Stay Classy, American Media


I know it’s hard American Media, but still, can we refrain from slut-shaming women and concern-trolling the wives that stay with these dudes?

The New York Post cover (above), which trolls Huma Abedin, is just, you know, ick.
Buzzfeed’s super sleuth reportage does some slut shaming here by outing the alleged identity of the other texter. And! The New York Times only added more weaksauce to my least favorite thing about them too: a slapdash collection of three opinions of Huma Abedin with a quote from an ‘expert’ and now we have a news story.

This isn’t reporting as much as it’s just water cooler gossip masquerading as news.

The judgment of women in cases where men are behave badly is fraught with the classic tropes of slamming women in myth, legend, history and literature – like Jezbel and Hester Prynne. Which is to say, we love this shit. No one ever goes in on Rev. Dimmsdale, do they? (Hint: that’s the dude responsible for letting Hester being ass out for the entire book. Fuck that guy.)

Gloria Steinem’s reaction in the Times piece is equally disappointing: “I have no way of knowing whether Huma, for whom I have great respect, is responding out of new motherhood, the Stockholm syndrome or a mystery…I strongly object to holding one spouse responsible for the other’s acts.” Not helping the conversation here, and while I admire and respect Ms. Steinem, I’m not sure why she felt compelled to even comment in this latest episode. It’s kind of a backhanded voice of support that sits really strange with me. (Ms. Steinem is a public supporter of Christine Quinn, the other mayoral candidate.)

I’m not going to judge or shame Abedin or the sexter about their relationships with Weiner. That’s actually not my principle concern. Abedin’s choice to stand by her husband confounds all, but again, it’s her choice. I’m not married to Weiner. I’m not going to make judgments about what happens inside that marriage. That’s not up for a vote. It’s the New York City’s voters’ choice to determine if Weiner is fit to lead the city as Mayor. We have yet to ascertain his fitness given his past proclivities that ultimately distract from major issues. Might I give you all a reminder of what those are: this Community Safety Act recently vetoed by current mayor, ‘Stop & Frisk’, affordable housing, local economic growth, infrastructure investment and resources for public education, living wages and sick leave for minimum wage/restaurant workers. As a New Yorker (I’ve got some years here to claim that) I can tell you how many fucks I can give about Weiner’s sexting. Yet, here are my real questions: Are we prepped for future superstorms and hurricanes? Will there be resources invested in a Civilian Complaint Review Board to hold NYPD accountable for their racially biased policing? Are we modernizing the existing housing stock to reduce our carbon footprint? Can we get rent not to be too damn high? How does he plan to work with Albany on these issues?

I could go on.

The Carlos Danger sideshow is hilarious for the great water cooler of the interwebs, but it aggravates this sober thinking voter. My choices for the next great (and I use that term loosely) mayor of New York have yet to astonish me with responses those concerns.

SYREETA MCFADDEN is a Brooklyn based writer, photographer and adjunct professor of English. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and Storyscape Journal. She is the managing editor of the online literary magazine, Union Station, and a co-curator of Poets in Unexpected Places. You can follow her on Twitter @reetamac.

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  • Lix Day

    Gloria Steinem is a transphobe and her version of feminism belongs in a natural history museum. The feminist movement evolved past her a long time ago and thank god we did.

    The only thing that surprises me about her is that people still take her seriously.

  • Frances Locke

    I’m a native New Yorker from the Rockaway section of Queens, where Weiner used to be a councilman. He is a great statesman and very earnest about his support of the average New Yorker and their struggles. My area was very badly hit after Hurricane Sandy and he was not only here personally helping to muck out homes, but he has worked to lobby for reforms that would protect our cities beach communities and stop another disaster from happening.

    That being said, his choices in this matter make me question his ability to lead. It was just to careless and stupid.

    The one thing, though, that no one is speculating, amid all these accusations that Huma is somehow weak or dumb, is whether she knew and didn’t care. Perhaps they have a non-traditional relationship at home. They certainly couldn’t come out and say that if they did, even in a liberal city like NYC. Obviously this is conjecture, and it’s no better than what other people are speculating, but I think this at least gives her the benefit if the doubt about her own intentions.

    Why do women always have to be perceived as helpless and weak? There are plenty of people who actually enjoy open relationships, or condone internet flirting. Why do people automatically assume that the wife is some wounded bird, especially if they don’t call divorce the moment it happens?

    This happened with Spitzer too. People that knew them came out to numerous places saying that they had a kinky lifestyle as a married couple, yet the media was quick to jump on the scorned woman bandwagon. Perhaps the fact that they are staying with their partner has less to do with a “stand by your man” mentality and more to do with their own personal dynamic.

    (This was aimed at places like the NYT and The Post, not the author is this article, just to be clear)