On Weiner

Because I am ridiculously sick of hearing, and correcting, Weiner's liberal/feminist defenders, who are apparently really goddamn invested in painting Weiner as a good man who just made the mistake of getting caught in his extramarital wandering, I just want to crosspost a rant I tossed up on tumblr earlier this morning. 

[In response to a post saying, basically, that what Weiner did isn't that bad, and it's not fair to be so mean to him when there are lots of other sexually immoral and otherwise unethical jackasses still hanging onto their political positions and power]
No.  No no no no no no NO.  He did not just “lie about racy pictures”.  He lied about SEXUALLY HARASSING women over the internet.  Two of the women have said that the sexual tone of the interactions was not consensual, that they did nothing to indicate they were receptive to receive sexual pictures or messages.  Weiner’s pattern in these interactions is fairly clear, that he used his position and his fans’ admiration for him to SEXUALLY HARASS women online. 
I get that the mainstream coverage of this hasn’t really focused on the consent angle.  So maybe people don’t realize this.  But for the love of all the gods can we stop fucking defending a man whose offense was not just “having an internet affair and/or lying about it”, but was instead SEXUAL HARASSMENT?  Can we stop fucking acting like Weiner’s the victim here?
I agree, too, that there are quite a number of other Congressional douchefucks who ought to be thrown out on their asses, and they have not been held anywhere near as accountable for their varying types of fucked-up behavior, as Weiner is being held for his.  BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN WEINER SHOULD GET A PASS. 
I get that he was one of our heroes.  I get that he did some very good shit.  I loved his politics and his fiery speeches and his willingness to call Repubs out on their bullshit, with a flaming passion.  THAT DOES NOT MEAN HE HAS A RIGHT TO SEXUALLY HARASS HIS FEMALE FANS.  That does not mean we should defend him for doing so. 
I have had to say this I can’t even count how many times in the past few days.  For fuck’s sake, people.  It’s not about the lies.  It’s not about the “racy” pictures.  It’s about his disregard for consent and boundaries, it’s about his taking advantage of his position and the goodwill of his supporters to HARASS women.  It’s about holding Weiner to a standard of conduct that includes Do Not Sexually Harass People, and I see no reason why “But those other people didn’t get in enough trouble!” should be taken as a reasonable justification to NOT hold Weiner accountable.

Also, to the jackass on RH Reality Check who felt the need to mansplain to me that "that's not what sexual harassment is" when I made points similar to the above - according to Merriam-Webster online, sexual harassment is "uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate (as an employee or student)".  I'd say sending unsolicited pictures of one's junk to someone with whom one was having a nonsexual conversation prior to the picture-sending counts as "uninvited" at the very least, and according to at least two of the women, it was also "unwanted".  Add in that Weiner, as an elected official, was trading on political power and reputation and the admiration of his female fans who may also have been his constituents, and you have the power differential that makes it "especially" sexual harassment.

What it comes to is this: Anthony Weiner was a progressive hero.  He used the power and fame and admiration that gained him to sexually harass women via the internet.  No, that is not as bad as some other things politicians have done.  But it is still a bad thing to do.  I refuse to compromise my ethical standards around consent, simply because he who violated them was someone I really liked.  And I genuinely don't understand why so many people who purport to be feminist, are willing to just brush those principles aside in order to defend Weiner.  I really don't.  



Teaspoon said...

So much this.  Times elebenty zillion.  I am more disappointed in Weiner than I have been in other politicians similarly engaged in sexual harassment, but only because I expected better of him.  Still, I'd rather cope with that crushing disappointment than try to make it go away by pretending he didn't do something awful.

MelissaRel said...


CaitieCat said...

Well said, J. 

If nothing else, how can we call out the ever-increasing number of Rethugs that do this, if we won't have the courage of our convictions to call out people we liked and supported? 

I know the Rethugs get away with it, all the time.   But I expect them to be hypocrites, their entire philosophy is about "one rule for me, and another for you".    There's a reason IOKIYAR exists as a meme.

I don't have to be concerned about the morality of the opponents.  They're our opponents.  I expect them to fail to meet our standards.

From our side, I
expect more
.  For me, my sense of moral rightness in what
we're doing leads me to expect that my allies will hold themselves to a
strict standard of upholding our principles, and nonconsensual
todgertweeting definitely doesn't fit that strict standard. 

Sonneillon said...

This.  I loved Anthony Weiner for all the same reasons.  I was crushed when I found out that a man I thought was a strong, honest progressive turned out to be using his power to sexually harass women, which is about as un-progressive as you can get.  My anger and disappointment are profound, and I have no desire to defend him, even as I note the hypocrisy on the part of the Republicans who have yet to oust or even really criticize Vitter.

Jadelyn said...

"todgertweeting" <-- I <3 your neologisms.  Have I mentioned that before? 

But yes.  Absolutely yes.

Jadelyn said...

Absolutely.  I guess the difference between Weiner's defenders and those progressives who are not defending him, is the difference between "You're able to get away with it, so we should too!" and "We don't think this is something *anyone* should be getting away with, and we don't make exceptions for our people."

Sonneillon said...

Though interestingly, now that progressives and democrats have been pointing out this hypocrisy, there have been a couple of calls for Vitter's resignation.  Bet Vitter didn't see that coming.

Jadelyn said...

Have there, now?  I hadn't heard that.  Heh, well, hypocrisy comes back to bite them.  That's a nice little silver lining.


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