How we're talking about Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner reveals a sexist double standard

How we're talking about Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner reveals a sexist double standard
Source: AP
Source: AP

Top Clinton aide Huma Abedin announced on Monday that she and her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, were calling it quits — a day after news of Weiner's third sexting scandal broke.

There's no doubt that a former congressman's divorce from a member of Hillary Clinton's team is a story. Especially given that Weiner's penchant for sexting was the culprit behind his political downfall in the first place.

But the sexist aspersions cast on Abedin by reporters at some of the top news outlets in the country were a sight to behold.

The most egregious of the lot was from the Washington Post, which questioned Abedin's judgment in leaving Weiner alone with their son while she traveled the campaign trail for work.

"For the third time, [Weiner's] questionable decisions are ensnaring his wife, one of Hillary Clinton's top aides, by raising questions about her decision to leave their son alone with her husband while she's on the campaign trail," wrote Amber Phillips for the Post's politics section, the Fix.

Then there was the Los Angeles Times, which pointed out that Weiner sent one of the explicit texts in question while he was "babysitting" the couple's son.

One has to question whether the Times would have used the word "babysitting" to describe a mother taking care of her child while her husband was on the road.

False equivalency also abounded following the divorce. 

A handful of reporters and operatives suggested Abedin's personal life was fair game for attacks from Donald Trump's campaign, given that Democrats attacked Bannon's personal indiscretions. 

The thing is, Bannon was directly hired by Trump, while Weiner had no role in Clinton's campaign. 

Moreover, Bannon — who, as CEO, is the de facto head of Trump's campaign — was accused of domestic violence and anti-Semitism from an ex-wife in publicly available police and divorce records: serious allegations of personal misconduct. 

Abedin, on the other hand, was the victim of her spouse's sexual indiscretions. 

And then there was Trump's response to the sexting scandal.

In a statement, Trump suggested that Clinton had bad judgment to hire an aide married to Weiner — whose digital dalliances amounted to emotional cheating. 

"Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information," Trump wrote.

Yet many made the point that if Trump thought a cheating man with proximity to classified information was a problem, then he himself shouldn't be allowed to handle that information. Trump's own infidelities with Marla Maples ended his first marriage to Ivana Trump. 

And Trump even said during a radio show he hosted in the mid-2000s that "most of the powerful men running companies are having affairs," the Daily Beast reported in July.

Which makes Trump's response — blaming Abedin and Clinton for their connection to Weiner — all the more hypocritical.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

MORE FROM

Bill Cosby to appear in court for alleged 1974 assault of 15-year-old girl

Cosby will appear in court on July 30, 2018 for allegedly forcing a teen girl to perform oral sex on him over 40 years ago.

Nearly 850 backlogged rape kits were found infested with mold in Texas

The mold-infested rape kits don't appear to have contaminated the DNA samples inside, according to authorities.

Season 11 of 'The X-Files' will be written entirely by men

Only six women have ever written for the beloved sci-fi show, which boasts over 200 episodes and spawned two feature-length films.

Does nursing require a "woman’s touch"? These male nurses say no.

Christian Martin and Dan Douglas are two men working as nurses — and it's mostly NBD.

The GOP health care bill's one-year ban on Planned Parenthood is a bigger problem than you think

Compared to the millions who will lose coverage, restricting federal funds for just 365 days doesn't seem that bad. But it is.

There's a new effort to recall Judge Aaron Perksy, who sentenced Brock Turner

If voters in Persky's county collect enough signatures, the judge could be on the chopping block in 2018.

Bill Cosby to appear in court for alleged 1974 assault of 15-year-old girl

Cosby will appear in court on July 30, 2018 for allegedly forcing a teen girl to perform oral sex on him over 40 years ago.

Nearly 850 backlogged rape kits were found infested with mold in Texas

The mold-infested rape kits don't appear to have contaminated the DNA samples inside, according to authorities.

Season 11 of 'The X-Files' will be written entirely by men

Only six women have ever written for the beloved sci-fi show, which boasts over 200 episodes and spawned two feature-length films.

Does nursing require a "woman’s touch"? These male nurses say no.

Christian Martin and Dan Douglas are two men working as nurses — and it's mostly NBD.

The GOP health care bill's one-year ban on Planned Parenthood is a bigger problem than you think

Compared to the millions who will lose coverage, restricting federal funds for just 365 days doesn't seem that bad. But it is.

There's a new effort to recall Judge Aaron Perksy, who sentenced Brock Turner

If voters in Persky's county collect enough signatures, the judge could be on the chopping block in 2018.