Monday, August 11, 2008

Why can't our first lady have sex with Mick Jagger?

John Edwards is getting a lashing in the media now, but dollars to doughnuts this will all be forgotten eventually. America subconsciously believes that infidelity is something powerful men just do...hell, we think it's just something MEN just do, sort of like shaving. Just like JFK and MLK and lesser lights like John McCain and Newt Gingrich, we'll forgive Edwards his sexual peccadillos. He'll be back on the political scene one day--trust me. Of course, if the shamed adulterer had been Hillary Clinton or Barbara Boxer or Elizabeth Dole or Laura Bush, me thinks we'd have a different view. Respectable women are not sexual, much less unfaithful. Folks from the streets of Manhattan to the fields of the Bible Belt would pillory a woman who snuck a little sumthin' sumthin' in the Oval Office or was caught creeping on the campaign trail.

Considering the Edwards brouhaha, it was with some amusement that I read Vanity Fair's recent article on Carla Bruni, former model, folk/pop singer, lover of rock lions Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, and, by the way, wife of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Madame Sarkozy once famously said:
I'm monogamous from time to time, but I prefer polygamy and polyandry?

During a state visit to England earlier this year, scandal erupted around the Sarkozys when nude photos taken of Bruni in 1993 surfaced at a Christie's auction. The tasteful black-and-whites fetched $91,000. The photographer who took the pics said ominously, "I have other nude photographs of Carla far more explicit, but I would never sell them."

The Bruni-Sarkozys are nothing if not very...French. Karl Lagerfeld is quoted in the Vanity Fair piece as saying of the pair, "They are hunters who met--predators. It's a good thing. He has seduced many women and she was a kind of seductress. When two like this meet, it can be good." President Sarkozy met the previous Madame Sarkozy, Cecelia, when both were married, and both had very public affairs after he took office. Bruni has one son from a previous relationship with a young man she met while dating his father. Vive le France!

Now, I'm not endorsing all this slap and tickle and cheating, but I find it interesting that even though the French are ambivalent about the man they call President Bling-Bling for his flashy ways, they seem to quite like their first lady--adventurous sexual past and all. Meanwhile, back among the amber waves of grain, we prefer our first ladies (and other ladies) mute, maternal and fixed with an adoring gaze. We prefer all "good girls" be non-sexual, no matter how close they are to the halls of power. Come to think of it, perhaps that's why Michelle Obama catches such hell. I mean besides the blackness, out-spokenness, independence and intelligence, she's also beautiful and sexy-as-hell in a strong way. You get the feeling from watching Obama and her husband that this is one first couple who will definitely be "doing it" in the White House. Can't say the same for the McCains. Despite the illicit start to their marriage, I can't imagine enjoying fireworks in the boudoir with a man who squirms like this at the mention of birth control.

In Friday's post I mentioned the radio commenter who said of John Edwards: "I used to think John Edwards was 'soft,' but this makes me think he is a regular guy. I like him now." So, sexuality run amok is the essence of maleness? The reality that Americans hate to hear is that women have the same carnal desires as men. We have other desires...yes. We have more self control...maybe...sometimes. But women like sex, too. But for us, sexuality is something to be forgiven not celebrated.

I think that very soon we will see a female leader of the United States. But I tell you we will not achieve true equality until a woman can not only park her pumps in the Oval Office, but also get her freak on with a consenting young intern and have the forgiveness and admiration of the American electorate.


Lovepoetically said...

i wholeheartedly agree with you in regards to the post's fundamental point, that males can be poster children for infidelity, while women are expected to be supportive, desexualized, faithful and loyal to their political figure husbands. it baffles me that such double standards are still alive and maintained, which seem to be ingrained in our society. women too do not question it and believe that it is their role to maintain fidelity, if their partner isn't. the belief constitutes something along the lines of, "well if he isn't being loyal, i must, for the sake of our children and this household."

interestingly enough, i also agree that michelle obama is getting a lot of media attacks, because she exudes both sexiness and intelligence that transcends into her relationship with obama. that is beyond powerful for the public eye and they probably dont even realize that their meticulousness targeted at her stems from this. so yes, she rocks stilettos, pearls, brains, motherhood, voice, independence and marriage in one package. phenomenal!

the irony in this ordeal around michelle is that many often discuss the concept of the "desexualized black woman," but michelle is far from and beyond that or rather yet defeats this notion in comparison to her pale female counterparts, ie. laura bush and hillary clinton.

however, i snapped my fingers and giggled when i read, "But I tell you we will not achieve true equality until a woman can not only park her pumps in the Oval Office, but also get her freak on with a consenting young intern and have the forgiveness and admiration of the American electorate," and couldn't agree anymore. america needs to realize that the female cannot solely uphold american domesticity, morals, fidelity and marriage, but that their male counterparts are just as responsible for these as well. male infidelity in the political realm should never be accepted. john edwards stated that he already beat himself up for what he did, implying that the media need not do any more badgering, which i found quite ridiculous. you want empathy and forgiveness easily, because youre a politician? i think not.

edwards is fully responsible for his wrongdoings. in addition, the american people will continuously badger him for digressing from american morality, as an american male. so suck it up. youre still apart of the boys club, matter of fact, your pass has been renewed, under the circumstances of infidelity.

NOLA radfem said...

Fabulous piece, Tami.

I remember that the new first lady of France had an affair with Mick Jagger and got pregnant back when Jagger was still married to Jerry Hall. I was amazed that she could become First Lady and no one seems to think it was a big deal!

Congresswoman Helen Chenowith of Idaho (guess which party!) admitted to having had an affair, but it was before she entered Congress (where she was all for impeaching Bill Clinton: )

She is the one who famously said that Pacific salmon can't be endangered because "I can still buy it in a can at the supermarket."

I like your point about comparing the passion between the Obamas to that between the McCains. I remember reading back when the Clintons first moved into the White House how the stewards were accustomed, from the Bush days, to just walking right into the couple's bedroom in the morning. That happened with the Clintons (ONCE!), who promptly announced that no way in hell should anyone just walk into their bedroom ever again. I loved that story!

I too think Michelle is beautiful and sexy. She's just wonderful all around.

Anonymous said...

Somehow, I don't think Bill Clinton got "forgiven" for his blatant abuse of power with an intern in the White House.

The irony may be that Hillary Clinton lost Iowa because of Edwards, and had we all known about the Edwards affair back then, things might have been different.

Things will change when men who abuse power, buy prostitutes and otherwise use women for their amusement are forever ruined. Should clear the decks nicely I think.

Tami said...

Anonymous and Lovepoetically,

See, I totally think Edwards is going to get a pass on the affair. Yeah, the media will be all excited for a few months, then it will be on to the next scandal. On the whole, people still see Bill Clinton as a good president done wrong by his enemies. We knew there was a lot of smoke surrounding extramarital dalliances before he ever took office. Didn't matter. The hint of infidelity just added to his rascally persona. (And to my horror had folks mischaracterizing Toni Morrison's quote about "the first black president.")

Nola Radfem,

Welcome back! I had forgotten about Helem Chenoweth. I'm going to have to do some digging to see how her local media reacted her affair in contrast to the way they cover the affairs of male politicians.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'd like to add to my belief that Bill Clinton is damaged goods.

If the American public holds these men accountable, and writes them off for this stuff, it becomes the career killer for men to ever do this stuff. If they do, they won't have a political career period. Men, being the career obsessed zombies that they are, will fall into line. Just the fact that Edwards wanted to run for president while his wife had probably just a couple of years to live was telling from the very beginning. The boys are so damn ambitious, the wife gives up her legal career, and HE can't just take care of her and make the last years special. Women who give up their careers for "the family" meaning male in the job, women in the home... well.. no big change there.

From a feminist point of view, when women reject that world where men get out of jail free, then all of this will come to an end.

The problem is, women don't want to shoot those clay pigeons in the air, and so the idiots get into office. I don't expect men to reform or ever become acceptable in this way; they're just a corrupt species, but women can decide this is the kind of government we want -- free of men buying prostitutes and pretending to be "all American family men." Women can pull back the curtains on the Wizard of Oz any day now.

Lady C said...

Marsha Hunt dated Mick Jagger for 2 years, and when she got pregnant, Mick said he wasn't the father. She fought him in court for 9 years before she was able to prove that Mick was the father. Marsha Hunt is an AA. Karis is Mick's first child. I don't get Mick's appeal, even with all his money.

Women don't have to be like men, and they don't have to keep voting for them if they disagree with them morally. Who is the largest voting bloc in this country? WOMEN.

To Anonymous: The talking points from Howard Wolfson is pure wishful thinking on his part. HRC and her campaign did not take the caucus states seriously, until it was too late. Spinning what happened after the fact cannot and will not change what has happened. John Edwards had nothing to do with HRC losing the nomination.

Tami said...

Lady C,

Yes, if rock lore is true, Jagger is a sexist asshole. If I recall, he has had several tussles with women of several races over paternity. The point wasn't so much Jagger though (Ew!), but the fact that men (especially men in power)are forgiven for, no, encouraged to have this rampant sexuality, while women are not even allowed to own their own sexuality.

Lady C said...

"The point wasn't so much Jagger though (Ew!), but the fact that men (especially men in power)are forgiven for, no, encouraged to have this rampant sexuality, while women are not even allowed to own their own sexuality."

Point taken. The comment about Jagger was merely an aside.

My point is, women, as the largest voting bloc, can affect change. They may not be able to sway an election the first time around, but they will put people on notice. We don't have to put up with what maybe considered our only viable options, we have the power (by our sheer numbers) to demand better.

Brother OMi said...

my beef with the whole thing is that we should not worry about who are leaders sleep with but what his or her policies are or have been..

there is a double standard on that. i will have to blog about an interesting conversation i had....

again, tami you always bring a fresh new perspective on things..

Anonymous said...

I think Brother Omi's comment is well intentioned, but I suspect this line of reasoning when it comes out of the mouths of men. Of course, men think "other issues" are more important than who they sleep with. Just as men once didn't think rape was a political issue or that they had the right to rape women they were married to. All of this used to be "personal" and the feminist movement just opened up this to serious public scrutiny.

I'd say the trashy way JFK treated women was an issue, and I'm glad men are being held accountable. I don't vote for men who have affairs if I know about them. I trust women more in office, and I believe when women stand up against this kind of anti-woman treatment that some people think is "personal"... spousal abuse was once considered a private matter, and Catholic priests counseled women to stay in abusive relationships with men for "the sake" of the marriage and children.

Women can rise up with sheer numbers. Men will stop this nonsense when their careers are killed forever for doing this sort of thing, and we'll all be better for it.

dmarks said...

@anon: "The irony may be that Hillary Clinton lost Iowa because of Edwards, and had we all known about the Edwards affair back then, things might have been different."

This is "alternate reality" musing, and I have read it elsewhere. If Edwards had not been in the race, probably somebody else would have filled in the gap to split the primary vote.

@brother: "my beef with the whole thing is that we should not worry about who are leaders sleep with but what his or her policies are or have been.."

My main beef with Edwards is that he made a lot of money lying about and destroying the careers of obstetricians.... the cases where he made them pay for malpractice for birth defects that were really genetic.


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