Why Hillary Clinton (et al.) Will Never Be Brought Down By A Sex Scandal

Everyone's all a-titter about the David Petraeus sex scandal, which is delightfully juicy with multiple cheating, salacious headlines ("Cloak and Shag Her" was my favorite), and even an evil twin thrown in for fun. And Petraeus certainly has plenty of company, given the high numbers of politically powerful men who have had their careers derailed, or at least temporarily dented, by their inability to keep their libidos zipped up. But does anyone else wonder why we never see similar stories about women? Oh, sure, there have been married women involved in these stories, but they are never the high-profile characters, and face it, no one would have heard of Paula Broadwell, Rielle Hunter, or even Monica Lewinsky, if they hadn't fooled around with famous men.

There are numerous theories to explain this discrepancy. Of course, part of it is a numbers game — there are far, far fewer women in equivalent positions. But proportionally, if men and women were on par, there should be at least a couple of women-centered scandals. Another possibility is that men are generally not attracted to anyone who is more successful than they are — but even that theory is being blown away by the increasing number of marriages where the wife out-earns the husband, and young men in particular seem completely comfortable with it. There's also the idea that women are more logical in their attractions — they factor in a man's intellect, stability, and appropriateness instead of getting swept away with lust. (Which doesn't explain my totally illogical crushes on gay men, particularly Nate Silver and Ricky Martin.)

But the only explanation that makes complete sense is that successful women, in fact, all busy women, are just too darn busy to pursue extra-marital attractions, and too exhausted to act on them. I've never cheated, but I can't honestly attribute that to my high moral ground or superior ethics — I just don't know how I would find the time and energy. (That, plus the fact that the only guy who's hit on me in the past year was the box boy at Safeway — I can only take the Mrs. Robinson fantasy so far!)

So here's this week's song, about the reasons women will probably never achieve parity with men in the area of sex scandals!

4 replies on “Why Hillary Clinton (et al.) Will Never Be Brought Down By A Sex Scandal”

I've also heard the theory that women in positions of power generally come to them with a lot more difficulty, so they're less likely to risk them. It's not super uncommon for powerful men to come from places where they were basically always powerful, so like having the next desirable woman they want isn't unusual and being brought down isn't necessarily always at the forefront of their thinking, whereas for women that kind of background is less common. (Elsewhere I've seen this explained in more detail but I can't think of where at the moment.) So I think that's a potentially believable theory.

I was going to say something similar. I think for a lot of men, ending up in a powerful position is expected, and when they do get there they get a sense of entitlement and bulletproof-ness. Since women aren't just handed the same positions in the same way, they don't feel as entitled to do whatever they want once they are there.

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