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Krystal Ball: Criticism Over Photos Reflects Sexist Double Standard

Virginia Democratic Congressional candidate Krystal Ball said in an interview on Fox News today that an uproar over embarrassing photos of her reflects a sexist double standard, and pointed to the experience of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown to prove her point.

Ball told Fox News (video at left) that "the tactic of painting successful women as whores -- and I also can't believe I'm using this word on your program -- that's nothing new."

"Ask Sarah Palin, ask Meg Whitman, ask Nikki Haley, Christine O'Donnell," she said. "Lots of women face this same thing. And so I decided, although I wanted to just sort of hide in a corner and cry, that I couldn't let these tactics succeed."

Ball, who is 28, made headlines when six year old photos of her at a Christmas party surfaced online. In the photos, Ball's then-husband is wearing a Rudolph costume that includes a red dildo for a nose. Ball is seen horsing around with the object and is also shown holding her husband by a leash.

Asked if there was a double standard in response to the photos, Bell referenced Republican Scott Brown, who appeared naked in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1982.

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"He had pictures from the same age as those pictures were taken of me, only he was completely naked, in the centerfold of a national magazine, and it was not even a bump in his campaign; in fact he has said that it helped him a little bit in his campaign," she said.

While she is "not holding anything against Senator Scott Brown," she added, "those sorts of things to me are not relevant to the campaign trail. And I do think there's a double standard."

Ball also took to the Huffington Post to make her case.

"I don't believe these pictures were posted with a desire to just embarrass me; they wanted me to feel like a whore," she wrote. "They wanted me to collapse in a ball of embarrassment and to hang my head in shame. After all, when you are a woman named Krystal Ball, 28 years old, running for Congress, well, you get the picture. Stripper. Porn star. I've heard them all."

She added: "On the day the photos were posted, I thought of Hillary Clinton. How she came out the next day after her private life was public and held her head high. Many advisors told me I was finished, that this was not what people wanted from their member of Congress. I decided that I had to fight. I had to come out publicly and raise my voice on this issue, even though I risked becoming some joke candidate named Krystal Ball. I also risked drawing more attention to the photos, which I still find tremendously embarrassing, but mostly because I'm shy, not because I think that what I did was wrong."

Ball is facing Republican Rep. Rob Wittman and that the district is rated as a probable Republican seat by CBS News.


Brian Montopoli is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.