Get the message?
Thank you, Feminist Majority Foundation.
Get the message?
Thank you, Feminist Majority Foundation.
By Sandra Kobrin
(WOMENSENEWS)– As news of the “Eliot Mess” started to break on Monday, I looked at my husband and smiled.
“You know our deal,” I reminded him. “If anything like this happens to you don’t expect me to stand beside you and suffer public humiliation. You do something stupid like this, you’re on your own.”
Then we continued to watch Spitzer’s press conference.
“It looks like she’s reading his statement,” my husband said, as he studied Silda Wall Spitzer’s controlled response. He said her eyes were focused on her husband’s script.
“Probably so,” I answered. “I’m sure she was the last to know and is doing her best to know what’s going on this time.”
I, like everyone else, was stunned by the idea ofState’s Wall Street-busting crusading governor Elliot Spitzer apparently destroying his career by breaking the law and patronizing prostitutes.
Many of us in the news business, or the political business or the business business spent the day waiting for news of his resignation, pouring over the details of Spitzer’s D.C. assignation and replaying what may have been the world’s briefest press conference.
But as we talked among ourselves my friends and fellow journalists were saying it’s not just a question of what’s wrong with him. We’ were also asking “What’s up with her? What is she doing standing there by his side at the press conference?”
Aol Pops the Question
“Governor’s Wife Stands by Her Man” was one of‘s rotating home page headlines Tuesday. “Would You Do the Same Thing?”
Our answer: an unequivocal no. We all agree we’re suddenly tired of seeing the silent woman standing by.
In every case, of course, it’s the particular wife’s personal business how she sorts the matter out. But why should she appear at the face-to-face with the cameras’ glare? That seems to send the message that good wives are expected to put up with far too much.
As my colleagues, my family and I pored over the coverage Tuesday, one thing that popped out here was that “client 9”–the new moniker for the man once known as the Sheriff of Wall Street–was sometimes considered “difficult,” for the prostitutes at the Emperor’s Club, a high-end brothel where Spitzer had an account.
In the smoking tape made of the phone call between the prostitute and her “booker” after the encounter the booker said “client number 9” sometimes asked for things that weren’t always that “safe.”
The mind reels. In Victorian novels when asterisks are put in the place of curse words the reader spends much more time wondering what the real words might have been–and probably coming up with worse–than if they’d been spelled out. Thoughts of all kinds of kinky sex went through my mind.
But another colleague offered a possibility at once more obvious and more serious: condoms. Perhaps, she said, it meant that Spitzer refused to use a condom.
If so, then he’s put his wife in danger as well as the high-priced sex workers he apparently regularly patronizes. All of them should be seeking medical attention and testing, if they haven’t already.
Mixed Feelings Get Sorted Out
A friend told me that her feelings about women who stand by their men are somewhat mixed. While she admires loyalty and being a friend in need, she doesn’t like the idea that dishonest men are worth putting up with.
But when the question of condoms and safe sex came up she says she suddenly got the point. In this case the wife should have been given a doctor’s excuse to miss the photo session.
Why is it that our society is repulsed with lying and dishonesty in a public capacity but accepts lying and dishonesty in a marriage?
There are editorials flying and talking heads screaming for Spitzer’s resignation, but there’s no one screaming, “Hey Silda, walk away from that lying dirt bag who put your health at risk and your reputation in the toilet! Take the money and run. You’ll do fine on your own.”
Silda Wall Spitzer is a Harvard-educated lawyer and the founder and chair of the board of New York-based Children for Children, a nonprofit organization that fosters community involvement and social responsibility in young people. She has three daughters ranging in age from 14 to 18.
Well listen up Silda. You are entitled to your own decisions but you and your daughters don’t have to stay.
In any event, please don’t letbe your role model, even if your husband has endorsed her candidacy.
Yesterday, the presidential contender told reporters she was sending her best wishes and thoughts to the governor and to his family. Oh boy. I understand she didn’t want to lose a possible super delegate but, puh-lease.
Clinton is used to public humiliation; she was a doormat when it came to her philandering husband and his infidelities since he was Arkansas governor.
In‘s recent book on Clinton, “A Woman in Charge,” he writes that she really was the last to know the truth during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and livid when she found out.
In a 1992 interview, Clinton said she stayed with her husband because she loved and respected him. OK, but let’s see if Silda Spitzer is also contemplating a run for office.
Even Dina Matos McGreevey, the still-in-a custody-battle wife of formerGov. James McGreevey, has piped up. The author of “Silent Partner” bore up through the press conferences when McGreevey’s admitted a gay affair with a state employee and stood by him until he resigned three months later.
She says Silda is right to stand by her husband as she is protecting her daughters and shouldn’t be criticized.
Bull. The best way to protect a daughter is to be a role model and despise lying and dishonesty and divest from it in public as well as private life.
Federal prosecutors rarely charge clients in prostitution cases, generally seen as state crimes.
But the 1910 Mann Act makes it a crime to transport someone between states for the purpose of prostitution, and the woman Spitzer met up with traveled fromto .
Someone on the Web site of the Feminist Law Professors says this might be raised in the context of legal quid pro quo for the so-called DC Madam, whose sex workers consorted with Republicanlast year. He is not on trial but her trial begins April 7.
“As the DC Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, is prosecuted in federal court for running a prostitution ring, it will be interesting to see how things develop with Governor Spitzer,” writes a contributor on the Feminist Law Professors site. “One of the DC Madam’s big gripes is that, though the government has the names and identities of plenty of her customers and *ahem* female contractors, only she–Deborah Jeane Palfrey–is being prosecuted.”
In a press statement Tuesday, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International said the recent revelations about Spitzer demonstrate that men who sexually exploit women come from all walks of life.
“Sexual exploitation has no place in a society that values equality for girls and women,” the statement read.
That’s the kind of thing a good wife, mother and presidential candidate should be saying around now too. –Sandra Kobrin is awriter and columnist.
I am particularly interested in the comments about Hillary and Dina Matos McGreevey. Why does a politician’s wife stand with him when he has committed an egregious affront, which particularly effects her life? What does that imply about our society? Why do the PR people think that her presence is a good idea?
Last week on NPR they spoke with a woman from Ohio named Jan who was a Hillary supporter and I stole the title of this post from her…
My mother just called, my grandmother woke her up and hollering with joy said, “She did it! She took Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island!” My mother cried.
I was in my car while this outcry of success took place, listening to NPR, wondering if I’d wake them up if I called to express my own joy. It’s not a delegte win but us Hillary supporters can breath a little easier.
And we are.
It’s a pretty incredible feeling, isn’t it? After our victories tonight we have the momentum, thanks to your will, determination, and hard work.
Some people were ready to count us out. But you and I proved them wrong, just as we have every time they tried to declare this race over prematurely. And we’re going to keep showing them exactly what we can do.
We’re going to do it for everyone across America who’s been counted out — but refused to be knocked out. For everyone who’s stumbled — but stood right back up. And for everyone who works hard — but never gives up.
I hope you enjoy our victories tonight as much as I am. We won this one together, and that makes it that much better. Thank you so very much for all you have done for our campaign. Let’s build on this remarkable momentum.
Thank you for everything you did to make this night possible.
All the best,
I say take the momentum and run! Hillary 2008.
Womensnews E-mailed this article today about Spain’s attempts to promote a “healthy” body image and it is truly interesting; my sentiments, bravo Spain! But more importantly why isn’t this issue more important to the global community and specifically the American media. Spain recognizes that women are suffering; why don’t we? Take a look at the article, decide how you feel:
Spain Sizes Up Fashion World’s Measuring Stick
By Brenda Gazzar
(WOMENSENEWS)–The Spanish government has just finished measuring the bodies of more than 10,000 women to help create new guidelines for the clothing industry.
The Feb. 7 study concluded that Spanish women come in three basic shapes–hourglass, pear and barrel–which consumer advocates say should serve as a more accurate base for sizing.
In part, the effort is about reducing the amount of trial-and-error time in the fitting room. Current sizes are based on pre-1975 models, when women’s bodies were significantly different, and clothes often vary by two to three sizes from store to store.
“From the perspective of the consumer, it’s an inconvenience,” said Angeles Heras, director general of the Madrid-based National Institute of Consumer Affairs, which conducted the five-month study for Spain’s Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs.
But it’s also an effort to promote healthier body images: receiving honest and reliable information about their clothing size can help women to more readily accept their bodies as they are, goes the logic.
Manufacturers around the world often fudge sizes to make consumers feel better but they are also misleading their customers and supporting distorted perceptions of what constitutes a healthy and beautiful body, Heras said in an interview last November, while the study was being conducted. “It’s clear that fashion greatly influences the health of women,” she said. “There are many psychological disorders that stem from wanting to be thin. . .We want to promote models of healthy beauty.”
The $2.5 million study advocates using a three-digit sizing system that takes into consideration the perimeter of a woman’s bust, waist and hips, in relation to height. Clothes are currently limited to one simple size because “anatomy had always established scientific categories according to the male gender,” the National Institute of Consumer Affairs said in a press release.
The study found 86 percent of women inhad a conventional body mass index. This means that whatever their description–underweight, normal or overweight–they do not require medical consultation or treatment. About 12 percent–particularly among women over 50–suffer some form of obesity. About 1 percent–particularly among young people–is moderately or severely thin.
More than 90 percent of the clothing industry–including such popular Spanish retailers as Zara and Mango–have volunteered to standardize their sizes according to the study’s findings within five years.
The women–recruited randomly from around the country to represent 10 age groups–were measured inside booths that use laser beam technology to obtain their three-dimensional body shape. That information was supplemented by manual measurements.
More than 40 percent of the subjects said they sometimes or always had problems with clothing sizes. Among them, 43 percent said they found sizes too small for their bodies and 22 percent found them too large. Another 8 percent said their size was too common, which made it difficult to find in the store.
Even though Heras said many women prefer to fit into a smaller size, she thinks standardized sizes will give women a more realistic and accurate picture of their true size.
“What we are aiming for is to know what we are” regardless of the size “because beauty can be real and can adapt to real women,” she said.
The 2007 agreement also requires signatories to replace their conspicuously thin mannequins with those that are at least a European size 38 (or U.S. 8). They have also agreed to change the way they treat size 46 (or U.S. 16). Previously regarded as a “special size” for larger women, it will now be regarded as a normal size and be part of their routine inventory.
Alicia Hormigo, a 50-year-old teacher from, approves of the changes ahead whether they affect the sizes that stores carry or the shapes of their . “Women have to have curves and when they are older, they cannot be thin,” she said.
Sandra Criado Mosteles, 29, a window dresser at clothing stores insaid the mannequins she works with are so thin that even the smallest sizes have to be taken in with pins to make them fit. “It’s a bit deceiving,” she said.
Mosteles also welcomes the government’s push to standardize sizes. “I would like to know the (real) sizes so that I could go into stores and go exactly to the size,” she said. “When you are going to buy, it is much easier.”
Another woman, an immigrant and mother from, said she rarely feels like shopping for pants because sizes are distorted and because she has difficulty finding pants that fit her curvy hips.
“If they don’t fit you well, then you become nervous that you are fat,” she said while riding on the city’s metro. “You go home and want to start a diet.”
While sizing inconsistency is rampant around the world, Spanish officials say the country is the first to embark on such a rigorous and comprehensive scientific study aimed at remedying the problem.
No European law obligates sizes to conform to certain measurements, Heras said.
began leading the way against fashion’s ultra-thin pressures a couple of years ago, when the regional government decided to exclude models with a body mass index of under 18 from its 2006 international fashion week.
followed suit by banning underweight models from its Milan fashion show.
City’s fashion week, which ended earlier this month, has yet to ban underweight models. This year fashion reporters pointed out that the current male models were noticeably skinnier than in previous years.
Brenda Gazzar is a freelance journalist based in the. She did the reporting for this story during a recent visit to .