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In Howard Kurtzcolumn today, Arianna Huffington responded to this blog’s charges of sexism over the Huffington Post‘s obsessive nipple-slip coverage. Kurtz’s column was published a full week after the City Paper contacted HuffPo on the nipple issue.

Huffington Post‘s Vice President for Communications, Mario Ruiz, responded to my inquiry by copy-pasting Kurtz’ column into an e-mail, adding: “There’s nothing much we can add to what she already emailed Howie.”

Huffington to Kurtz:

Huffington dismisses this argument by e-mail, calling it “silly and highly limiting to assume that all progressives can’t wait to get to the orgy and all conservatives have a chastity belt in their drawer. . . . As the Washington City Paper’s blogger herself points out, we have a wide range of news and opinion on all our sections — including our Entertainment section.

“Looking for hidden political agendas in every article and every photo on HuffPost will lead to some very convoluted conclusions. As Freud said, ‘Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar’ — and a nipple slip is just a nipple slip.”

Huffington misses the point here. This isn’t about valuing promiscuity or chastity. It’s not about whether liberals or conservatives should or shouldn’t like sex. This is about objectifying women by reducing them to their nipples, which is, in my opinion, anti-feminist. And personally, I would hope that progressives would make very basic women’s issues like this a priority.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a woman is just a nipple.

UPDATE: Ruiz has written back with an expanded version of Huffington’s statement:

At The Huffington Post we feel that trying to analyze everything in life by looking through a right vs left political prism — including Entertainment and celebrity coverage — will lead to a very distorted view of the world. In fact, we feel that looking at politics in that tired way will lead to a distorted view of the world (compare Dick Cheney’s view on gay marriage to Barack Obama’s and get back to me about right vs left). It is silly and highly limiting to assume that all progressives can’t wait to get to the orgy and all conservatives have a chastity belt in their drawer. History has proven otherwise again and again and again.

[As you pointed out last week], we have a wide range of news and opinion on all our secctions — including our Entertainment section. Looking for hidden political agendas in every article and photo on HuffPost will lead to some very convoluted arguments. As Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” – and a nipple slip is just a nipple slip.