Rich Tucker

There’s no question why the New York Post put a photo of bikini-clad Kerry Kennedy Cuomo (soon to be simply Kerry Kennedy again) on its July 5 cover. Sex sells.

Whether you think the picture was a great leap forward for American journalism or consider it an example of how our society is going down the tubes, we should all thank heaven that our First Amendment protects a newspapers right to publish freely. And thank heaven we don’t live in Europe, where this sort of thing soon may be illegal.

 The London Telegraph reported last month that the European Commission is considering a proposal to ban advertisements that demean women. The measure also would censor television programs to make sure they didn’t promote gender stereotypes. Looks like Will and Grace won’t be syndicated to Europe.

 According to the Telegraph, “The proposals were drafted by the European Union’s employment and social affairs directorate, known in Brussels as one of the last outposts of ‘unreconstructed’ 1970s leftists.”

 The measure would make most forms of gender discrimination illegal, whether it benefited women or hurt them. The possible consequences are mind-boggling.

Sure, it means women could break into historically male-dominated fields and finally become garbage men (garbage people?) and gravediggers. There would also finally be some openings for unattractive actresses and anchorwomen, since those are fields where many women have been taking unfair advantage of their looks for years. But this certainly would mean the end of Britain’s famed “Page Three” pin-up girl pictures.

It also would be an expensive proposition. For example, it would force insurance companies to offer identical rates on policies to men and women, regardless of risk. Ironically, it might end up costing many women more, since their insurance rates usually are lower.

 Luckily, the measure is still a long way from becoming law. The 20-member European Commission, the European Parliament and a majority of European Union governments first must approve it. That’s a lot of hoops. And it should frighten Europeans that the real power group of these three -- the European Commission -- is unelected.

 Commissioners are appointed by European member states and approved by the European Parliament. E.P. members are elected, but the parliament has a limited legislative role. It’s basically a debating society.

 In other words, a proposal such as the anti-discrimination measure could be passed by bureaucrats in Brussels, approved by a slim majority of the member governments and basically rammed down the throats of the British. In one more way, they would have surrendered their national sovereignty to the European Union.

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for