- Ryan Nobles is on your side, unless you have ever celebrated Halloween
Leaked photographs of Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Krystal Ball, 28, have inspired a wave of indulgent pearl-clutching in the state today. The photos, originally leaked by conservative bloggers, show Ball in a modified Santa outfit at a post-college Halloween house party. At issue: Ball wore a spaghetti-strap tank top and held a sex toy, once.
In response to media attention over the photos, Ball has taken the tactic that the Women's Campaign Forum says is proven to maintain voter support in the face of sexist attacks: She's calling them sexist. "Of course it's embarrassing, but more than that, I'm pretty angry about it," Ball told Richmond NBC reporter Ryan Nobles. "I think this is incredibly sexist. I think it's outrageous. I think it's exactly the sort of thing that voters are extremely frustrated with."
Local media outlets have taken a less impressive approach to the "scandal."
News reports like this one spill approximately zero ink on the decision of these blogs to published the photos, but take their sweet time in dissecting Ball's decision to wear some outfit. To recap: Ball is wearing a skirt, a tank top, and a Santa hat; this qualifies her, for some reason, as "scantily clad."
And NBC's Nobles does "scantily clad" one better: He all but asserts that the photos make Ball unfit for Congress. "The photos are not what you'd expect from a woman hoping to be elected to Congress, and Krystal Ball knows it," Nobles breathlessly reports. "She's dressed in a suggestive costume, leading a man she says is her ex-husband around the party on a leash. Her ex-husband has a sex toy strapped to his nose." He ends the piece: "Despite the odds, she still thinks she can win."
We know that when female candidates call out sexist attacks against them, "scandals" like this just don't hurt them in the polls. In fact, identifying sexism on the campaign trail can help female candidates. Even Ball's opponent, Republican Rep. Rob Wittman, appears to be aware of this; his campaign condemned the photos. Nobody cares about this. The only people pretending this is a real issue? The media sources covering a sleepy race who will take even a woman's years-old, one-time choice of tank top and proximity to sex toy as a story.