To credit of feminism, increasing number of women are not subjecting themselves to the misbehaviors of their significant other. Huma Abedin forgiving her husband yet again for his lewd behavior is a step backwards in this progress.
In a diverse country like the US, you are always looking for a figure to relate to. When I first heard about her few years ago, she was a bit of a breath of fresh air – she was a young Mulism South Asian American engaged in American politics. For a Muslim South Asian American woman like myself also studying public affairs, it was hard to not be impressed. In a response to the scandal second time around, she wrote, “Quite simply, I love my husband, I love my city, and I believe in what he wants to do for the people of New York.” The thing is, it is not that simple, and labeling this entire episode as simple is also just offensive to women.
Why should we have to forgive? Why does she feel the pressure to forgive and stand by the side of a supposed life partner till death do them apart who has little to no respect for the embarrassing position that he has permanently placed on his family? Why do the wives of prominent political figures have to play that role of standing on the side as he apologizes and she too apologizes and keeps smiling on few weeks later and show that life has moved on?
I am not thrilled to see Abedin be supportive of her husband Anthony Weiner after reports of his sexting came about (again). It is the same story that led him to resign from Congress in 2011 when in his speech he had promised that this would never, ever happen again. The first time around, Huma said she wanted to forgive for the sake of their child. I am baffled with public figures that seem to be oblivious to Google and Twitter and how easy it will be for that child to learn about the world.
Flash forward to the current mayoral race in NYC and here we are, again, this time with another graphic photo of him appearing online. Likewise, the woman with whom he had these sexting episodes did not take too much time to go ahead and talk about it with the media, with a bit of a smirk. Basic Google search reveals the texts which themselves shows how disrespectful he is himself towards women.
Going back to Abedin, let us also not blame this on her “Muslimness” or her upbringing in Saudi Arabia. Suggesting such a thing, like Maureen Dowd’s Sunday New York Times column is absurd and also offensive. Finding an angle to pick on Islam might seem pretty easy but let us not get to such a low level during this phase of American politics.
Getting back to the point– what we see is that Weiner is, well, human, making human mistakes that we normal people deal with from time to time. However, he is a political figure burdened which certain responsibilities to the public that he knowingly accepted. He chose this path so I have little sympathy for a man who knows his world and yet makes a mistake of makings his acts so public on the internet- a mistake your basic average American can avoid. In addition, the entitlement that he seems to feel for his position masked him to the risks of exposure- afterall, he is powerful so he should be able to get away with anything, right? It certainly seems so since he is not losing his wife and people seemed to completely disregard the power of making public promises to behave and its implications two years later. He even sounded bored when he addressed the press after the exposure this week.