Monday, June 13, 2011

Why political women don't get caught in sex scandals like men do

I was disappointed to hear about Rep. Weiner - yet another male politician who seemed to care about women's rights, but was caught in a scandal where he was not respectful of women.  


The New York Times
June 11, 2011
WASHINGTON — There was a collective rolling of the eyes and a distinct sense of "Here we go again" among the women of the House of Representatives last week when yet another male politician, Representative Anthony D. Weiner, confessed his "terrible mistakes" and declared himself "deeply sorry for the pain" he had caused in sexual escapades so adolescent as to almost seem laughable.
"I'm telling you," said Representative Candice Miller, a Michigan Republican, "every time one of these sex scandals goes, we just look at each other, like, 'What is it with these guys? Don't they think they're going to get caught?' "
Ms. Miller's question raises an intriguing point: Female politicians rarely get caught up in sex scandals. Women in elective office have not, for instance, blubbered about Argentine soul mates (see: Sanford, Mark); been captured on federal wiretaps arranging to meet high-priced call girls (Spitzer, Eliot); resigned in disgrace after their parents paid $96,000 to a paramour's spouse (Ensign, John) or, as in the case of Mr. Weiner, blasted lewd self-portraits into cyberspace.
It would be easy to file this under the category of "men behaving badly," to dismiss it as a testosterone-induced, hard-wired connection between sex and power (powerful men attract women, powerful women repel men). And some might conclude that busy working women don't have time to cheat. ("While I'm at home changing diapers, I just couldn't conceive of it," Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York Democrat, once said.)
But there may be something else at work: Research points to a substantial gender gap in the way women and men approach running for office. Women have different reasons for running, are more reluctant to do so and, because there are so few of them in politics, are acutely aware of the scrutiny they draw — all of which seems to lead to differences in the way they handle their jobs once elected....

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