Sunday, December 13, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (12/13)

I don't want to give much attention to the Tiger Woods story because, frankly, his "transgressions" are between him and his family and don't have anything to do with me. Perhaps I'm jaded, but it's hard to surprise me anymore with a "guess who cheated" story. So that's not my focus here. What continues to catch my attention about these stories is the nearly-scripted reaction of "monogamy isn't natural."

I wrote about this after former ESPN analyst Steve Phillips revealed he had an affair with a staffer, and now Jay Michaelson is saying pretty much the same things Jason Whitlock said back then. Michaelson wrote "It's Not Just Tiger: Monogamous Marriage Is An Anomaly," for the Huffington Post, and in the article he says: 1. Monogamy isn't natural, nor is it the familial model most often practiced in history (polygamy is, he says, and the Bible says too, apparently); 2. Monogamy is the fault of feminists -- the "pious scolds" who dared want for things like sober men who didn't cheat on them and abuse them, and those feminists who questioned things like slut-shaming; and 3. Celebrities and people with money aren't the same as us "regular" people, they have more temptations, and we need to consider their cheating in "context."

These stories are getting to be almost as tiresome as the stories about people cheating. Look, all that needs to be said is "If you can't or don't want to be in a monogamous relationship, don't be in one." It obviously isn't a relationship model that works for everyone. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging that. But there is something wrong with blaming women for making infidelity a "secular sin," and with making excuses for men in general (they can't help their "natural sex drive"), and with putting celebrities and rich people on a pedestal of superiority to explain why they cheat (and should cheat, if they want) -- what's wrong is that no one is "blaming" Tiger Woods for cheating. He is the one who broke his word, assuming his marriage vows were of the traditional variety. He is the one who chose to do what he did. Feminism didn't make him cheat, nor did his status. So let's stop pretending like monogamy is some big awful conspiracy to stop men from "being men." Fact is, no one forces men or women into monogamy. It's a choice. Marriage is a choice. What kind of relationship or marriage you have is also a choice. So is a little concept called "honesty."

In somewhat related news, Jenny Sanford, wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, filed for divorce this week. Mark admitted months ago to having a long affair with a woman in Argentina. Jenny says they tried to work it out, but in the end couldn't, so that's that. A lot of people admire how she has handle the affair and the news of it; Time magazine calls her "The Savviest Spurned Woman in History." Her quote, "Certainly his actions hurt me and they caused consequences for me, but they don't in any way take away my own self esteem. They reflect poorly on him," has been held up as model of how women should react if their spouse or partner cheats on them. Easier said than done, I would guess, because someone breaking your trust is painful, and that's what cheating is -- breaking a trust.

In other reading:
  • Definitely check out this post on The Curvature, "13-Year-Old Girl Commits Suicide After Classmates Spread Nude Photos." This is the second known case of a teenage girl killing herself after nude photos of her were made public. (I wrote about the first case here.)
  • Zero at the Bone has a most excellent piece on identity, "Invisible Identities, Part 2: The Default Human." A must read, in my opinion.
  • Also be sure to explore the 9th Feminist Blog Carnival, hosted by The Undomestic Goddess. Some great pieces posted there.
  • Two big stories out of Ireland this week: One about rape, "Victims suffer in silence rather than face grinding justice system"; the other is "Women challenge abortion law in European court." Will definitely be keeping an eye on the latter. Be sure to also read "Women 'lose health, money and dignity' because of law" on the topic.
  • Check out this disturbing story, "I was raped twice in Iraq – US veteran speaks out." The soldier says of the military, "They don't like to address the problems, because it's too much work. When I redeployed back to the US, we had post-health assessment screening. Everyone did. And they asked me questions about my mental health. 'Do you have nightmares? Do you startle easily?' I marked 'yes' to everything. But did anyone contact me, did anyone ask my why I was feeling those things? No."
  • In Ohio, a bit of a good news story: "Prosecutor honored for rape testimony."
  • Stop Rape Now is mobilizing to end the use of rape as a war weapon. See what you can do to take action. Personally, I like the idea of the "get cross" photos. Need to take one myself.
  • Amanda Hess writes about "Male Rape Victims And the Penetration Problem."
  • Have you checked out the Not Under the Bus campaign yet (warning, video starts automatically at site)? It's aimed at making sure women's health isn't, well, thrown under the bus by Congress during health care reform. The site also has a list of actions you can take.
  • The Raw Story reports "NOW may oppose Senate health bill: still 'damaging to women.'"
  • Here's an outrageous story by the Seattle Times about the IRS going after a single mom, "$10 an hour with 2 kids? IRS pounces."
  • I love the aspect of this campaign, Think B4 You Speak, that keeps track of how many times in a day "so gay," "fag" and "dyke" are used on Twitter, with a goal of zero.
  • The Houston Chronicle: "Houston election of gay mayor draws national eyes." Many congrats to Annise Parker on her election.
  • Time Magazine has put together a LOT of "best of the year" lists. I was so disappointed and shocked by the headline they put on the Chris Brown and Rihanna story (which is on the "Top 10 Scandals" list): "Love Hurts." Umm, actually fists hurt. But I did appreciate this cartoon included in their "Top 10 Editorial Cartoons" list.
  • USA Today: "Latest on Erin Andrews hotel-stalker case: Accused stalker pleads guilty."
  • CNN reports that Uganda banned female circumcision. Now if only Uganda would stop with the anti-gay legislation and rhetoric.
  • Last but not least, this book looks interesting: "The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines," by Mike Madrid. Among other things, the reviewer says "By the ‘50s Sheena faded into relative obscurity and Wonder Woman was labeled “a morbid ideal” for women, only to reappear later as a sort of cheerleader for the otherwise all-male Justice League of America. Madrid then details Wonder Woman’s long history of origin retooling, costume changes and other creative woes that showed just how uncertain the comics world was in handling such a strong female character."


Razor said...

I wonder how many of these "monogamy doesn't work!" columnists are married and how pissed they would be if their wife cheated on them.

Color Online said...

Hi Rosie,

You might be interested in two reading challenges:

Social Justice

Women Unbound

I found your blog via She Writes. Enjoyed reading your post.

Rosie said...

Thanks, I'll look into those.


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