In case any of my readers are interested in One More Post in the blogosphere about this topic . . .
I know that there are many, many more things that we need to be focusing on, but no, this incident isn’t “just a distraction.” The shitty thing about the whole mess is that, with few exceptions, the conversation that’s going on about this is completely missing the point.
It’s been a couple of weeks since the story broke. As I wrote earlier, I was willing to give Anthony Weiner more than the benefit of the doubt, especially when considering that the source of the story was none other than Andrew Breitbart. So when Weiner came clean and admitted to not merely sending the original photo that started it all, but to having engaged in this kind of behavior for years, I was taken aback by his bald-faced lies about hacking and his efforts to ‘get to the bottom of it’ and all that nonsense. The non-denial denials and hemming and hawing left me, one who had held him in high esteem, totally disgusted at his stupidity and arrogance.
Then more information came out. The transcripts of some of his interactions were stunning and made me think, “Wow, just another frat boy. And, man, has he got some issues with women.” Once again, I thought, we progressive women have been had. I still bounce between “Gawd, what a stupid, arrogant fool!” and “Gawd, what a sexist jerk!”
Most appalling to me has been the reaction from many on the so-called left, women included, that in essence amounts to “boys will be boys” or “hey, that’s between him and his wife” or “what about the Republicans? They’re worse! Look how hypocritical they are!” I even heard stuff like “Well, we don’t know what’s going on at home, so, let’s not judge” as though somehow this might (or must) be his wife’s fault because, you know, if she’d been putting out as much as he wanted, he wouldn’t need to do this. And finally, “Anthony Weiner is such a great progressive, he should be excused!”
I think this last excuse galls me the most.
Finally, I was just squicked out by it all. After all, he used his public Twitter and Facebook accounts to do all this. These accounts were part of his Congressional public face, and he used them for his own masturbatory pleasure? Really? Yes, really.
Sherry Wolf has put into words what I’ve been feeling, but not quite able to express.
A Radical’s View of the Weiner Scandal (SherryTalksBack)
Weiner is a posterguy for misogyny in its postmodern form. What else can we call a man incapable of sustaining a serious political interaction with a woman without steering the relationship toward the sexual?
[ . . . ]
Setting aside the lingo used to describe the waitress and her gait (“provocative,” “flounced”), it’s notable that a U.S. Congressman thought it perfectly appropriate to behave like a sexist jerk in front of a reporter from the paper of record. To Weiner, his visual drooling was just normal, healthy male behavior. And that’s exactly my point.
When men act like this toward women, it’s not flattering, it’s demeaning. Accounts of how he met the recipients of his lascivious tweets are telling. The women made political comments on his Facebook wall, often about health care policy or the dangers of the far right. After initially engaging them in political chatter, he’d degenerate suddenly, and from all accounts without solicitation, into sexual come-ons.
Sherry inserts a personal story (please click through to read) and then concludes
I’m no wilting flower, nor was I back then. In fact, to most people I appear to have a surplus of confidence, and maybe it’s enduring crap like that that makes a gal a bit of a badass. But dozens of small and not-so-small encounters like that one leave women questioning whether certain men actually respect what they say and think or if they’re just humoring us like that old professor.
I can imagine that some young women entering politics through a Congressman’s Facebook wall only to encounter sexting and lewd pictures in response will enter the ranks of women who continue to ask, does what I say have value, or is this guy just interested in my tits?
What Weiner did was help stoke anxiety and insecurity in a bunch of women who respected him for his ideas and got none of that in return. I can only hope that he inadvertently created a few badasses along the way, too.
This. Ever so much. This.
I hope Weiner’s therapy helps him figure out not only why he would engage in the kind of behavior that would put both his marriage and his career at risk, but more imporantly, why he appears to have little to no respect for half the human race. Maybe he’ll come out on the other side a better person. We’ll see. His actions will have to inform us though. After all, we now know what a cool liar he is.