Every time some male politician is brought down by a tawdry sex scandal, I think about the old arguments that women shouldn’t hold high public office (or high private office, for that matter) because we’re so hormonal. This was said back in 1970 –
Dr. Edgar Berman, Hubert Humphrey’s personal physician and confidant, sees plenty wrong with a female Chief Executive. When he said so to the Congresswoman from Hawaii at a meeting of the Democratic Party’s Committee on National Priorities, he set Washington abuzz and feminists afire.
Dr. Berman argued that women are limited in their leadership potential by physiological and psychological factors, especially during the menstrual cycle and menopause. “Suppose,” he speculated, “that we had a menopausal woman President who had to make the decision of the Bay of Pigs or the Russian contretemps with Cuba at the time?” She might be “subject to the curious mental aberrations of that age group.’”
And in 2009 G. Gordon Libby said this of Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court:
Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.
Granted, G. Gordon Libby is a relic from a bygone age that should be even more bygone. But if you go back 50 or more years, the crazy hormonal women thing was conventional wisdom.
But y’know what? It’s men that get crazy in their middle years. How many successful men can you think of who blew off their careers and personal lives because of some stupid stunt involving sex? We could spend all day coming up with names of public figures who qualify. And I bet most of you out there are acquainted personally with at least a couple of middle-age guys who burned marriages and careers over an affair.
Now, think about how often women do the same thing? Anybody?
I’m sorry, fellas, but I just don’t get it. When someone has so much to lose, why wouldn’t the fresh examples of Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, John Edwards, John Ensign, etc. etc., be a big honking neon warning side to not do anything stupid that would ruin your career if the public found out about it? I mean, how hard is it to not upload photos of your crotch to the Internet?
Sure there are plenty of women in public life who seem a tad unbalanced. But in their cases, it’s not like they are only crazy every 28 days, or were perfectly sensible until they turned 50, which is usually about when the hot flashes start.