For anyone living in the U.S., you’ve almost surely heard of the situation that New York Rep. Anthony Weiner has gotten himself (and several women) into. Basically, he tweeted a photo of his genital region covered by underwear last week, claimed his account had been hacked, and then on Monday he admitted that it was indeed a photo of him and that he’s been having various internet affairs with many women over the last few years. He claims it’s been six women, but I see no reason really trust that number. Three of the women involved have gone public with their names, which seems like a pretty high ratio if there were only six women total.
Weiner has been praised throughout the progressive and mainstream feminist blogosphere for his feisty defense of women’s reproductive rights and his ability to succinctly and humorously lambaste Republicans. He’s one of the few Democrats who is in the spotlight fighting for progressive issues. However, his pro-woman views seem to stop where his sexual desires begin.
One of the women who has gone public also released a couple hundred messages that she exchanged with the congressman on Facebook. Reading the messages is an uncomfortable venture, to say the lease. Typical of Rep. Weiner’s political style, he’s very aggressive and certainly doesn’t hold back on what he’s thinking. The reoccurring theme in the messages is that Weiner is pro-women’s-choices in that he supports your right to suck his dick [hat tip to Nine Deuce]. Not just any ol’ dick sucking though. He says more than once that he wants her to “gag” on his penis. “What the fuck?” you’re probably thinking. Indeed, this is a trope right out of contemporary pornography, which anti-porn activists such as Gail Dines and Robert Jensen have written about.
There’s a kind of bizarreness, now, in finding out that just a few months ago Weiner supported the removal of a “sexist” (his word) statue that shows a man towering above two women who lie at his feet. That’s the thing about supposedly progressive men. The personal is political as they support your right to an abortion, but the political isn’t all that personal when they are obsessed with getting women to talk about how much they want your penis in their mouths. Here’s a choice excerpt from the Facebook messages:
Weiner: i hear liberal girls are very, uh, accommodating of others
Weiss: of course! it is all about taking care of the little guy!
Weiner: little?! ouch. you’d be surprised how big
Not every progressive man is a porn-sick faux-ally though, but when men like Weiner turn out to be just that, it doesn’t make you all look that great. Every anti-porn woman who attempts to date men is familiar with this Schrödinger’s porn-user phenomenon. The guy seems great at first. . . he might even call himself a feminist or at least be in favor of vague “equality”. Then you discover that all of his free time is spent watching porn online and that — surprise — that’s the type of sex he expects you to have with him. Yeah, yeah, women’s rights and all that, but get on your knees.
Actor and fellow liberal dude Alec Baldwin has come to the defense of congressman Weiner, calling him a prime example of “the modern, high functioning man”. Ah, yes — the ‘high functioning’ capabilities one must have to serially engage in explicitly sexual conversations with women online while simultaneously sending them cell phone photos of your penis. The skills! Bravo. (A good paraphrasing of Baldwin’s lovely little article can be found here.)
As political writer (and former girlfriend of Weiner) Kirsten Powers points out,
We know only about the women who were responsive to his overtures. The odds are very high that he struck out with many, and other women were victim to his unsolicited sex talk. [. . .] Just because a woman “likes” your video on Facebook doesn’t mean you can send her a picture of your penis. This is textbook sexual harassment.
The women who have come forward with photos and messages sent to them by the congressman were, apparently, rather okay with his advances. Although how likely is it that the women who felt skeeved out by his solicitations are going to put themselves out there in the same way?
These unknown women, as well as the ones who have named themselves, have been pulled into a political scandal that Weiner has created for them and himself. The woman who was the original recipient of the first dick pic on Twitter did not have sexy internet chats with Weiner, yet her name has been thrown about and implications made that she was one of his cyber-sex partners. From an article in today’s New York Times:
“I’ve had a really hard time trying to fight these implications that I’ve been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a married congressman,” she said.
She has struggled to stay out of the limelight, leaving college and completing class work by phone and e-mail.
Weiner apparently sent her a text message before his Monday press conference apologizing, presumably for all of the harm he has brought upon her in the last week. It’s not clear whether he apologized for sending her the photo in the first place, something he meant as “a joke”. She says she still doesn’t get what exactly was supposed to be a ‘joke’ about it and neither do I. All I get from that is a congressman sending a totally unsolicited photo of his junk to a woman on Twitter. I see a man who wasn’t all that apologetic or ashamed as he was massively complicating the lives of numerous women with his predatory behavior.