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I’m Done With Weiner

(Author’s note: There are images within this article that may be NSFW or triggering.)

I have always been a supporter of Anthony Weiner and the general bulk of his politics, sans some of the most cringe-worthy and conservative views on Israel/Palestine . A politician who seemingly understood the necessity of reproductive rights, LGBT legal justice, healthcare for 9-11 relief workers, with a charismatic yet aggressive personality on the floor, he made his way into my book of politicians I admired. I had also always been slightly on edge with this same falling over enthusiasm, mainly to what could be best described by Olivia Marudan in her essay as “Because A White Guy Said It” syndrome. Was this status holstered on him because we are lacking that much in male politicians working for reproductive issues or because of the white guy validation? Was he simply a great ally or was it someone whose privilege bolstered him up to a Tim Wise type of status? Either way, while Weiner has always been someone to be admired, the thrusting of him onto the pedestal by the feminist and reproductive justice movements has always caused a moment of pause for me.

How relevant that is now.

Last week, I defended Weiner’s actions as a reflection of his own personal choices, not something he was bringing to the job he was elected to do. I still stand firmly behind the idea that two people can only define their relationship and whatever goes on it, is frankly, not my concern. However, this week, as more and more information has leaked out on Weiner’s personal playground that is Twitter and Facebook, I have felt the confidence run slowly from my veins and the resentment quickly building. What once seemed like a another embarrassing incident of consenting adults not realizing that the Internet is public, now has turned into online harassment and a very privileged dude in allies clothing.

Seems accurate. Image Courtesy of UrbanDictionary.com

 

Weiner announced he was taking a personal leave of absence from his position, seeking professional treatment on his new found goal of being a healthier person and husband. A deep believer in therapy, I can’t help but scoff at the convenience of seeking therapy once one has been caught, a popular song and dance on the politician-celebrity road circuit to recovery and forgiveness.  As Nancy Pelosi began hinting at an internal investigation as to whether or not Weiner used state money to fund his jollies (an investigation which taxpayers will be paying for), more information on other women and even more concerning behavior came out. Meanwhile while everyone, including myself, is caught up in this, the defunding of Planned Parenthood and the passing of H.R.3 is happening right under our eyes, a gift that is much like manna from heaven for the GOP.

Weiner at the House Gym. Image Copyright of TMZ.com

 

What it the utmost disappointment in this whole hot mess is while what was presented as fiction, then fact, then consensual agreements, has now turned into what is defined as online harassment and a grown man sending what are still being investigated as questionable tweets to a seventeen-year-old. So the man who not even four months ago spoke at the Planned Parenthood rally (where I enthusiastically cheered him on) about the importance of respecting women, has pulled the curtain back and shown his own disregard for the meaning of the word “no.” While his vigor or being “aggressive,” “feisty,” and “blunt” may have made him the saint of liberal politics on the House floor, the context changes severely when in the realm of Internet relationships. What does it exactly mean when the man who swears to fight for women’s rights sees little value in respecting their own boundaries if it interferes with his sexual turn-ons?

“I’ve had a really hard time trying to fight these implications that I’ve been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a married congressman,”  said Genette Cordova. She has currently dropped out of school to avoid the onslaught of unwanted attention.

Which brings me to a phrase which I feel wraps up the entirety of this situation, as well as the complexities and nuances of how deep rape culture actually goes. “Unwanted attention.” We are witnessing it in the Strauss Kahn case, the Malta and Moreno verdict, the victim blaming of an 11-year-old for being gang raped, the Julian Assange case, hell, throw pop culture in there with Rihanna’s video “Man Down.” Now with the patron male saint of feminism being caught in a variant of this type of harassment and abuse by using his powerful status to send women pictures of his body, Weiner has joined the ranks, albeit within the boundaries of digital communication, of the behavior he spoke against.

This goes beyond political ramifications now ““ we can all expect the conservative party to use this as a leveler for their platform, hands down.  Weiner’s actions speak for themselves at how deep misogyny can run when in one breath you can shout at a pro-choice rally, “Respect women!” and then in your private downtime email them unwanted half-naked pictures of yourself.  If this is coming from the man who considered himself a staunch supporter of women’s rights, what the hell is going on behind the curtain with those who lie at the opposite end of the political spectrum? I almost respect certain conservatives more ““ at least they are open about their deep misogyny with attempts to audit rape claims and defund Planned Parenthood as a priority that overtakes the flailing unemployment crisis. I know where I stand with them. But Weiner is like that guy who tells you he loves Bell Hooks and supports you and then turns around and snaps a hilarious rape joke he saw on Family Guy. You think he’s with you, you think he’s got your back. Turns out, he’s just like the rest of them.

8 replies on “I’m Done With Weiner”

Weiner announced his resignation today and I am more than happy.
Weiner supporters, IMO, tried to seperate/distance Weiner, the politician from Weiner, the philanderer: an impossible task because the two are one and the same. There’s only one Weiner.

Penis’ don’t make decisions, even though we often joke that men think with it. That penis is controlled by the same brain that controls the mouth that said all the things that those who supported him loved him for saying. I think they were willing to ignore his transgressions if it would get them what they wanted politically. But Weiner is the one who made that decision to do what he did, to lie about it, to hide it, minimize it and rationalize it and when you choose to behave that way, you corrode trust in the relationships you have with people, professionally and personally. And people who cannot be trusted . . . well, they cannot be trusted.

Weiner’s actions speak for themselves at how deep misogyny can run when in one breath you can shout at a pro-choice rally, “Respect women!” and then in your private downtime email them unwanted half-naked pictures of yourself. If this is coming from the man who considered himself a staunch supporter of women’s rights, what the hell is going on behind the curtain with those who lie at the opposite end of the political spectrum?

I think what has happened is that his behavior has been revealed to be sooooooo egregious, that it is to a degree that those who’d tolerate it for the sake of having someone who supports their issues in office, just can’t ignore it any longer and still maintain with a straight face that they stand for the issues they say stand for.

I’m not at all surprised by the turn of events in this story. Like Maya Angelou has said: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

Yeah, so much for consent. Ugh.

And on another note, I appreciate the trigger warning, but I don’t really think the picture needs to be there at all. I mean, if I want to find the photos, I’m sure a quick google would let me. I want to read the Persephone take on this without the visual image.

Interesting point and noted for next time there is a piece like this. I’m curious for my own behalf, what is it about the image that seems unnecessary (other than a quick google search) with the inclusion of it ? I’m asking because I feel the image illustrates the heaviness of the situation and the violation of having a photo like this sent to someone, but I also think you make a really good point. Can you elaborate ( pretty please ) ?

Sure. It’s just that I know that he’s sending inappropriate photos. I’ve heard about the crotch shot, the gym-mirror photos. I can understand the “heaviness.” If this article were actually about whether or not the photos were inappropriate, then include the photos. Of course, I wouldn’t expect such an article to appear on this site.
This article is about him sending the images without consent and the disappointment when a supposed ally fails us. Including the photos and TW means that this site’s readers won’t read this post. I think we shouldn’t want to turn away readers.

Thank you for articulating this so well. It’s one thing for an adult male to carry on via e-mail and Facebook with consenting women who aren’t his wife, but his behavior towards Ms. Cordova and the unnamed 17-year-old were completely beyond the pale for me.

Really? You’re a 46-year-old man in the high reaches of American government and you thought that the appropriate action in the context of a conversation via Twitter was to send a stranger a picture of your cock? That she hadn’t asked for? That alone was enough to turn me away from him.

But once I read some of the things he’d said to the 17-year-old (“Large… in tights and a cape”) that she said had made her uncomfortable, I was fucking done. How can an adult think that contacting a minor (IDGAF about the age of consent, he’s a stranger and an adult male saying suggestive things to her AND he’s speaking from a very privileged position of power) is appropriate? When he said in his press conference that “as far as he was aware” (I’m paraphrasing), none of his contacts were under 18, I think he was lying.

And exactly. How can we trust a man who seemed to be such a great ally if his respect for womens’ autonomy and choices ended when it interfered with him getting off?

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