Time was, Time magazine crowned an annual “Man of the Year” to grace a special cover story. The tradition, which dates to 1927, switched to the gender neutral “Person of the Year” in 1999.
|Wendi Deng, in salmon top in the background, keeps a watchful eye in the background as subdued Rupert Murdoch, right, and his son, James, appear before Parliament. (Getty Images Photo)
Perhaps to show how much times have changed, the mag came out this week with a list of 10 women it labels as the “Top 10 Bad-A-- Wives.”
Inspiration for the tally is Wendi Deng for leaping to the defense of her husband, Rupert Murdoch, when a comedian tried to smash a foam pie into the media mogul’s face as he testified before Parliament about the controversy enveloping his News Corp. Tuesday.
Time’s new tote board includes political wives, such as first ladies Eleanor Roosevelt and Michelle Obama, as well as a wife of political means: 2008 GOP presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Oddly enough, Deng herself isn’t on the list, but she received plenty of adulation for her volleyball-like spike that not only turned back the attacker but also left him with pie on his face. In the video below, she is visible in the salmon-colored blazer leaping up and whacking the assailant; you can even hear the thwack from her roundhouse.
Story continues below video.
Women who did make Time’s tough tally include, in the order the magazine listed:
- Eleanor Roosevelt, who Time says “spoke fiercely and freely about racism, poverty and sexism in a way that would have been impossible for a sitting president at the time.”
- Queen Isabella of Spain, about whom Time says: “Under her watch, Spain drove out the last Muslim kingdoms on the Iberian peninsula, cowed Portugal and launched Christopher Columbus to the New World. The galleons of gold and silver that streamed back to Spain in decades to come were all due to Isabella's foresight.”
- June Carter Cash, wife of singer Johnny Cash, who “somehow managed to tame the notorious drug addict and womanizer,” Time observes. “In addition to recording several successful duets with her newly-clean husband, she also co-wrote ‘Ring of Fire,’ one of Cash's biggest hits.
- Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, who Time notes was more than Elizabeth Taylor played her up to be. She was not just a raving beauty but also “a shrewd politico bent on defending the land her family's dynasty had governed for some two centuries, while expanding her influence into the Roman world.”
- Sarah Palin, who earns this Timely tribute: “Wife to oil worker, fisherman and Iron Dog champion Todd Palin, ‘Sarah Barracuda,’ as she was nicknamed in high school, has no qualms about letting her competitive, sporty nature outshine that of her husband . . . [and] let's face it: Her handling of a gun is far more successful than that of a certain past Vice President. Political leanings aside, Palin is unabashedly straightforward about who she is, and you betcha that's bad-ass.”
- Ellen de Generes and Portia de Rossi, of whom Time says: “Ellen wed actress Portia de Rossi in 2008 and the two have become a model for gay marital bliss.”
- Michelle Obama, who draws this praise: “One thing is for sure: If someone hurled a pie at President Obama, it would never get past Michelle. The First Lady, who recently joked to Better Homes and Gardens: ‘I'm in better shape than he is,’ is one tough cookie.”
- The Rani of Jhansi, a woman you don’t hear about every day, was quite the warrior, Time says: “Born into a well-established, noble family in 19th century western India, the woman who was to become the Rani (or ‘Queen’) of Jhansi happened to already be skilled in the warrior arts at an early age. . . . She perished, according to lore, while fighting the British on horseback in full armored splendor” at the age of 22.
- Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft’s Bill Gates, has earned her chops working for causes such as global health, agricultural development, and education. Time adds: “When TIME named its person of the year in 2005, it actually named three: Melinda, Bill and U2 lead singer Bono, their partner in philanthropy. Even though Bill and Bono may usually get most of the press, Mrs. Gates ensures their biggest project is not a one man show.”
- Elin Nordegren: Many compared Wendi Deng with “Crouching Tiger” prowess after he encounter with the vandal who attempted to vandalize her husband, but Nordegren is no shrinking violet herself. And she left another Tiger crouching: Tiger Woods, whom she divorced over his philandering ways. Time lauds her for the way she “maintained a low profile, fought for custody of their children and never went to the tabloids with her side of the story (for which she was handsomely rewarded). While she could have stuck beside the cheating Woods and all his fortune, she decided to go her own way. Sometimes not standing by your man is pretty bad-ass too.”
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