Wow — it has indeed been 2 weeks since I last blogged! During that time I have covered hundreds of miles – Connecticut to visit family, back home after a 24 hour delay in Atlanta with enough time to do some laundry and re-pack, then off to Albuquerque for a few wonderful days with good friends. Of course the highlight of this kind of travel is being with family and friends, catching up on all the stuff that life brings in ways only possible when you sit together and chat (or ride around in a car, etc.), and having great conversations about some of our favorite topics, one of which for me of course is politics and the state of the world.
So in the car yesterday I posed a question to the 4 other women riding along: “How long do you think it will be before we have a female version of the ‘Weiner’ case?” Of course this prompted a lively discussion, and I am confident that many readers of this blog will have something to say about this! The question itself presumes that women are of course no less vulnerable to this kind of thing, and in fact are possibly still more vulnerable to a vicious attack from the public, the media and political enemies as well as friends. But there is a nagging sense (or is it a hope?) that women tend to be a bit more focused on “keeping house” than men might be. Of course nobody, even researchers who study these things and the wonderful philosophers and theorists who have examined gender traits, really knows for sure.
We have to acknowledge that the long and difficult struggles that we still have in terms of equality for all, including gender equality, brings more than just the feel-good positive shifts that benefit everyone. Having greater access to power for anyone, including women and other socially disadvantaged groups, of course is going to open up all the challenges that com with having and exercising power in the world. It is for this reason that we cannot assume that when men act inappropriately that it can be dismissed as “boys will be boys.”Equality means ethical comportment standards are the same for all, regardless of gender, political party, race, sexual orientation, etc. No, boys no longer have the “privilege” of acting out in sexually inappropriate ways … if they can continue to rape, deceive and betray the women in their lives, they can continue to do this in the public sphere as well. And, if they can continue to act in these ways, then as a society that seeks equality, we cannot judge women harshly if and when they do the same.
My personal preference comes down on the side of what might be seen as prudish … actions that harm, deceive and betray other people, whether private or public, are unacceptable for men and for women. Of course everyone falters, and as humans all struggling with the same challenges, these kinds of situations call for great compassion in our approaches to justice, and a focus on calling forth the best for ourselves and those we care about. I hope it will be long time before we see such a scandal involving a woman, if ever. And, I hope that somehow we turn around the politics so that regardless of political party, men (and women) in power who abuse their power will be equally pressured to withdraw from their positions of power. But meanwhile, how about turning our attention to how to deal with such issues equitably and with compassion?!