A second double standard

Andrew Sullivan wonders why he wasn't as adamant about finding the truth about John Edwards as he was about Sarah Palin. Good to cross-examine himself, I suppose. But I think there's a grain of the sexism I occasionally see pop up in his work when he says the following:
So why did I let it go? My first reason is my leeriness of investigating people's sex lives. I had my own ransacked a decade ago and it was a brutalizing experience. The exposure of such intimate thing coarsens our discourse, violates human dignity and should, in my view, be done only if massive hypocrisy is on the table and the person is more than just a minor public figure. That's why I've long opposed outing people.

I would feel probably just as violated if someone exposed details of my pregnancies as my sex life. Neither are all that exciting or worth exposing, but both are private.

I'm not saying that Sarah Palin's pregnancy should be off the table. But I don't think demanding her obstetrician's records is significantly different from demanding an accounting of someone's sexual practices. That may be required in order to prove "massive hypocrisy." But he should be clear what it is he is doing. He is ransacking her privacy.

Men are more likely to be humiliated by a sex scandal, and perhaps they feel that more vividly. And perhaps some men don't understand how private pregnancy or medical issues can be. But people are either equally entitled to privacy for both, or have equally ceded privacy for both based on their public stature and positions. Sex is not entitled to greater respect than pregnancy.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I never got Andrew's obsession with this part of Sarah, there is enough Palinsanity without it. I think he dug himself a hole and thought he could dig his way out of it.