Saturday, July 11, 2009

Forgot One, Lisa

In tomorrow's Times Magazine, Lisa Belkin has an interesting thought piece on the phenomenon of the wronged political wife, and its perception by married women everywhere. Here's the money quote:

Because while the cameras are always focused on the errant husband, we are transfixed by the wife. From Clinton to Craig to Spitzer to Edwards to Ensign we wonder: Why does she take this? Why do we take this? So when Jenny Sanford broke the mold and dispatched her husband to face the cameras alone, we cheered. Maybe this time she’d leave him. Maybe there was hope for us.

Well, yes. But she left out an important recent example: Dina Matos McGreevy.

When the erstwhile Garden State governor outed himself as a "gay American" -- the phrase still grates, five years later -- she stood beside him on the podium. She was expressionless, except for a small wince when he acknowledged "the pain I have caused ... my wife." He called her "extraordinary," even as he alluded to the "likely impact" of his sexuality upon his family.

But since then, they have had an especially nasty public divorce and custody battle. Books have been written, Oprah's couch has been bounced upon. For a while there, Dina was on the warpath, Kramer-vs-Kramer style. Nobody could blame her; the eventually-to-be-Rev. Mr. McGreevy is a sleazy guy, and she has every reason to make herself and her children visibly, patently, distinct from him. And that required some baring of the teeth.

And we at the Egg do admire the patrician reserve of Jenny Sanford, who seems like a hell of a woman. But we also admire Dina Matos, in the ring, fighting for her dignity.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

yes, and much of the shame is in having to fight for dignity. vows of any kind seem to have innate dignity. when a vow is broken how truly sad that it is the victim left fighting for dignity lost by association. am i perhaps missing something here?

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

While, of course, the man can be "wronged" it seems it is usually the woman on the sidelines. Girls, women, in general, need to learn that when there is any kind of incident, they are not the fools, but the one who actually is acting like a fool who is the fool. Therefore, women, hold on to the dignity that is innately yours! Too many of us are not taught to have high self-esteem when we were children.

I remember one time when a guy was hitting on me in a particularly gross way, but I was in a situation where I literally could not leave. Rather than make a scene, I kept my mouth shut. But later, I used this as a lesson for my girls: The guy was the fool, not me. I SHOULD have made a scene and been proud of doing so.