There have been a lot of recent, high profile infidelities amongst male politicians left and right (check out CNN’s convenient “slideshow of shame”) and the public typically bashes these fools in an ultra-feministic way. However, it is time we have a more substantive discussion on how to reasonably distribute blame in such infidelity cases, instead of acting like the one famous male in the middle of the scandal did everything.
Let’s face it: It seems like the female accomplices in these instances of political suicide fade away into obscurity relatively unscathed, while the men are condemned to an unforgiving public shooting gallery. Ultimately, this is not wholly fair since, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango.
By failing to acknowledge this, problems between the sexes will just continue to worsen.
It is discouraging that, if I’m lucky enough to attain success, I will have to undergo societal nomenclature because I would be part of a race of men held completely accountable for their every action. I’ll become a de facto role model; I will lose my freedom to make mistakes just because society says so. Just look at how much can happen when you are caught doing something as innocuous as smoking weed.
If using a drug that will probably be legalized in 10 years is enough to incur such ridiculous outrage, I am not surprised that sexually deviant, successful men are so severely chastised.
In the wake of former International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's scandals, TIME editor-at-large Nancy Gibbs offered her “expert” take on "What Makes Powerful Men Behave Like Pigs." This was the issue's cover story, cleverly accompanied by a photograph of an innocent pig.
Many men, from Kobe and Tiger to Sanford and Weiner, have most likely been referred to as "pigs" — especially by feminists — for one reason or another; Gibbs’ decision to use “pigs” instantly reminded me of historian and award-winning journalist Ruth Rose's The World Split Open, a narrative history of women’s movements in the U.S. since the 1960’s. Rose recounts American critic and feminist Vivian Gornick’s experience with a "consciousness-raising group" of suburban housewives in 1970.
In her interview with Rose, Gornick remarked on the "rage" building amongst the housewives, and I get it. As a young man having been raised almost entirely by women, I have experienced fits of feministic rage over appalling cases of sexism. I remember studying sexism in relation to law and stumbling upon the infamous 1983 gang rape of Cheryl Araujo in New Bedford, MA; during one of the case’s trials, defense attorney Edward Harrington actually had the insolence to ask the plaintiff, "If you're living with a man, what are you doing running around the streets getting raped," implying it was Araujo's fault.
However, everything should be taken in moderation, whether it is vitamins, vodka, speedball, or Lady GaGa. Unguided feminism is no different, too much of it paradoxically turns people into sexists. There comes a point when feminist attitudes cease to be constructive; what was once an empowering bridge to hard-earned rights and reparations becomes as relevant as magazine-selling headlines and angry blog posts that promote negative male stereotypes. Tasteless feminism not only trivializes infidelity, but also does little to improve intersexual relations.
Sexual deviance is inherent in all humans, men and women alike. Excluding sexual assault cases like Strauss-Kahn and instances when the woman involved did not know the man was "high profile" or married, the female players should share in the moral lambasting. In these cases, their behavior was just as reprehensibly piggish.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons