Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sex Scandals: Tread Carefully

Ok, I haven't been fully following the Herman Cain sex scandals. What I catch are tidbits here and there...mostly from Jezebel, which while one of my favorite online reads, isn't considered a bastion of hard news. However, it appears there is some new big development with a 13 year affair and everyone is talking about it.

Taking a step back from Herman Cain specifically, I'd like to issue a reminder when we are discussing sex scandals in general, which seem to come up so very frequently.

1) It is totally different for someone to carry on consensual adult affairs than for someone to be accused of rape, assault, pedophilia, sexual harassment, or any other non consensual act. It is illogical to ever try to draw comparisons between the two. Having an affair behind your wife's back makes you a shitty, untrustworthy partner, but not a criminal. Big difference.

2) A sex scandal is not worse ipso facto if it involves people of mixed races or same genders. Any assertion otherwise is typically rooted in racism and/or homophobia.

3) I agree with Jill at Feministe that it is different to judge someone's personal life and personal actions for fun vs. calling someone out for their hypocrisy. I'll admit, I do more harshly judge conservatives who tout family values for their personal indiscretions than I do social liberals. It seems fair...you can't try to hold everyone to values that you do not personally uphold.

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