I have very mixed feelings about Weinergate.
On one hand, I don’t think a politician’s personal life ought to be a consideration if it does not interfere with his/her job. If he cheats on his wife, it isn’t really any of my business, much as I privately think it makes him a colossal douchebag. In the case of Anthony Weiner, I have a bit more sympathy than I would if we were talking about a “family values” conservative. Hypocrisy combined with douchebaggery is simply too much for me.
On the other hand, I have serious doubts about someone with this level of poor decision-making skills being able to represent his constituency effectively.
There’s a certain level of embarrassment I feel for Anthony Weiner. The pictures are just so silly, so absurd. They aren’t particularly lewd to me, to be honest. When I saw them and read the texts, I found myself wondering, “What on earth was he thinking?!” Followed by laughter. Followed by asking “Is his name really Weiner?” It would be next to impossible to take Mr. Weiner seriously after this. The unfortunate coincidence of his surname puts it over the top on the comedy scale.
I have to be honest though, and remember that I supported Bill Clinton and did not think he should resign after the Monica Lewinsky affair. I wonder if I would have felt differently if there had been photographic evidence of his infidelity. I have to admit, I believe I may have. There’s something about actually seeing a photo that makes it very difficult to move past that moment and imagine the person getting on with his career. I’m trying to imagine what would happen if a woman got caught doing something similar, perhaps a woman with the surname of Bush? The media would burn her at the stake.
I have to put myself in Anthony’s shoes. I imagine that I have just gotten caught sending sexy pictures of myself to several men by my boss. Should I be fired for this? Did I mention I took the pictures in the office gymnasium using my company-issued blackberry? I have a feeling I’m about to be unemployed.
In my relationship, I would consider sexting to be cheating. Cheating, to me, is knowing what you are doing will hurt your partner but doing it anyway. I guess maybe some people don’t feel that way and consider it harmless flirting. Thanks to Weiner-Gate, I have made my feelings on the matter known to my boyfriend and he agrees: sexting is cheating. So at least we’re clear on that.
People simply cannot seem to resist taking sexy photos and videos of themselves. It’s a different ballgame now though. Once your digital photo reaches cyberspace, you lose control of it for good. You have no idea who will see it or where it will end up. Most people wouldn’t walk into a room and take off their clothes. If you wouldn’t do that, you probably want to avoid sending naked pictures of yourself to anyone. My personal internet policy is “If you wouldn’t want your parents or your boss to see it, don’t put it on the internet.” Sending photos via cell phone isn’t secure either. You don’t really know if the recipient is going to keep it to himself or share it with his buddies.
A few of my friends have said something to the effect of “What is wrong with men these days?” I have to say, I am not so sure this is a male problem.. There are plenty of women sexting as well, teenagers especially. More girls are sending nude or semi-nude photos of themselves than boys. This is about sexuality in an unknown venue. It feels private, but in actuality it is much more public than making out in the back seat. Online relationships can sometimes feel more perfect than real life relationships because you don’t get the whole picture of a real person, flaws and all. You fill in the blanks using your imagination.
Anthony Weiner has resigned in a flurry of chaos after his sexting scandal. Part comedy and part tragedy, perhaps his rise and fall will be cautionary tale for others who feel a bit too comfortable and secure with their personal business on the internet.