Friday, August 22, 2008

Self Torture

I don't know why I do this to myself. Whenever I am home during the day, I watch The View. They drive me nuts, but I love it. Hank doesn't seem to mind me yelling at the TV, so I keep doing it.

This morning, Barbra showed an excerpt from her interview with Carla Bruni, wife of the president of France. She mentioned that she had asked Bruni about being called an adulterer. Bruni said that she was never married, therefore, she was not an adulterer.

The ladies of The View seemed to have a different opinion. I would expect Elizabeth to blame the "other woman," but I was surprised that Joy Behar agreed with her. Thankfully, Whoopi Goldberg provided some rational input, which I agree with.

When you get married, you make a commitment to your partner. You promise many things, including - for most people, but not all - fidelity. It is your responsibility to uphold your word. You made a promise. The world did not promise to leave you alone because you now belong to someone else.

I'm sure if my husband cheated on me, I would not be a big fan of whoever he was cheating with. That's human nature, to dislike the person your partner has chosen to fool around with. However, the blame for that relationship, and the blame for failing to uphold our vows would fall squarely on his shoulders. She didn't promise to respect our marriage. He did.

I think this almost instinctual hatred for the other woman comes from our culture's patriarchal tendencies. Though we give a lot of lip service to be equals, men are still given free reign when it comes to certain things. One of those things is sex. Men want it, they need it, they can't control themselves. Women, sure they might enjoy it, but really it is something we are supposed to put up with to keep our husband happy and provide babies. A woman who likes sex because it is fun is going against the grain. There must be something wrong with her. That's why the other woman is so easy to hate: she is clearly a sexual deviant, wantonly using her evil, feminine wiles to seduce your poor, befuddled husband who, after all, can't help himself. He's just a man, for crying out loud.

I think this is also why there is such an irrational fear of pornography in our culture. Porn has to subjugate and abuse women, because there is no way those women want to be in porn. They must have been forced to do it. If they think they like it, it is only because they were abused as children and have a broken sense of what is good for them. Porn is demeaning to women, because only men like it. Because women don't like sex. Women who want sex, who want that kind of base, animal pleasure have something wrong with them. Women are saints, set on earth to be mothers. Men are base and animalistic.

It's stupid, and it hurts men as much as it does women. It teaches men that it is ok to want these things, to have these urges, and it is ok to act on them. But it also teaches them that if they find a woman who wants to do those things with him, there is something wrong with her.

Ok, my brain is about to explode. I'm going to go back to The View now.

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