Friday, May 17, 2013

Double Standards

Today is Friday, May 17, 2013.

CNN reported today that Pat Robertson's answer to a distraught wife who was having trouble forgiving her cheating husband has upset a lot of Christians, and the Christian Broadcasting Network has had to issue an apology for Robertson's remarks.  Again.  

On a recent broadcast of "The 700 Club," a letter was read from woman identified as Ivy.  We have gone to counseling, but I just can’t seem to forgive, nor can I trust. How do you let go of the anger? How do you trust again?" she wrote.  Instead of commiserating with the woman on her hurt feelings and giving her some advice about letting go of her anger, Pat Robertson told the woman that she should make allowances for her husband because, "he's a man. OK."  So apparently it's OK for a man to cheat once in a while.  After all, there's temptation outside the home, let's not forget. We should just forgive the guy and move on, and besides, it's probably the wife's fault, right?  

Robertson advised the woman that if her husband provides for her and if he's handsome, well, then no sweat.  She should keep this prize and find a way to fall in love with him again.  Oh, and be sure to "make the home so wonderful that he doesn't want to wander," said Robertson.

Yeah.  That's right.  Because men are human and women are not, for some reason.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for forgiveness, but I'd really like to see it applied fairly.  And I'd also like to see a little more of those "family values" the Christians are always talking about.  Don't family values have anything to do with not cheating on your spouse?  Maybe not, if we are going by Pat Robertson's remarks. 

When I was young, double standards for men and women were not only common, but they were so ingrained in the public consciousness that nobody seemed to question them.  In fact, even if you did question them, it all came down to "human nature."  But, of course, only men were allowed to be human.  Women had to be superhuman.

What with "women's lib" and all, I guess some of us were lulled into a false sense of hope that women had at least begun the process of achieving equality.  I know there's still a "glass ceiling" of sorts, and that in some jobs women really do get much less pay for doing the same jobs as men.  But with all the hoopla around the sexual escapades of the likes of Tiger Woods and General David Petraeus, I was thinking that maybe society had begun to let go of the double standard.  At least Woods' ex-wife and Petraeus' ex-wife were not shamed by public speculation that they were somehow such bad wives that they drove their husbands into the arms of other women.  Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, also seemed to avoid being blamed for her philandering husband's activities.

I guess I should have known, though, that there were some holdouts, some people who still feel that it's "natural" for men to roam and that the wife is to blame when the marriage breaks up.  After all, South Carolina voters just elected ex-Governor Mark Sanford to a seat in the House of Representatives. No one seemed to blame Sanford's wife for divorcing him after his affair was made public, and she wasn't shamed – at least, on national TV – for refusing to "stand by her man" the way some others have done.  (Elliot Spitzer's wife, David Vitter's wife, Larry Craig's wife, even Hillary Clinton)  But the voters forgave Sanford and sent him to Congress as their representative.  These voters were some of the same people, I'm sure, who were calling for former President Bill Clinton's impeachment for the same sort of offense.  Except that Clinton never left the country without telling anybody in order to pursue an affair with a foreigner.  

I feel for "Ivy," the lady who wrote the letter to Pat Robertson.  She deserved a bit of sympathy, in my book.  There are ways for her to try to let go of her anger, and I hope that she will one day be able to well and truly forgive her errant husband.   At the same time, I sure hope that she also draws a line in the sand with respect to her husband, and I hope she tells him that if he cheats on her again, she will end the marriage and find someone else who will actually respect those marriage vows.  :-/

No comments: