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Krystal Ball Fighting Back Against Smears

The memorably-named Democratic congressional candidate Krystal Ball has had to contend with off-color party photos of her and an ex in costume being leaked and spread far beyond the small Virginia district where she’s running. (You've seen them. He’s adorned with a phallic Christmas nose and she’s posing gleefully with his prop). At first, it looked like the kind of scandal that might sink the young mother and candidate, but Ball fighting back on behalf of women and her generation, whose members often do document their lives on the web. She’s released a long, thoughtful statement on her blogreflecting on how women of her generation are hybrid Hillary-Obama supporters and she wants to harness that combined energy.   But mostly, she fumed about the way sexuality is used to demonize female candidates, saying of her opponents, “They wanted me to collapse in a ball of embarrassment and to hang my head in shame” and explaining why she’s confronting the photos head on instead of treating them as a scandal. In fact, she’s turning herself into a bit of an unlikely crusader for women of her generation.
“But I realized that photos like the ones of me, and ones much racier, end up coming into the public sphere when women of my generation run for office. And I knew that there could be no other answer to the question than this: Society has to accept that women of my generation have sexual lives that are going to leak into the public sphere. Sooner or later, this is a reality that has to be faced, or many young women in my generation will not be able to run for office.”
Whatever happens in Ball’s race, she’s earning the admirationof young women--feminists and aspiring politicos alike--far beyond her electoral district. It’s beyond refreshing to see a young female candidate turn the too-typical smears being levelled against her back on her opponents. It may be that, forgive the pun, looking at Krystal Ball really is showing us an ideal future in which liberal candidates reject gendered, old-school conservative tropes with their own compellingly righteous indignation.