Reporting on Michele Bachmann's Migraines Isn't Sexist

What Women Really Think
July 19 2011 12:05 PM

Reporting on Michele Bachmann's Migraines Isn't Sexist

116775474
Getty Images

The Daily Caller has an article up today alleging that Michele Bachmann suffers from debilitating migraines, and that to control the migraines, she's popping pills like Tic Tacs. A former adviser tells the Caller: "When she gets ‘em, frankly, she can’t function at all. ... She carries and takes all sorts of pills. Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes." Bachmann's spokeswoman says that the congresswoman does have migraines, but that they are not incapacitating, and that they're controlled with medicine.

Former DoubleX contributor Noreen Malone has a roundup of various women commentators who say that the Daily Caller article is gender biased, because migraines are a condition that is more associated with women. Mother Jones writer Clara Jeffery tweeted: "2 to 1 that Bachmann's pill popping = advil and estrogen. It's called menopause, people. Survived by powerful women all over the world."

Advertisement

While Jeffery might be right to be on guard for possible sexism in the coverage of Bachmann's medical condition, the initial coverage in the Caller isn't biased. Recall the hysteria surrounding John McCain's health and pill-taking: In the run-up to the 2008 election, pundits were fretting about his bout with melanoma and worried that his Ambien use might cloud his judgment. It's possible that the Caller article was just a bunch of disaffected former Bachmann cronies dissing their former boss. But if Bachmann really does have debilitating migraines that put her out of commission for days at a time, that's relevant, gender-neutral information.

 

 

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.