Published July 31, 2013
Anthony Weiner obviously has problems that make him unfit to govern, but his addictive sexting behavior tells us at least as much about changes in gender roles—particularly the new eagerness of women to be overtly, graphically sexual—as it does about him.
Anthony Weiner assaulted no one; he had plenty of playmates happy to receive photographs of his private parts, flirt with Carlos Danger and gratify him and themselves, sexually.
Today’s women are, by the many millions, no different from men in their sexual appetites or lack of demureness. That’s why Nancy Pelosi’s statement that Anthony Weiner’s behavior was offensive to women actually exposes a fault line between women of her age and women younger than, say, 30: A very significant percentage of young women today are not offended by being sent overt, intensely erotic material and respond in kind.
The sexual liberation of women has liberated them to be just like men—who, whether anyone likes it or not, often enjoy sex outside of emotionally-connected, longstanding relationships.
This was an actual goal of feminists, and they began achieving it by (for example) publishing headlines on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine urging women to share their best one-night stands, their bad-girl behavior and their techniques for achieving orgasm.
The wide dissemination of oral contraceptives furthered it, too. So has the abortion movement. And so has the military—by moving to put women on the front lines, in combat roles.
Women bought the feminist argument hook, line and sinker. The idea that they might actually want to preserve the role of resistor in the circuitry of sex, given the possibility that they might be more vulnerable emotionally and might be more vulnerable physically, was drummed out by those who argued, and continue to argue, that gender has no meaning—because males and females aren’t just equal; they’re no different from one another.
The result is runaway sexual circuitry, fueled by the depersonalizing forces of the Internet, in general, and Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, in particular.
From my perch as a psychiatrist talking to thousands of people a year, I can tell you that the average young woman no longer balks at sexting, watching pornography or being the aggressor sexually in a relationship.
Millions of female teenagers have heard the phrase “friends with benefits” and aren’t reluctant to have sex as a pact of mutual physical fulfillment, with no strings attached.
But I will tell you that, from what I hear in my office, the girls actually feel a whole lot worse about it, in their hearts, than the boys. Because, you see, girls and boys, are not the same.
Some gender roles developed because of psychological facts, not in spite of them. And when feminists urged and urge that we throw out all of them, they do a disservice to females and to the truth.
So, don’t think for a minute that the women who welcomed Anthony Weiner’s sexual energy were being used by him, first or foremost. They were used by the Women’s Movement long before he ever hit “send.”