Remember the pregnant, married congresswoman who tweeted a naked photo of her breasts to the young college student while she was pregnant? You don't recall? That is because it would never happen. First of all, a married, pregnant congresswoman would be too busy in her spare time trying to figure out childcare to be on Twitter much less engaging in an extracurricular sext fest. It is also because women just don't get themselves in trouble this way.
The closest thing I can find to any female congresswoman having a sex scandal is Helen Chenowith from Idaho. She admitted in 1998 that she had an affair in the 1980s with a married man. No sex texts, no sex tape, nothing scurrilous. She asked for God's forgiveness and didn't run for re-election. Since she left office, a woman hasn't served in either the House or the Senate from Idaho.
If a woman got embroiled in a sex scandal today, I'm pretty sure she would sell millions of tabloids, be called all kinds of horrible names, be deemed unable to win re-election and unfit to serve. And that judgment would be quick -- and final.
I'm not suggesting for a moment that women are less capable than men of wrongdoing. But it is rather evident that women in politics seem vastly less inclined actually to fall victim to the temptations of sin. And, it is even more striking and disturbing that the electorate and society as a whole would almost certainly treat them very differently.
Can you comprehend for a moment if our imaginary pregnant, female congresswoman trolled Twitter for young male college students, luring them into sexting and promised them jobs at Politico? The questions! The fury! Sexting for jobs? Is that even legal? Should Congress investigate? What about the husband? What a tool! What about the baby? That husband should leave her and take that baby! The Congresswoman is a slutbag!
Like Mr. Weiner, our hypothetical congresswoman would be condemned morally -- she would be called a whore, a crazy nymphomaniac, whatever. But, unlike the case of Mr. Weiner, we would not be entertaining the conversation about whether this woman's sending a naked picture of herself is relevant to her ability to serve her city, congressional district or country. And, that's because she would be deemed not only morally unworthy and untrustworthy but out of control, insane and stupid.
And, that's what's really bothering me. This whole Anthony Weiner matter is not just stranger than fiction; it is a very powerful reminder to me -- and lesson to our daughters -- that the double standard is alive and well.
It's one thing to sin. America does love redemption and, so, Mr. Weiner had a shot at a political comeback. It seems it's not going to be successful because, in committing the very same sin serially within months of begging forgiveness, Mr. Weiner has convinced us that he is perhaps unstable as well as morally questionable.
The congresswoman would never have had the second chance that Mr. Weiner had. She would have been summarily sentenced to the political death penalty at the first news of her sexting and she'd never be heard from again. Mr. Weiner is now having his sanity questioned -- but a woman would have that called into question the first time around.
I have a son and a daughter. If they suffer losses from their mistakes, I hope they grow stronger, learn from them and have second chances. But it saddens me that those chances may come more easily to my son than my daughter.