a level playing field? What are some things that we can do to not allow the next generation of girls to face a similar society that devalues and discredits her as she tries to gain power? What are the roles that men and boys could play in creating that field?

What are some ideas of things you have done or will do to create a level playing field? For those of us working in school settings, perhaps one possibility is to use this article as a launching point for discussion. What are other suggestions?