Sex, Lies, Arrogance: What Makes Powerful Men Behave So Badly?
I find the quote by Anne Sinclair that she was “rather proud” of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s reputation as a ladies’ man, and that “It’s important for a man in politics to be able to seduce, “ disappointing but not unusual. We still have such a double-standard as to the sexual and power behavior between men and women. Maybe now though, there have been enough cases, or enough growth culturally and politically for the debate over sex, law, power and privilege to have real meaning in our global discourse of gender equality and violence. Will now, these aggressive displays of power over women, finally act as a derailment to the rise in power instead of an enhancement?
Is it fast enough? Some recent men: Tiger Woods, managed to actually turn his behavior into sympathy; Charlie Sheen tried t turn his behavior into a crusade and when he finally did get negative feedback, his abuse of women was ignored. Then Strauss-Kahn, whose behavior is minimized because he is such a powerful figure, who’s supporters turn to that old tried and true tactic of vilifying the victim, and who can afford the creation of the best spin is yet another male speaking out of one side of his mouth while grabbing the ass of a marginalized individual while no one is looking.
Are we so seduced by power still, that we overlook the sins of those we aspire to be? Do we still not hold accountable those who are stars? And is it that they take such power or that we continue to give it to them? And are we finally starting to realize all that we lose by being blinded by power? Or is it a deeper issue that we, in society, so want to be the star, to have such privilege that we overlook such sins because we cannot admit our duplicity or our own potential for such behavior?
Kudos to the authors of the article who write “More often than not, the women involved weigh the stakes and decide to be silent, judging that the burden of proof is high and that they have little to gain and so much to lose. It’s no coincidence that when events like this happen, women come out of the shadows to add their testimony; they figure the odds have improved enough that they just might be believed.” So true this statement of why survivors, particularly survivors from a marginalized demographic behave the way they do in regards to sexual assault. And why the powerful take advantage of that dynamic.
Who is at more risk are our youth and the lessons they learn. We are trying now to educate our youth and our male youth to see women as equals with an equitable stake in our community. Will they learn that all lessons can be forgotten when they achieve power?
May 25, 2011 at 11:41 am
You are right on target with your analysis of the power dynamic and the silencing of victims. We need to honor and support those who have the courage to speak out, while not judging those who feel they cannot do so.