Does Eliot Spitzer consider himself a feminist? Yes. Um…

Last night on Up With Chris Hayes, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was asked if he considers himself a feminist. Spitzer answered in the affirmative, and was then asked how he squares that position with the reason he is a former Governor: he got busted patronizing escorts, which is illegal in New York, and using public funds to pay for the hotel rooms in which some of those meetings took place.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Spitzer said: “I’ve been forthright and direct. I resigned five years ago and done a great deal between now and then… The record I had was one of devout dedication to women’s rights, on the issues of choice and the issues of equal pay or issues of anti-discrimination, both as attorney general where we were fervent in pursuing those cases; [and] where we were fervent in governing and legislation.”

Yeah, but dude, you also used public money to break the law and sleep with a woman half your age, so…

and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

6 Comments

  1. Posted July 17, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m feeling a little bit of disconnect here. I’m willing to argue with Spitzer’s feminist creds, but the points above don’t really resonate. Are you saying that he’s not a feminist: A) because he paid with a sex worker; B) Because he did so with public funds; C) Because he slept with a woman younger than he?

    Frankly, while point B constitutes an ethical violation, I don’t think it’s directly applicable to feminism per se. The other two I don’t see as unethical in and of themselves at all, especially because, as far as we can tell, the women who had him as a client were working consensually.

    If I was going to nail Spitzer for anything, it wouldn’t be sleeping with sex workers; it would be the hypocrisy of doing so after making his name by sending dozens of women to jail for being sex workers and claiming that he was doing so for their own good. That’s something worth challenging on feminist grounds. But generally, I do support the rights of sex workers and clients to meet consensually and without stigma.

  2. Posted July 17, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Being a client of sex workers is now inherently antifeminist? How does that work?

  3. Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote about this in a little more depth and complexity over at Salon.

  4. Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    “Yeah, but dude, you also used public money to break the law and sleep with a woman half your age, so”
    However repugnant I find him, I don’t agree that breaking the law or patronizing a young sex worker, in themselves, block Spitzer from being a feminist. Were the girl underage, or coerced, I would support your argument that he cannot by definition be a feminist. But there are lots of feminists who support the legalization of sex work, lots of feminists who break the law on the regular, and lots of feminists who pay for sex or have sex with much younger people.

  5. Posted July 18, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Are you arguing that he isn’t a feminist, or that he should not be re-elected to public office? Breaking the law and using public money to pay for the hotel rooms justified him losing his job, for sure. But I don’t think going to an escort disqualifies him from being a feminist, if that’s the issue. If there can be feminist sex workers, there can be feminist johns, right?

  6. Posted July 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m not going to defend Spitzer against the charges that he misused public funds, broke the law, etc, because he did. But the line “slept with a woman half his age” is slut shaming. The sex was consensual, regardless of whether there was money exchanged, and both parties were adults. A man can be a feminist and still sleep with women. A man can even be a jerk who I don’t want to associate with and still be a feminist. These “sex scandals” distract from actual legislation. Illegality aside, shouldn’t what Spitzer does in the bedroom (or hotel room) be between him and his sexual partner(s)?

Feministing In Your Inbox

Sign up for our Newsletter to stay in touch with Feministing
and receive regular updates and exclusive content.

183 queries. 1.080 seconds