Saturday, December 05, 2009

Elin's tough week

Here is all the proof anyone needs that the “women’s movement,” or at least the idea that women have more to offer than their looks and should be acknowledged in a non-sexual way in many facets of society, is neither alive nor well in the western world. In fact, it’s all but invisible. Otherwise, there’s no explanation for the following.

First, there is simply no reason that anything as revolting as the Victoria’s Secret Holiday Fashion Show should get network airtime every December. Isn’t this exactly why Al Gore invented the internet? For events like this? Yes, I’ll admit that I’ve never watched this horror show but I can guess what it contains. Stunning women, wearing lingerie and heels, staring into the camera, looking seductive and needy.

When I looked it up online, I was hoping to find a charity connection. Maybe that could touch off some kind of kind feeling of warmth and forgiveness toward this celebration of female sexuality and oppression. Nope. (Please: I know some of these models make a fair amount of money. They’d better make it while they can; perky boobs and smooth skin won’t last forever.) The only good news I found was that something must have happened in 2004 which precluded this event from taking place. Otherwise, according to the episode history, Victoria and her spokeswomen have been sharing the holidays with us since 2001.

But truthfully, it wasn’t the “fashion” show that aggravated me the most in terms of women and our “liberation.” No, that honor goes to the MSN homepage. I hate the fact that one of the top stories there was titled “Tiger’s tough week.” Tiger’s tough week? Tiger’s? Every single thing that happened during this “tough week” to keep him in the news was the result of his own choices and activities. The latest news is that four women have emerged to tell their stories about his sordid recreational life. That’s practically one woman for each year of his marriage.

I can think of someone who may have had just a slightly tougher week than Tiger. What about Elin’s tough week? What about the fact that Mrs. Tiger Woods has had her sham of a marriage exposed for the entire world to see and judge? Yes, the man she married was already in the sports spotlight, a legend in the making on her wedding day, and she would enjoy a lifetime of material comforts courtesy of the PGA and various companies who paid for a piece of the Tiger magic. But even given all that, I’m guessing Elin never counted on infidelity and multiple affairs following after love, marriage and the baby carriage.

Maybe Tiger did, though. I read the People magazine blurb about his marriage in 2004 and the writer observed the following: But it was Tiger’s trademark cool that really took the cake. "He didn’t act like he was going to get married," says a source. "He was very relaxed, like this was any other day for him.” I think the source got that exactly right. Appears this marriage didn’t changed a thing for old Tiger, did it?

If we’ve learned anything from people like Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Donald Trump, Elliott Spitzer, Mark Sanford, and David Letterman, men seem to emerge from these marriage-shaking media events more or less unharmed. Sure, we all laugh at their exploits and the comedians come up with a day or two of material, but then we move on.

And just as the men seem to come shining through, their scorned women seem to fade from our consciousness, the tell-all books some of them write notwithstanding. I have to believe that money goes a long way to keeping a lot of those women from ever sitting down with a literary agent to discuss a book deal. That little annoyance may even be covered in a pre-nuptial agreement or divorce settlement.

I suppose it’s too much to hope that the next time some famous man has his affairs come to light, the media will address it in terms of the people he’s hurt with his selfish, narcissistic behavior. That way, it may not be so easy for the rest of us to overlook the real, live un-famous wives and families who are the most harmed by his behavior. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be a little more reluctant to place those icons back on their pedestals.


Richard said...

Well said. I've never done anything wrong, except the occasional Jimmy Carter moment, in 31 years of marriage - and I still feel guilty. It galls me to no end that these guys can get away with this and come out virtually unscathed.

Either I'm old-fashioned, or deep down I wish I was getting away with this type of behavior.

renee said...

Hi Richard -

I think you may be old-fashioned, if by old-fashioned you mean committed to your marriage. Imagine that.

And Jimmy Carter told the truth. We've all done that, right?

Every man like you, who remains faithful to his marriage in the face of what we call "life" and the bumps we encounter along the way is a better man, a more admirable man, a more attractive man than any of these headline grabbing losers could ever be.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts-