The ‘opt-out’ Generation
You’ve undoubtably heard about the resignation of NY governer Eliot Spitzer by now. Elected official pays high end prostitute for ‘time’, gets caught, official resigns, wife stays by his side.
Every time a scandal like this breaks, I think ‘WHY IS SHE STAYING WITH HIM?!’ Why, as a culture, do we admire the stoicism of political wives who’s husbands have acted like damned fools? If the tables were turned and she cheated on him in any capacity (prostitutes or otherwise), would they have had a nasty bitter divorce or would they have stayed together?
Slate has some interesting commentary on how women at the top of their game (and the top of their class at Harvard Law School) turn into high society stay-at-home moms dependent on their husbands. Check it out:
What happened? Like all revolutionaries, the opt-out revolutionaries often wind up bleeding on the barricades. Sure, all marriages don’t end in the arms of an international prostitution ring. Indeed, in the Spitzers’ social class, the divorce rate is far from the 50 percent we so often read about. However, the rate of divorce, prostitution, online pornography, and the rest isn’t negligible, either. And even if the marriage does not break up, women’s decisions to make their social position completely dependent on the ambition, discipline, judgment, and steadiness of another human being is not only an act of extreme self-abnegation, it risks the very dramatic fall we have just witnessed in the Spitzer matter. Does anyone think that even as well-heeled a divorcée as Mrs. Spitzer would be the same force in philanthropic Upper East Side circles as the governor’s wife?