Saturday, March 15, 2008

Last Spitzer Post, I Promise

So I was going to write something about how despite all the online discussions about whether Silda Wall Spitzer is hot or not, nobody seems to find it relevant that Eliot Spitzer is balding and has features kind of like a gargoyle. Then I came across this New York Times article which is

The latest model is the familial crisis facing Silda Wall Spitzer, corporate lawyer, mother of three daughters and, most pointedly, wife of Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned after revelations that he had been paying for prostitutes. In conversations and throughout the blogosphere, wives at great remove have imagined what they would do if they were in her shoes, even as they hastened to add that those shoes would never, ever fit.

Except, of course, for those rueful, former Cinderellas who know better.

I love the way that Eliot Spitzer's infidelity turns into Silda Spitzer's familial crisis. It's one of those framings that masquerades as choice and empowerment (now she gets to choose if she stays or leaves) but is really about work. The Times article goes on to describe various strategies for dealing with infidelty, but the common theme is that it's the wife's job to figure out where the marriage is going to go from there. Husbands, the article seems to say, are like kids who break a glass to get out of washing the dishes. "Oops! I broke our vows here, honey. You better take care of the marriage from now on."

Throughout the article, it's the woman who does the forgiving, initiates counseling, explains to the kids what's happening, starts divorce proceedings, and of course, is left caring for the kids alone when the marriage goes belly-up. Which is, of course, only reflecting the division of labor society still universally enforces. Even those outlets with enough reticence to avoid saying it's her fault for failing to keep him satisfied, it's still unquestioningly her mess to clean up.

(And, gotta love the extra dose of fearmongering the Times throws in to the whole brew as well. You may think you man would never cheat, but how can you ever be sure, huh?)

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