Weiner For Mayor: Can Politicians Who Cheat On Their Wives Still Be Feminists?

It was sometime after the season of Bill Clinton’s adulterous presidency that I first heard these words: “I don’t care who he’s fucking in private, I care who he is fucking in public.”

While Bill Clinton is now (often humorously) remembered for his extramarital deeds, he is still regarded as one of the best modern presidents to ever serve in the Oval Office. But why is he still met with such public warmth after besmirching (and initially lying about) his affair meanwhile married to his feminist wife, Hillary Clinton?

In more recent memory, former governor of New York Eliot Spitzer also found himself in this limelight in 2005 after being exposed for his patronage to an elite escort service. However, he is a self-proclaimed “feminist” and actually has a long-standing history advocating for women’s rights throughout his career. Spitzer recently announced his candidacy for New York City comptroller, and is leading in the polls.

What does this say about the higher ranks of our society? And what does it say about the public, who seemingly accepts these men in spite of their infidelity and salaciousness? Is it possible to be feminist while still soliciting prostitutes and mistresses in secret?

The short answer is yes, it is. Generally? Being a feminist means defending and advocating for female equality socially, economically, and politically. Where these offending men are involved, many have actually supported the elevation of women through their political careers. But with such contradictory activities in their private lives, and decisions they are made to live with forever, it is easy to feel conflicted about their motives. Even more difficult to distinguish is the more menacing underlying issue: corruptive power.

After the dust of their respective scandals have settled, the Spitzers and Sanfords of the country typically attempt to return to office and national TV airwaves through chipper, well-rehearsed soliloquies of their personal growth and change. “I made some big mistakes” and “I’ve learned my lesson” are stock-quote apologies for each. But what this does indicate, and what women specifically should take note of, is that this behavior tilts to power-acquisition complexes that are potentially embarrassing for themselves (and already have been for their wives) but also dangerous to public interest.

Acknowledging that the root of seemingly-misogynistic propensities that might actually be recklessness and power hunger puts voters in a position to actually determine whether or not these men are worthy of such power. Observing how politicians handle themselves in light of their miscreant behavior (but also how they handle the embarrassment dealt to their wives!) offers meaningful leverage in forming an opinion when public cheating occurs, and a way to reason whether or not specific individuals are worthy of the honor to serve in any official capacity.

It is possible to be at once a philanderer and a public supporter of women’s rights issues, but if you’re both those things and a public official, you’re probably a little megalomaniacal. That, frankly, is a separate characteristic to judge, and frankly, one that does not reflect well on a politician's character.

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

Alex Uriarte

Alex was raised by a loving Cuban family in Miami, Florida and also lived in Colorado and Canada. She graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. While at FIU, Alex engaged in campaign and policy work on both sides of the political aisle while also serving the Miami-Dade community through the Red Cross and the International Rescue Committee. She was also nationally-award winning delegate with the FIU Model United Nations Team. Alex later moved to Washington D.C. to complete a Public Policy fellowship at a boutique lobbying firm and a Federal Relations internship for her alma mater. Alex currently holds post at a brand-new policy and advocacy non-profit, America Achieves. There, she focuses on the development of bipartisan recommendations to Congress that shift use of public dollars to results-driven and innovative solutions. Alex loves to throw-down with friends in the kitchen and find the best eats wherever she goes.

MORE FROM

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million Americans' water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million Americans' water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.